What if I told you that we found a .6 mile roundtrip hike that ended in a 40 foot waterfall just a few miles up Provo Canyon? And the hike has full shade in the evening and there was not another soul along the way. Would you be interested? Well, Upper Falls is that hike.
Upper Falls is just a little farther up Provo Canyon from Bridal Veil Falls. The hike is steep and rocky, but very short. We held the hands of our 5 and under crowd on the way down, and they made it just fine. The trail is also very shady and beautiful.
One thing we like about Provo Canyon is all the birds. This hike started out with us spotting some yellow warblers right in the parking lot. We also saw an American Dipper in the river and several robins. We even spotted a small snake on the path. We were glad we stopped to see him, because there were some pretty cool fossils in the rocks strewn along the trail.
When you reach the falls, you can climb right up to the bottom (it would take ropes to climb above them). We stood in the freezing spray for awhile and took a bunch of pictures. There was no one else to contend with for pictures which is why we loved this hike.
The upside of this hike is that it is short, rewarding, and nearby. The drawback is that the trail is steep and rocky. Anyone in good health should be fine– just hang on to little one’s hands! See below for two different trailhead beginnings.
To access Upper Falls, head up Provo Canyon and take the turnoff to Nunn’s Park and Bridal Veil Falls. Go straight past the first parking lot and continue up the road for a mile or two to Upper Falls Park. There is a parking lot with restrooms and a mildly frightening bridge across the river. Hike up the short scramble to the paved Provo River Trail. You’ll see some old cement buildings. Go behind the buildings on the right, and take the trail directly behind them that heads straight up the hillside. The trail branches once to the left, but keep climbing straight up. You’ll come to the waterfall in about 15 or 20 minutes.
Upper Falls Park was closed when we last visited Upper Falls, and some people don’t like to cross the scary bridge we have heard is gated off now, so here is how to hike to Upper Falls another way. Drive past the Bridal Veil Falls turnoff, and the view point, and then take a right the next chance you see one. This road leads to a parking area next to some kind of water facility. This road would take you down to Upper Falls Park, but it was blocked off because of the construction at Bridal Veil Falls. Park here by the buildings, and walk east along the cement wall. Then cross the pretty bridge over the river, and you’ll join with the Provo River Parkway Trail. Walk 1/4 mile down to the cement buildings and begin the trail up to Upper Falls. This makes the trail about 1.2 miles round trip.