Stewart Falls: A Utah Waterfall Hike

Utah waterfall

It seems fitting that since my husband and I met and got engaged at a waterfall (in Alaska, but still a waterfall), we should continue making waterfall memories. A few years ago he nonchalantly informed me he wanted to take our two young boys toTimpenooke and Emerald Lake.  Only later did I translate what he was actually saying as, "I think we should drag ourselves and our little boys that mostly need carried 11,000 feet up to the top of Mt. Timpanogos."  Before being tricked into that one, I convinced him perhaps we should try a slightly shorter hike to see how far our little ones could make it.  

Utah waterfall hike

That is how we found ourselves on the relatively short (4 miles roundtrip and rated as "easy to moderate")  hike to Stewart Falls.  It was a BEAUTIFUL trek through wooded mountainsides.  Even in the height of Utah's dry summer season the trail was lush and green with wildflowers blooming everywhere.  It rivaled many of the hikes I've been on in the midwest and eastern states.  

Part of what makes the Stewart Falls Hike great is the fact that it is a relatively flat walk.  The initial ascent from the parking lot is steep and the eventual descent down to the waterfalls is tricky, but the 4-mile round-trip adventure really is quite relaxing.  Whether hiking with children or not, there are many areas perfectly suited for resting, snacking, and scenic gazing.  

Utah waterfall hike


The falls themselves are amazing!  You can hear them before you see them and the air temperature drops refreshingly just at the point when you really need it.  Be amazed as the triple-tier of cascading water comes into view, and then remember to follow the trail down and to the left.  We followed a group of teenagers to the right and discovered they were sliding down a scree field.  Not the safest way to go.  

Utah waterfalls

My one piece of advice is this:  Plan to linger and enjoy your time at Stewart Falls.  There's no reason to rush along the way and you'll want time to cool down and replenish before making the journey back to your car.  Bring a lunch, dip your feet in the ice cold snowmelt stream, and enjoy being in one of the most beautiful places Utah has to offer.

Directions and information:
The Stewart Falls trailhead is on the Sundance end of the Alpine Loop.  Driving through Provo Canyon, follow the signs to Sundance, continue past the resort and BYU's Aspen Grove facility.  Just before coming to the Alpine Loop fee booth you will see a parking lot on the left of the road.  This is where the trail begins.  (You will have to pay the small Alpine loop fee-we tried to avoid it by parking on the side of the road and got a ticket).  

Several different trails begin from this parking lot so be sure to read and follow the signs.  Once you're on the right trail you'll be on your way.  

It is also possible to hike to Stewart Falls from the Sundance Resort.  
The hike will start at the top of Ray's Lift and be more of an uphill, 
then downhill hike than from the trailhead I've described above.
 Check out the Sundance website for more information on that alternative.

 (Be sure to read another waterfall post on the Battlecreek Trail)