Winter Mini Adventure idea: Short hike to waterfall at Joes Valley Reservoir

Head up to Joe’s Valley Reservoir near Orangeville Utah for a frozen winter waterfall scene.

Here’s a little mini adventure idea for ya when you’re stuck in the house on a winter day. Take a quick mile roundtrip hike up to one of the frozen water falls near Joe’s Valley and eat a light lunch, snack it up, or BYOC (Bring Your Own Coffee.)

Getting to the falls

From Orangeville, head up Straight Canyon and stay on that road leading around Joe’s Valley. You’ll come up on Trail Mountain Resort on the right side of the road, and once you see that, start looking for mile marker 3. The turn off is only a couple hundred yards from that mile marker with a barbed wire fence heading up to the right.

From the road, this is where you turn in. See the fence?

You can get out here and make it more of a hike, (recommended) or you can brave the snow up the small two track road almost all the way up to the falls. In the summer you can drive up, but I would recommend a high clearance vehicle as this road varies in conditions. 

Follow the two track road up with the barbed wire fence to your left. The road winds around some pretty spectacular pine trees as you get closer to the face of the mountain.

This is a great area for picnic spots in warmer months. 

Keep following this road up and you will see some rocky cliffs and the frozen waterfall start coming into view. 

Almost there!

There are a few places to get closer up high, and down low, close to the stream that are safe. Watch your footing, especially in the snow! Take in the beauty and take notice of the sounds of the ice popping on the lake. It’s really amplified here with the sound echoing off the mountain side.

I love me some Joe’s!

View of Joe’s Valley from the falls

If you didn’t get to have (or wanted to make) coffee at the water fall, you can always stop in at Cup Of Joe’s coffee shop in Orangeville. 

I know there are a few other waterfalls in this area, and they will need a visit soon from me.I’ve been up there in past years and the falls have been dyed with food coloring. Kinda seems like vandalism to me.

Have you been to these Joe’s Valley falls? To the others perhaps?

Calf Creek Falls Hike

Yet another outstanding hike in Utah, in the desert, to a spectacular waterfall.

There’s an upper and lower falls associated with this adventure. The lower falls are more popular as it is easier to hike to and navigate, but a longer one. Someday I would love to go back and check out the upper falls because I feel it might be a little more adventurey and definitely less populated.

Head out of Escalante Eastbound on Highway 12 for about 15 to 16 miles, take a left turn for the parking lot. Pay your fee, and hopefully you went early enough and there’s enough parking left. Or you could camp in their campground to make it super easy.

This hike will take half the day if you really want to enjoy it.

Just a pretty view along the hike.
What a gorgeous desert landscape, and look at that blue sky!

Things to know for this hike

  • The hike is 3 miles in and 3 miles back out the same way.
  • There’s hardly any shade – so slather on the sunblock and bring extra as well as a hat.
  • The terrain is mostly flat with a lot of sandy parts.
  • There are a couple geocaches hidden nearby the falls. So bring your GPS device if you’re into that.
  • There are some points of interest a long the way which you will see, and get to learn more if you grab a pamphlet at the trail head.
  • The waterfall acts as an air conditioner once you get there, so you can cool off just by standing near the pool or jump in for a pretty freezing cold dip!
  • There’s nowhere to sit at the falls except for a log and a rock or two, so bring a small blanket if you don’t want to sit in the muddy dirt.
  • Bring some easy lunch to have while you’re sitting enjoying the beauty of the waterfall.
  • Take lots of pics!
It’s exciting when you can hear it the closer you get. Then you see it peeking out of the trees!

This is such a nice place to sit and admire the small wonders nature provides. Has anyone had the pleasure of visiting the upper falls? I’d love to hear about it!