Night Photography at Calf Creek Falls

Utah Calf Creek Campground, Utah

Added by KiKi Lamm

  • Distance: 6 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: minimal
  • Duration: 4-5 hours (give yourself plenty of time to shoot)
  • 126 ft. waterfall
  • Amazing night photography during full moon

This is a popular destination for campers and tourist hikers alike, so get there early to snag a campsite if you plan on staying the night. Once you have a site, explore the area during the day while the falls are packed and hit the trail around 7 or 8 PM to give yourself time to enjoy the falls, shoot to your heart's content, and get back in time to get a good night's sleep.

It's not a tough hike, most likely because there is not much of an altitude increase but there are several parts where you will have to walk through thick sand. It is also not marked very well, especially at night. You will likely be the only ones on the hike so a good head lamp and good sense of direction will come in handy. For the most part, though, you are just hiking parallel to the river and Highway 12 so you're never too far away from a solid reference point.

As the sound of the water hitting the rocks below becomes more intense you will find your way to a canopy of trees that lead to a small, but incredibly powerful scenery. You will see a 126 foot free falling waterfall that is carved out of a canyon painted with green and red tones. The variations of reds and oranges on the sandstone have taken millions of years to form and jolt up from the tiny pool below that is lined with dark colored, perfectly-rounded volcanic rocks, washed down by lava years ago and now glistening in the moon light. You can find shelter under the trees around the pool and if you happen to catch it on a full moon (which I recommend), you will see the waterfall like very few people have.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Hiking shoes
  • Layers
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Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Year Round



Dog Friendly
Swimming Hole

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How to Get There

4 months ago

Spectacular Short Hike

Lower Calf Creek Falls is one of the most popular hikes in all of Grand Staircase Escalante and for good reason. The hike in is enjoyable and you can see several old graineries and some petroglyphs. The real attraction is the 126 ft waterfall into a crystal clear pool. The area around the waterfall has some amazing colors, I presume due to different forms of algae leaching minerals from the rock and water. The pool is fairly large and always cool and refreshing even in the height of summer when the hike in can be very hot and dry. It's fairly short but be sure to take plenty of water if you go in the warmer months. I've never been there at night but might have to check it out after this recommendation.

4 months ago

8 months ago

Favorite Spot

This is a great spot to go. A little walk off the road and you get to calf creek falls. There is an upper pool that you can cliff jump into (about 10 feet) and then the lower pool is where the larger waterfall leads. You can anchor a repel off the waterfall that can double as a rope swing. Also there is a small moss slide you can slide on. One of my favorite things about calf creek is if you walk further down the river there are pot holes on the red rock riverbed that the water flows over and you can jump in them and see how deep they are . Some are knee deep some are over your head! Lots of fun!

8 months ago

Added by KiKi Lamm

Fine Art Photographer & Professional Adventurer ⋐⋐Digital--Film & Landscape--Adventure⋑⋑ I Like To Tell Stories And Make Pictures

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