Heughs Canyon TrailCottonwood Heights, Ut
Waterfalls, Picnics, and Scrambles
Length: 3.5 mi
Elevation Gain: 1253 ft
Approximate Hiking Time: 3-4 hr
Nearest Town: Salt Lake City, Ut
A short and challenging hike takes you through Heughs Canyon to the base of a waterfall. Feeling the mist float against your face after a steep ascent and climb through the boulder field really is the icing on the cake.
- Trail Condition 60% 60%
- Usage 85% 85%
- Trail Head Easy to Find 100% 100%
- Kid Friendly 40% 40%
1. Heughs Canyon Waterfall
In spring, rushing water flows over the canyon walls spilling into a pool at the base of the falls.
2. Boulder Field
A simple scramble over the boulder field is necessary to reach the base of the falls. It’s a short stretch which adds some adventure to the hike.
3. Flora and Fauna
Keep an eye out on the trail for rattle snakes and other wildlife. Spring brings the wildflower bloom to the canyon which is a great time to go and enjoy the flowers.
Heughs Canyon trailhead parking is located at the intersection of Wasatch Blvd and East Canyon Cove Dr. It’s a 0.5 mile walk from the parking area to the trailhead. From the parking area walk up East Canyon Cove Dr heading east. Turn left onto Oak Canyon Dr continuing through the neighborhood. Finally, turn right on Canyon Winds Lane and walk up the road to where the homes end and the trail begins. The official trailhead isn’t signed, but a clear path heads back into the trees towards the canyon.
While the hike technically begins at the parking area, it doesn’t really feel like you’re on the trail until the neighborhood fades into the background and the trees start.
The trail follows the stream up to the falls through Heughs Canyon, crossing over the water a few times via plank bridges.
In the spring the forest is quite lush and spring flowers are in bloom. It is really pretty, but you may not be the only one enjoying the trail. Keep an eye out for rattle snakes just off the trail. We saw one in the brush as we hiked to the falls in the spring.
You continue to climb from the trailhead for 0.5 miles when the path reaches the junction with the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Continue straight on the path here. Around 0.3 miles from this point you’ll cross the last bridge and the trail becomes very steep until it reaches the boulder field. In this section the kids had to crawl up the trail and side step coming back down the trail to avoid falling.
Another 0.4 miles from the bridge the trail reaches the boulder field.
While there may be a need to use hands in some places; in general, the boulder field is pretty easy to cross with careful foot placement. Keep lower on the boulder field while crossing and heading towards a huge triangular shaped rock tucked around the side of the field.
Walk along the rock and canyon wall as it wraps back into the canyon. You’ll be on a flat path here. In the spring this part of the trail will have water on it and getting wet feet is likely. The water is only a few inches deep though.
At the end of the stream the trail opens up near the bottom of the Heughs Canyon Falls. Mist from the falls floats over this area and feels so good, especially on a hot day.
Return back to the path over the boulder field. Here you can continue up higher to the top of the falls or return to the trailhead. As we were hiking with kids, we headed back down the trail rather than continuing to the top of the falls. Other hikers said they found the best view was from the bottom of the falls anyways so we didn’t feel like we missed out.
Why is this hike hard?
The hike gains over 1200 ft of elevation in just 1.7 miles. To actually see the falls, you need to cross a boulder field. If you are not hiking with kids this is probably more between a moderate to hard.
More Hikes to Choose From
Check out this and more hikes in and around the Salt Lake Valley.
Rocky Mouth Falls, Salt Lake City, Ut
Elevation Gain: 284 ft
A great, family friendly hike that ends at a waterfall. Climbing through the trees under the canopy provides shade for most of this easy hike.
Lisa Falls, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Ut
Elevation Gain: 121 ft
Listening to the water running over the rocks at Lisa Falls sets the tone for a great place to picnic or relax and let your worries float away.