When summer in Southern Utah reaches triple digits, outdoor enthusiasts seek other recreational options. Cascade Falls is in Dixie National Forest near Cedar Breaks National Monument, making it a cooler getaway thanks to its elevation. Rich ponderosa pine trees, fresh mountain air, and a steady stream of water against red rocks make for a unique desert atmosphere.
Cascade Falls is an easy hike at about 1-mile round trip. It is accessible by passenger vehicles via a well-maintained dirt road which brings hikers right to the trailhead. It offers breathtaking views of surrounding Cedar Breaks National Monument, the tall orange spires spreading out for miles in the distance. Zion National Park and the Kolob Terrace are also visible from the trail. There are so many unique landscapes along the short trail it can be hard to know where to look.
The trail hugs the rocky red mountainside, creating steep drop offs on the opposite side. The path is wide enough and well maintained, providing a secure environment. Children and dogs can enjoy the hike safely and easily with proper supervision. There are a few areas with man-made steps as well as a stone bench beneath a rocky overhang. Despite being framed by towering trees, the path is exposed to the sunlight the entire hike except for the bench. Sunscreen and water are a must no matter what the season.
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Springtime typically supplies the most water after the winter snow melts. The trail can be inaccessible during winter months, as the Cedar Breaks area is often buried beneath fresh snowfall. Summer is the most popular time for the hike to avoid runoff and icy trail conditions.
Cascade Falls originates from sinkholes at the east end of Navajo Lake, then traveling through underground lava tubes. The four-foot waterfall pours out of the underground cave system and spills over a steep cliff face. During times the lake is high, the waterfall has a stronger flow. When times are drier, the cascade shrinks.
From dramatic landmarks in the distance to spectacular trailside sights, Cascade Falls packs endless stunning imagery into one small trail. While the waterfall may not be large, it is certainly one of the most unique. The cascade crashing from a cave in the middle of the colorful Southern Utah desert is a must see. Cascade Falls is a beautiful, accessible addition to any hiker’s agenda.
Written by: Lauren Kehoe