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Monday, October 22, 2018

Gordon Creek Waterfall Hike - Utah

There is something special about finding water in the desert, an actual oasis in a landscape of dry windblown sand and towering rock wall.  Back home, a river meandering through the woods of New England is just another stream, another water crossing, another chance to get your boots muddy.  But out in the desert water is such a precious resource and one that is fought over, celebrated, and respected.  It is the center of survival in the desert and you can find those luscious greens in a landscape of harsh browns, tans, and yellows.  Water and clean air are things I always took for granted living in the Northeast and moving west really made me appreciate some of the simple things so much more

View down the canyon 

This was a great hike as I am always in search of those beautiful places - the open spaces and towering waterfalls that make you feel so small in the world.  Between the towns of Helper and Price, there is a lesser-known creek that winds its way through the desert and cascades over series of desert rock to form Gordon Creek Waterfall.  The stark contrast of waterfall to desert rock in the middle of the desert with no one around makes for a beautiful hike and the perfect place to soak in the sunshine with friends.  On a sunny Saturday in late September, Amanda and I only saw one other person on the trail.  This means we spent a good 1.5 hours at the waterfall taking in the scenery and the solitude in front of this impressive waterfall, enjoying the day.   

Consumer Road 

If you want a short hike to a waterfall (family and dog friendly) without the crowds of some of Salt Lake county's other waterfall hikes, then this is a great option.  Just 2 hours south of Salt Lake City you can bring your dog, pack a picnic, and spend the day hiking to the waterfall and soaking in the desert sun. So now that you know every reason you should go (sunshine, solitude, waterfall, repeat), let's talk about the details of getting there, finding the trailhead, and enjoying the hike. 

Trailhead and Parking Area 

Gordon Creek Trailhead off Trestle Road.  Do not plug the trailhead into your GPS, it will try to take you to a coal plant and you will sit there very confused scratching your head as you stare at a sign labeled "Closed to Coal Sales Today".  Instead, drive about 3 miles south of Helper on highway 191. Turn right onto Consumers Road and this is where you will have to pay attention.  ** Drive 2.7 miles (use your odometer) and turn left onto a dirt road (it took us three tries to find this dirt road) You will cross a cattle guard almost immediately.  Follow this and at 4.3 miles you should be parallel with the railroad which will be on your right. At about 5.2 miles you will cross over the railroad track and continue down the road to the left parallel to the tracks which will now be on the left.  At roughly 6 miles look for the small wooden Gordon Creek Trail sign on the right, there is a small parking area here as well. 

About 2-miles round trip, 400' gained 

Small parking area at the trailhead.  There are no bathrooms or garbage facilities.  

Trailhead location Price and Helper 

Gordon Creek Trail - Follow the ATV trail to the waterfall. Stick to the wide well defined ATV trail as there are smaller trails branching off. There is no shade so if you are hiking this trail in the summer, be aware.  The trail crosses the creek at one point and there is one water stop for dogs. 

Further Down The Trail: 
If you follow the ATV trail for 0.5 miles further you will come across a smaller second falls and 1.3 miles further you will reach an old abandoned log cabin used by a miner.  We turned around at the first waterfall but you can continue on all the way to the log cabin if you want to extend your hike. 

Dogs and Kids: 
Dogs are allowed on the trail and this is a kid-friendly trail. 


The trail is ATV / HORSE / MOUNTAIN BIKE friendly.  While we only saw one other hiker, be aware that you may see other users on the trail.  Also you will notice some graffiti at the first waterfall - as always, respect public lands and please don't tag the area.  

Posing at the waterfall (which was unfortunately tagged)

Posing at the top of the waterfall

View of the waterfall

Amanda and I posing with the waterfall

Making our way back down the trail
The trail in the distance as we made our way back to the trailhead

Railroad crossing on our way to the trailhead 

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