Heugh’s Canyon is a beautiful hike to a few waterfalls and spectacular views located between Big Cottonwood Canyon and Mt. Olympus.
If you are only going to the first waterfall you can click on this post. This one is one includes farther up the canyon.
There is parking on Wasatch Blvd. but then you have a steep 1/3 mile walk up Canyon Cove Drive, Canyon Oak Drive and Canyon Winds Lane. You can park on the first two, but not the last to be closer to the trail. The trail begins right in someone’s driveway, so please be respectful.
Google Maps is wrong and takes you to the wrong trailhead. These roads are crazy steep, so I don’t recommend parking on Wasatch Blvd unless you want an extra leg workout. Here is a map showing Google maps with my corrections in green. There is no pathway from Heugh’s Canyon Circle, so instead park on Oak Canyon Drive. Then walk up past the gate to the trailhead
It’s such a beautiful and well-shaded trail!
The trail is moderately steep until just before the first waterfall. and The trail follows a stream and the trail is very green. As you continue you see the reddish-brown-hued canyon walls start to rise for a very picturesque contrast with the blue sky and occasional city views!
Rattlesnakes have been reported on this trail, so keep your eyes and ears alert, but we didn’t see any on any of the times I’ve hiked it.
A mile and a half in you come to a rockslide with lots of large boulders. It’s hard to know which direction to go. Go straight across the boulders to the divide you can see between the canyon walls. (white arrow in photo above). Even though it looks like there isn’t a pathway, the entrance to the larger waterfall is just to the left side (blue arrow).
The waterfall is beautiful and a hidden oasis!
The falls are large, probably 30 feet. In May 2023 there was an especially heavy flow!
Next to the falls there is some type of mine shaft or cave. I think they may have collected water and piped it down.
If you return to the boulders, and continue up the hill, past some greenery, you will see a trail to the right. The first time we were confused and bushwhacked a bit, but the trail is clear once you are high enough up the rockslide.
Be sure to stop and take in the gorgeous view!
It’s even prettier at sunset!
Here is looking down towards the regular dirt trail you took up. Coming back you can head directly back instead of detouring again to the first waterfall.
This part of the trail gets a little steeper. A few minutes up that trail there is another beautiful view of the valley.
Just beyond that you can hear another waterfall. The rocks on the path almost look like steps. Turn off to the right on the path that heads downhill.
You’ll pass evidence of a campfire and then the waterfall will be on your left.
It is smaller when the flow isn’t high, but shaded and beautiful (May 2020 vs. May 2023.
We continued farther up the canyon. It gets steeper and steeper and we had to use our hands a lot to keep us from sliding back down. There is a another rockslide crossing. There are some cairns to help you find your way, but the steepness and loose rocks make it a challenge. At the top of the second rockslide, near a cairn, there is another view down the canyon. You cannot see the city, but it’s very picturesque.
We thought maybe this trail would lead somewhere, but it doesn’t. The trail continues, getting steeper and steeper. It is over 45° and quite challenging. Finally you get to a ridge that looks down into the canyon where the river is. You can’t go down very far, but you can look across and see a cave. It is also challenging to get back down the steep grade, so we were clinging to trees and sitting low to use our hands.
Children could make it to the first waterfall and probably the second. Keep a close eye out for rattlesnakes. Unless you want the exercise of the steep climb, I probably would not recommend continuing beyond the second waterfall. If you hike to the second waterfall and back then it’s about 3.5 miles round trip. It’s a little farther if you continue on the steep part.
This hike is one I recommend taking bug spray if hiked in the evening.
Overall it is a very beautiful hike and I’d recommend it, at least to the first or second waterfall! Here are a few more pictures from the trail!
Stats: Distance – 3.5 miles roundtrip (to second waterfall), (3.0 miles to first)
Approximate hiking time – 2 to 4 hours
Elevation gain – 1,071 feet (to first waterfall)
Difficulty – Moderate, becomes difficult near first waterfall
Trail – well maintained trail of dirt and rocks (boulder field to cross).
Bathrooms – None
Seasons to hike – April – October
Permits needed – None
Pets allowed – Yes