Please note, our articles may contain referral or affiliate links.
Water Canyon is a relaxing hike in Southern Utah that ends with a couple of waterfalls, which feed the river that runs along the trail, and a few slots to hike around.
Water Canyon Trail
Given that it’s a relatively easy hike to complete, it’s perfect for those who want to experience hiking in Utah without having to dive deep into canyons or hike 8 miles.
Do keep in mind that Water Canyon stretches far past the waterfalls and eventually leads to White Domes. For this post, I will be going over the section of the trail that leads to the waterfalls and not past it; that will come at a later date.
A quick disclaimer about distance, time, and elevation gain on this hike. The tracking app we usually use was tracking fine for about a mile or so and then it shot us about a half mile to the right into the neighboring slot canyon or whatever was over there.
With that being said, the numbers are going to be close estimates given the circumstances.
The entire Water Canyon hike is around 6 miles long but the distance to the waterfalls is only about 1.3 miles.
Going at a steady pace, you should expect to reach the falls in under an hour.
If you decide to just walk to the falls and back, the round trip should only be a couple of hours but if you plan on hanging out up top, the time will obviously vary.
While it is an easy hike, there is some incline on the way to the waterfalls.
According to our estimates, the elevation gain is around 650 feet which may sound like a lot but spread over a mile, it’s not too bad.
As stated before, this hike has very little technical parts to it making it hikable for nearly everyone.
The hardest parts of the trail are the up and down hills with the occasional boulder that you have to scramble up.
As of writing this, no permits are required to hike Water Canyon which just adds to the friendly and inviting nature of this hike.
The wildlife you may see on the trail is the same as other places in Southern Utah which include ravens, snakes, lizards, and bugs like spiders, butterflies, and regular flies.
Food and Water Requirements
As far as water goes, packing two liters should be enough to get you to the falls and back if you’re hiking in the spring and fall months.
If you decide to hike during the summer where it can easily get over 100 degrees, anything under two and a half liters won’t be enough.
While you may not go through that much water, always bring more than you plan on drinking just in case the worst happens and you have to spend more time out there than you planned.
Because this is a relatively easy and short out and back hike, you can get away with not bringing food if you don’t feel like packing it or having a little lunch break at the falls.
If you do plan on bringing a picnic style lunch to have at the top, then the sky is the limits as long as you’re willing to carry it.
What To Pack
If you’ve read any of my past hiking posts you’ll soon realize that I will always say bring hiking boots over tennis shoes and this is no different. I saw plenty of people out there with tennis shoes and they seemed to be doing just fine but I’ve come to learn that even the easiest of trails can be sidelined by no ankle support and a misstep.
If you do take tennis shoes, be careful with your footing because there are some loose dirt sections that you don’t expect.
This is one of those hikes where you could go out with just your water and nothing else and be perfectly fine but keeping to the tradition of past hikes and my hiking habits, I’m always bringing a backpack.
Sunscreen is also recommended simply because being burned sucks. This is a slot canyon with a bunch of trees along the way so you can try to avoid the sun if you really insist on not wearing any sun protection.
Trail amenities are pretty basic in that you have a bathroom and a dirt parking lot, that’s it. There are no bathrooms along the trail as well as trashcans so be sure to carry all of your trash with you so the trail doesn’t get shut down due to excessive littering.
Dogs are allowed on the trail as long as they’re on a leash and as long as you pick up after them. If you go up past the first waterfall, you’ll find a neat little tucked away waterfall with sand and a little pond.