Bird watching Hikes Waterfalls

Upper Falls in Provo Canyon

(Last Updated On: May 28, 2017)
Upper Falls Provo Canyon

Upper Falls Provo Canyon

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.

The trail is very steep and rocky the entire way.

The trail is very steep and rocky the entire way.

We love that the trail is so shady!

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.

The snake was fun to watch.

The snake was fun to watch.

We saw fossils in a few rocks along the trail.

We saw fossils in a few rocks along the trail.

We also spotted a ton of snails in the Spring one year!

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.

At the end of the hike, there is a lot of debris to navigate as you finish your climb to the falls. Be careful!

We love getting up close to this amazing waterfall.

We loved that we were all alone on the trail and that we could climb right up by the waterfall.

We loved that we were all alone on the trail, too!

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.

You cross the Provo River at the start of the hike.

You cross the Provo River at the start of the hike.

Watch for these buildings...the trail is behind them.

Watch for these buildings…the trail is behind them.

The spray feels so good on a hot summer day.

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.

Park here, and enjoy this beautiful view.

Walk next to this cement wall over toward the bridge that crosses the river.

This bridge is very safe to cross.

Then you hop on the Provo River Parkway for 1/4 mile.

Watch for the cement buildings and the trail begins behind them.

Upper Falls in Provo Canyon is definitely a beautiful spot.

12 Comments

  • This is a beautiful place. I remember discovering it for the first time. My friends didn’t believe me I heard running water. 3 years later I proposed to my wife up there. When we went back there a year later there was graffiti all over the place. This is an amazing secret treasure of Provo Canyon.

  • Hey man. This is my favorite hike. You can actually go up to the upper waterfall without a rope by just going to the left, although watch your kids as it does get a bit edgy. You can go higher than that although that does require ropes, but they are already there. Above that part tho is absolute paradisaical beauty. Hardly anybody knows about it either. You won’t find anything other than those two waterfalls even on Google, so the beauty up higher is available only to those who go that high. There are literally dozens of other waterfalls up there as you go higher. Hit me up on Facebook or reply with your email and I’ll tell you more about it and I’ll even show you the glorious pictures I took. Going back and going all the way is something I would definitely recommend.

  • I’m not seeing anything about Big Baldy on here… It’s a great hike. Check out a few facts at utahcountyoutdoors.com and I’ll bet you’d love it.

  • What a fantastic blog and site.

    I would sure appreciate your thoughts, knowledge and expertise. I will in SLC in mid January (up from FL) and will have two days to play. I would like to try to see as many of your beautiful waterfalls and scenic vistas as I can. Short (1hr each way probably) max hikes so I can see as much as I can. The big question I have is what trails are open/accessible to a rental car/SUV and I guess which trails would be open to hiking and last would I need showshoes (or would they slow me down too much since I have never used them). I’m an experienced hiker and hike in Western NC twice a year.

    What waterfalls or really scenic vista’s would you suggest I visit and/or whom would you suggest I contact for more information? Thank you!!!

    • Thank you for finding our blog. I feel that I am not equipped to answer your question. We hike with our young children and so we have never attempted hiking in the winter. I’m sure there are many hikes that you could do with or without snowshoes, but as I said, I don’t know what ones to tell you. We love the site Wasatch hiker and maybe it would help you: http://www.wasatchhiker.com. Good luck and sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

  • We just did this one this morning; thanks for the recommendation! Just a heads up that the bridge now has a no trespassing sign on it. We went down and parked across from the base of bridal veil and walked up the Provo river trail to the buildings and it added nicely to the length of our hike. 🙂

    • There’s a hold in the fence you can squeeze thru to get across the bridge. It would not make sense for it to be illegal, because you can literally get to the other side if the gate just by walking up the bike trail and going into the bridge from the other side. Trust me, you would be fine 🙂

  • We went to Upper Falls today! Me and my four kids (6 to 13) really enjoyed it. We have gone along the bike trail countless times and never knew the trail was behind those buildings. We never even noticed the bridge before! Thanks so much for your blog. I have a feeling we’ll be doing as many of your adventures this summer as time allows.

  • Thank you so much for your blog! We use it all the time to plan adventures to take our family on. I appreciate the time you take to document what you have found and how you like it!