Finding the trailhead for the Upper Calf Creek Falls can be a little difficult. Head east out of Escalante and follow highway 12 for about 20.6 miles. There will be a dirt turnout on the left hand side that leads to a dirt parking lot and a trail sign with registration for the Upper Calf Creek Falls hike. The sign can be hidden behind some trees so be on the lookout. We missed the turnout the first time on the freeway and backtrack a little bit to get it right.
Once you are at the trail register area, there is a steep descent down the hogs back, a steep sandstone rock formation in Escalante. You will descend on sandstone so there is no trail, but there are plenty of cairns to lead the way.
Eventually you will come to a fork in the trail. The lower trail that heads left will lead to the lower larger waterfall. This waterfall is 130 feet tall but can be a little difficult to photograph. There is a decent swimming pool here but it can be very difficult to get into and out of the water and there are better pools up above. Be careful – there is poison ivy surrounding this waterfall.
The trail to the right that leads uphill will lead to the upper waterfalls. There is better swimming at the upper falls as well as some really short cliff jumping. The interesting thing about the upper pools is they will seem shallow but they have a ton of potholes that are about 6 feet deep.
Once you have gotten tired of swimming head back to the car the same way you came. The trail taking you back up is very steep – be sure to hydrate and set a comfortable pace, especially in the summer. This trail is a lot less crowded than the nearby Lower Calf Creek Falls trail and is dog friendly!
- Hiking Shoes
- Neutral Density Filter (for long exposure shots of falls)