Grotto Falls in the Nebo Loop is a beautiful, family-friendly hike! It is an amazing destination without too much effort. There is a parking area across the street from the trailhead.
We only passed a few people on the trail, but one little girl was searching for fairies and it looked like a promising place to do so.
It is glorious in the fall!
The creek next to the path is so beautiful! This shows the difference between the beginning of June, the beginning of August and beginning of October.
In the late spring/early summer the water levels are higher so crossing the water is a little trickier. The good thing is that it’s very shallow even at it’s highest, so slipping means getting your feet wet, but it is unlikely to be dangerous. Some families just hike this in water shoes and plan to get wet.
The main path heads off to the right. There is what looks like a narrower, steeper path to the left. I don’t recommend taking it.
There are a couple creek crossings. Most have nice bridges, but in the springtime and early summer the water levels are higher so there are a few log crossings. I actually crossed on the group of logs to the left. This photo is looking back after crossing, so the group is on the right from this view.
In the fall the water is lower so it’s pretty easy to cross.
Continue along the path. This super cool tree along the way.
There are a few more bridge crossings.
This last photo is looking back after crossing this bridge.
Just beyond this bridge is another set of log crossings to get to the Grotto. When the water is low it is unnecessary and walk along some rocks around the corner to the falls.
We saw a few butterflies and moths the summer.
The Grotto is super awesome! This shows the difference between water flow. In the spring/early summer the water is stronger and the ground has a couple inches of water. In August the flow is less, but that allows you to get a lot closer without getting very wet. There is a rock to stand on to keep you drier if you want.
We found some baby American Dippers chirping for mom to feed them.
Just before the bridge to cross back over, you can If you head up the hill to get an areal view of the falls, but that path isn’t as child-friendly. My kids have done it, but I wouldn’t take toddlers and my kids slid back down on their backsides. This picture makes it look like the kids are right at the drop off, but they are actually several feet back.
This trail has some great flowers in June.
The Grotto Falls hike is also beautiful in the winter. The winter gate is 1.5 miles farther down in the canyon, so it adds 3 miles to the total.
Other trails in the Nebo Loop are Payson Lake Loop at Payson Lakes, Devil’s Kitchen, Salt Creek Waterfall, Dripping Rock Falls and Red Ledges and Diamond Fork Arch.
Stats: Distance – 0.6 miles roundtrip (From the winter gate it is 3.6 miles)
Approximate hiking time – 30-90 minutes (1-2 hours in winter)
Elevation gain – 183 feet (523 feet in winter)
Difficulty – Easy
Trail – well-maintained trail of dirt and rocks
Bathrooms – None
Seasons to hike – March-October (longer in winter. Microspikes recommended)
Permits needed – None
Pets allowed – Yes