In The Desert
Content including photographs are Copyright © 2011 - Present - Don & Linda Gilmore
Cascade Falls, Utah
It's July and it's getting too hot to go anywhere in the desert and even the high desert is getting hot, so where do we go? Head for the mountains next to the desert. It's cooler and everything is still green. Take a trip with us to Navajo Lake, Cascade Falls, the Malpais and a quick stop at Cedar Breaks on the way home. Great way to spend a day and cool off!
The main overlook for Navajo Lake will give a great view and good idea of just how big the lake really is. A fun place to camp out or go fishing. Bring your boat and fishing gear! The lake has some interesting geology, more on this can be found HERE.
Navajo Lake, Utah
Continue on this day trip to the Malpais and then on to Cedar Breaks. This is a nice way to spend a day and get away from the heat in the desert.
Page 2 The Malpais
Short video of Cascade Falls
Leaving Cedar City on Hwy. 14 headed east you start to climb into the mountains. This is a very scenic route with a lot of pull-overs for sightseeing and photography. Watch for wildlife, as it is abundant all through the mountains here.
Download a Garmin GPS topo track HERE
One of the major over-looks has a view of Zion National Park in the background. The North fork of the Virgin River runs along side the lower part of the cliffs shown here headed toward the park. The views are spectacular!
Once you get on top of the mountains you'll be in several nice valleys surrounded by forests. Keep any eye open and you might just get to see a Yellow-bellied Marmot like the one to the right. They are elusive, so be quick with the camera.
Trees everywhere, and some are immense. The dead snag on the right was over 60 ft. tall and even the Aspen trees (shown below) are very tall.
When you leave Navajo Lake (follow the GPS track) you'll take a side road to the east just before getting back onto Rt. 14, then head east to go to Cascade Falls. The underground river that feeds the falls is written up on our site HERE Under normal circumstances this is a 2 wheel drive road.
When you get to the parking area you're only 1/2 mile from the falls -- as the Raven flies. Walking the trail is more like a mile or a little over. This is a very pretty hike and on weekends you'll be joined by a lot of others wanting to see the falls.
The beginning of the trail is pretty flat and easy to walk. As shown here. Any able bodied person should be able to walk to the falls.
As you get past the first 1/8 mile on the trail you'll be able to see a lot of the remaining trail to the falls running along the hillside. See the yellow arrow.
This is a Rock Columbine, one of the prettiest wildflowers we've ever seen. Growing on a rocky slope just above the trail. It was the only one along the trail.
At several different places along the trail you'll find water running out of the cliff face above. Most are just seeps.
When you get your first look at the head waters of the Virgin River at Cascade Falls you'll still have a ways to go to get up to the falls. This winter was a wet one so the falls are probably running at their maximum right now.
This is the last section before you get to the falls. The Park service has built steps through a lot of this area and although it would keep kids from falling, it does make the walk miserable, climbing so many steps that are not placed very well for a normal stride. On the other hand we did see one young boy fall where there were no steps, so I guess they did this for liability reasons.
Walking along the trail you are sometimes very close to the edge and it's quite a ways down to the bottom. But there are also a lot of great opportunities for the photographer.
Inter-active map of the entire area with locations.