Hike Little Deer Creek to Cataract Gorge

Utah Little Deer Creek Canyon

  • Activities:

    Camping, Photography, Hiking, Rock Climbing

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    4 Miles

Scenic
Waterfall
Swimming Hole

There is some climbing involved on this hike since there isn’t an official trail, it allows you to get to base of the waterfall. You may get to cool off from the waterfall spray depending on how much run off there is when you choose to hike it.

Little Deer Creek Canyon can be accessed from the Emerald Lake Highway (150) in the Uinta National Forest east of Kamas, Utah. Turn right onto Murdoch Basin Road (Forest Service Road 137) until it splits off to the road to Cataract Gorge (Forest Service Road 027). It is recommended you park here and hike down the Forest Service Road about a quarter mile until you turn right into the gorge. Parking is located at the junction of Forest Service Roads 137 and 027. The Mirror Lake area requires a $6 charge for recreational opportunities in the area. The pass must be visible in your car when you park at the junction.

From this point you follow the river down to Cataract Gorge. A plethora of waterfalls is located in the gorge and climbing is optional among the steep canyon walls.

This hike is very remote and the canyon is secluded. You might not meet anyone along the hike down the gorge. The road is sometimes full with ATV’s headed for Cataract Gorge, but the more difficult trail down the canyon is hidden and quiet. There are dozens of waterfalls located in the canyon, and the trees are ablaze with color in the fall. The view overlooking the valley along the gorge is very scenic.

Uinta Drive In at the mouth of the canyon (235 Center Street, Kamas, Utah) offers amazing burgers, fries, and shakes. It’s definitely recommended after descending the gorge for an amazing day amongst waterfalls and breathtaking scenery.

Pack List

  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Camera
  • Swimming Suit
  • Climbing Equipment
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Reviews

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Once you start down Forest Service Road 027, the road gets extremely rocky (we listened to rock and roll music during this portion to help us feel better), driving a Chevy Colorado (high-clearance vehicle needed. There was an Expediton and Highlander that did it). This rocky portion of the road is 3 miles long to get to Duchene River. You feel like you'll never get there, just keep driving! This road aparently travels alongside a lot of the gorge and we didn't see this part. But, at the end of the 3 miles, there are a couple of beautiful waterfalls and a small lake with fish. Very nice place to camp. Not many people, but plenty of camp sites (12-15 fire rings around the lake area). I will go again!

about 1 month ago
about 1 month ago

Had to walk 2 miles down rocky road. Not able to do in Honda CRV. Then hike back up again. Otherwise it wouldve been awesome

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Michael Johnston

Instagram: @michaeljamie Photographer from Springville, UT. Lover of kayaking, hiking, backpacking, camping, and mountain biking.

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