Horesetail Falls is a stunning 100+ foot tall waterfall located in Alpine. It is a short 2.25 mile trip through a gorgeous wooded canyon that ends at a really impressive waterfall. I do not know why we haven’t been out to do this one sooner because it is fantastic. The trail was a bit tougher though with a constant UP, but it was so worth it. The forest is amazing, and the views at the top are definitely worth seeing.
Length: 2.25 miles to the falls. 4.5 round trip.
Difficulty: DR5. This was a constant UP and the trail was quite rocky.
Elevation Gain: 1768 feet.
Other Info: Even though there is a lot of forest to hike through, there are a lot of long sections of trail without any shelter. Keep in mind if planning on a hot day.
To Get Here:
Take i15 towards Utah County exit 284 Timpanogos Highway and head east. You can take the main road or the commuter highway for about 5 miles to 6000 west and turn left. After a mile turn right on Westfield Rd. 1.7 miles later turn left on Grove Dr. 1.8 miles later turn right to stay on Grove Dr. continue another half mile past the Rodeo Grounds to the Dry Creek Trailhead.
The back end of the parking lot. There were actually probably a good 20-30 cars here today.
The trailhead is on the east side of the parking lot, just past this blank sign.
Evidence of the fire that was here a few years ago. Lots of burned up trees.
And then you will pass this larger, blank sign. I imagine they have plans for these one day?
Peaks above. I think one of them is Lone Peak.
And very quickly the trail starts climbing in elevation, and then never really lets up. It doesn’t look like much, but you are certainly going to notice it very quickly.
Looks like there is a small cave in the mound above.
Random rocks looks a lot like petrified wood.
Don’t forget to check out the view behind you once in a while.
The trail, while comfortably wide, is awfully rocky.
And then we start hitting the forest.
You can hear the creek flowing below for pretty much the entire trail, but, don’t really get to see it.
Super green and lush up here.
And it smells amazing!
There were a few spots where small streams flow down the trail and make it muddy.
The first of 3 major stream crossings. There are a couple small ones too but if you can step over it, I didn’t count it.
The forest up here is amazing.
What in the world happened here? It looks like a candelabra.
Smaller creek crossing, you can practically step over it.
The stream going back into the woods.
Immediately after that little stream you come to this clearing. From here the trail will split quite a few times, but from what I read, and what I saw myself, it looks like they all join back. I generally tend to follow the more prominent looking trail, but when in doubt, stay left.
Nice little spot to camp.
Another trail split.
Little family tree. I love seeing this. Ever since our adventure in The Redwoods when I learned about it, I now see it everywhere.
Another muddy section.
2nd stream crossing.
I didn’t like that the log was at the top of a waterfall, so I used some rocks on the right side instead.
Another little stream.
Peak above. Somewhere around here you start to hear to roar off the waterfall.
Seriously, there are some funky trees up here.
Peaks and rocks.
And the last leg is very rocky.
And your first view of the waterfall.
This is overflow from the 3rd creek, so the trail is a slight stream for minute here.
A great view of the waterfall with the peaks above. I think that is White Baldy on the right. You can see the other side of that from Red Pine Lake..
At least the rocky trail is useful here in keeping your feet dry.
And the 3rd major creek crossing. This one is a little more intense as the creek is high and swift.
And they put the bridge at the top of a waterfall again. oi. At least the logs are bolted together so it is pretty stable, but I didn’t like crossing it.
Oh, this means you are getting very close.
View down the canyon.
This is what we were looking for. The sign points to to trails to the right, but you want to stay to the left. And about 20 feet later you will be looking for a small trail that goes to the left. This will take you to the base of the falls. The main trail goes above the falls, and possibly beyond.
20 feet later we found the side trail going down. Note the boulder.
The trail guide I used mentioned this steep spot, and said don’t let it deter you. Honestly, it looked a bit rough, and almost did deter me. But, I am glad I pressed on. I was actually more worried about climbing back up than down, but up was probably easier honestly.
See, it’s not too bad. I’d prefer there to be a rope, but it is totally doable.
The last 2/10 of a mile are through a thick jungle like area with a bunch of little streams to cross. The guide I mentioned said there may be bushwhacking, but we found it to be generally clear and easy to follow.
The trail is certainly more thin, but still pretty obvious.
Now look at that amazing view down the canyon and out into the valley. You can even see Utah Lake!
And we made it to the waterfall! Holy crap this is a stunning waterfall! And uh, this is called Dry Creek… I know it is runoff season, but it is far from dry! This thing is gushing!
There are some nice boulders to sit on and enjoy the waterfall. There is also a trail down to the actual base, but with how much it is gushing I didn’t see a need to get any closer. Like Bell Canyon there is additional drop off below the falls. And also like Bell Canyon, a few people have died here. So, I am happy enjoying from a distance.
The sheer force of the falls you can see the water being flung back up when it hits the bottom. Just incredible!
Really spectacular falls.
I tried a longer exposure but meh. The lighting wasn’t optimal.
The mist being sprayed up.
The additional drop-off below the main falls. Keep your distance.
I took a 3D 360 degree photo while up here. If you have 3D goggles you can check that out here.
Well we got to enjoy the waterfall for a good 20-30 minutes all by ourselves (on a holiday weekend no less!) But, that ended and it was time to head on back.
Another look into the valley below.
Back through the jungle.
The short steep section. It was actually easier to climb back up than down.
Back on the main trail.
View down the canyon, with a tree interrupting the view.
Back to the third stream crossing.
Another shot of the waterfall with the peaks above.
I noticed this trail split on the way up and I had a feeling it would have a nice view, but I ignored it since it did not seem like the main trail. But on the way down I decided to run up real quick.
Only a short, 100 feet or so up you can see the waterfall from here as well.
Back down through the pretty forest.
Well hello friend!
The clearing again.
With the cliff walls above.
Stream coming out of the forest.
I love the forest up here.
Another funky tree.
I’m not sure, but these remind me of lodge poll pines.
Down to the first stream crossing.
Cool spider web.
Oh, you can see just a glimpse of Dry Creek below.
Nice and green.
Nearing the bottom offers a view of the valley again.
And the hills to the south of the canyon.
And on the way back another shot of Utah Lake (DBP).
That trail was amazing! The forest smells great, the sound of the creek, the view down the canyon and culminating to a really pretty, somewhat unique waterfall. Even with the holiday weekend, and the full parking lot, we didn’t run into a lot of people so it still felt secluded. Even though it was a little tougher, I absolutely loved it! I think it may be my new favorite trail! Though, I have noticed I tend to say that when we explore a new canyon in May. Definitely going with 10 out of 10 squirrels!
As for difficulty. I am going to put this one at a DR5. It is rocky, and the elevation gain never really let up.
Dogs are allowed! Please clean up after your furry friends.