Tropic Ditch Falls is a manmade waterfall nestled beside Bryce Canyon National Park. The waterfall was created when area farmers diverted water from the East Fork of the Sevier River near Tropic Reservoir in an effort to irrigate surrounding fields. This action resulted in the creation of a modest waterfall among the bright orange rocks. Waterfalls are a rare sight in the middle of the Southern Utah desert, making this spot extra special.
The trailhead is marked by a sign reading “Mossy Cave” and a small parking lot adjacent to Highway 12. The trail is short at just a mile round trip and rated easy. The path extends behind the parking area, surrounded by tall orange hoodoos. Hoodoos are spirals of rock formed by erosion. They are quite common in the Bryce area.
Hikers encounter two bridges along the path, each crossing a small stream. At the second bridge, there is an opportunity to get close to the waterfall. To do so, stop before the bridge and take a right just below it. There are a few spots that require hikers to step in shallow water. It is just a short walk to the base of the waterfall, making for a great photo opportunity.
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After crossing the second bridge, the path to the right takes hikers over the top of the waterfall. In addition to getting a more elevated view of the waterfall, there is a seasonal trail leading up to the arch high off to the right. This is called Turret Arch. It was once known as the “Scooby Doo” formation, but due to the natural changes in the rock over time it no longer resembles the figure.
If hikers take the path to the left after the second bridge they will find themselves at Mossy Cave. Mossy Cave features a rock overhang with a collection of moss growing beneath. A natural spring beneath the rock helped form the “cave” over time. A fence was erected a few years back to stop individuals from walking farther and contributing to more erosion.
Tropic Ditch and Mossy Cave are two unique spots that hikers of all ages and fitness levels can enjoy. The hike is a short distance and has little elevation gain. The cool mountain altitude and rushing water create a refreshing hike perfect to escape the heat, especially in the sweltering summer sunshine. Children and dogs will love to play in the water. It is a must see for anyone visiting the Bryce National Park area.
Written by: Lauren Kehoe