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SALT LAKE CITY — The state of Utah has a bounty of natural wonders ranging from arches, slot canyons and salt flats to snow-capped mountains. Maybe you aren't an avid hiker yet or maybe you have a young family that you don't think you can do a long, hot hike. However, Utah offers something to quench that desire to experience the outdoors, while cooling you off at the same time — waterfalls.
Spring and summer are the best times to visit the beautiful waterfalls cascading down from the Utah mountains. Here are six waterfalls in the Salt Lake and Utah Valleys that require 60 minutes or less to enjoy.
Located 4.4 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon, you'll park inside the "S" curve and head across the road to the north. You'll more than likely hear the falls from the road. This 0.25 mile roundtrip hike has an added bonus — an old gated mine entrance.
Drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon 2.7 miles, and you'll see a small parking area on the left side of the road. Park here and start the 0.45 mile roundtrip hike to Lisa Falls, where the water cascades down the quartz monzonite rock. The rock around Lisa Falls is also a popular spot for mountain climbers.
Rocky Mouth Falls
At 11330 S. Wasatch Blvd. in Sandy, you'll see the parking area for Rocky Mouth Falls. Be sure to park in the Rocky Mouth parking lot and not on the street. The trail to this waterfall actually leads you through a neighborhood before beginning the actual trail, which is located between two houses. Follow this trail to the falls.
Battle Creek Falls
If you are looking for a little more difficulty, this 1.6 mile roundtrip hike is it. Located at the east end of Battle Creek Drive (200 South) in Pleasant Grove, this 50-foot waterfall is a great reward after your hike.
Bridal Veil Falls
This well-known waterfall is the largest and easiest one to access along the Wasatch Mountains. Drive 3.8 miles up Provo Canyon and the falls are just 100 feet from the parking area. There is even a pool at the bottom of the falls stocked with hundreds of rainbow trout. You can feed them fish food from a vending machine for $.25.
Located 7 miles up the popular Nebo Loop in Payson Canyon, this easy 0.6 mile roundtrip hike leads you to a small, cave-like waterfall. Footbridges cross over the ankle deep water as you make your way to the picturesque Grotto.
For a map to these locations, click here.
Even though these are easy hikes, always go prepared by carrying a small day pack that includes some fresh water, snacks and a first aid kit. Make sure others back at home know where you are going. Never attempt to climb waterfalls, as the rocks at the base and along the cascade can be loose and slippery.
Also, several of these waterfalls are part of the watershed, so pets are prohibited.
If you are looking for waterfalls in the area with longer hikes, check out Stewart Falls, Donut Falls or Upper Falls. My personal favorite is Lower Calf Creek Falls located down near Escalante.
Adam Provance is a blogger at YourHikeGuide.com and has hiked all over the southwestern United States. He is an Eagle Scout and also an instructor for Desert & Wilderness Survival. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org