Amber Linebaugh

Why you should hike to Bells Canyon reservoir, waterfall

By Amber Linebaugh, Contributor | Posted - May 27th, 2014 @ 12:30pm

5 photos

SANDY — Bells Canyon offers a perfect springtime outing and hike. The oak leaves and wild grasses are bright green, the streams are gushing high and the view of the green valley below is beautiful.

The Bells Canyon trail begins at Granite trailhead — located just outside of Sandy. This trailhead parking lot seems to be popular. I suggest choosing a weekday, or beginning early to avoid crowds to find a parking spot.

For a less strenuous hike, plan to hike to the reservoir. This hike is about 3/4 of a mile one way and can be done in about an hour and a half.

If you would enjoy a more challenging workout, plan to hike on to the waterfall. This hike is about 2.5 miles one way (5 miles round trip) and takes about 3 1/2 hours to complete, including several photo stops and a short picnic.

If you plan to hike past the reservoir to the falls, you will gain a lot of elevation. Be careful if you have injuries or knee problems. Hiking poles would be a great aid for added balance.

The trail starts out on a gradual incline with a few switchbacks. Hikers can enjoy the city views as they walk. In less than a mile, you will reach the reservoir. The clear water and leafy trees make it a beautiful destination. This is a great spot to stop with the kids.

To hike on to the falls, stay to the left beyond the lake. Continue up a slope until you see the Bells Canyon trail sign on your left. Take that trail through a canyon near the stream. Cross a bridge and stay right when the trail forks.

Continue up the path and the trail will become very steep with scattered boulders to climb around. When you are nearing the top of the hill, you will cross a very small stream (in the springtime) with a large pine on the left. Stay to the left when the trail forks at the top of the hill. I emphasize this because we came across several hikers who missed the turn and continued up the hill.

Just around the bend you will see large waterfall spilling over a cliff. Sheer gray cliffs tower over the falls. Hike down through the clearing below to enjoy a sweeping panorama of the city. This is the perfect picnic spot. Enjoy this beautiful place — you earned it by enduring the steep climb.

Amber is co-founder of the travel blog She currently resides in Cedar Hills, Utah with her husband and three boys. Email:


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