Fall colors, a waterfall, and crisp temperatures equal a perfect hike

Bell's Canyon Lower Falls is the perfect balance between easy hikes and difficult hikes. It gives you a good workout and stunning views while not causing exhaustion.

Fall colors, a waterfall, and crisp temperatures equal a perfect hike

The morning after I went to my first Real Salt Lake game, I woke up with the sun shining brightly. The temperature was around 60 degrees with a fall breeze snaking its way around the buildings. Nothing would have kept me inside that day.

I finally decided to get around to hiking to the Lower Falls in Bell's Canyon, a hike I had been wanting to do since moving to Utah. Waterfalls might honestly be my favorite outdoor feature to see. I changed into my hiking gear and hit the road. After arriving at the trailhead, I began the first portion of what would be a 4.3-mile hike.

The Hike

AllTrails says the hike is 4.6 miles, but their route starts from a different point than I did. I started at the Bell Canyon trailhead which was amidst a nice neighborhood in Sandy, UT. The first portion of the hike was a decent climb for a short period rising above the houses and looking over the city.

View of the neighborhood in Sandy from the trail

The trail then led me right to the Lower Bell Canyon Reservoir. I hiked this trail in mid-October, which was just perfect because the trees surrounding the reservoir rippled with brilliant yellow colors, seeming to illuminate the landscape at the base of the stunning mountains.

Some people turn around at this point, satisfied with the views and a mile-long hike.  I was only a small portion of the way to my destination though. I continued around the lake counter-clockwise and ended up getting a bit lost actually. I found what reassembled trails and tried to follow them, but they led me to dead ends. Ultimately, I just ended up bushwhacking in the general direction I needed to head. For those who don't know what 'bushwhacking' means, it is hiking through the wilderness without a trail. You probably will have to whack some bushes and foliage out of your way as you head along, leading to the term 'bushwhacking'. It's a smart idea to stay on trail and not do this, but I was a bit lost and trying to find my way forward. Thankfully, I stumbled back onto the main trail and continued my hike.

After a fork, the AllTrails map leads hikers around the northern portion of the trail. I elected to hike along the southern branch. Again, this trail wasn't marked as well, and I found myself hopping between different small trails, trying to follow the creek up the canyon. This was a good adventure though, and I came across a hidden alcove that was so peaceful. I sat on top of a giant rock and captured this shot.

I soaked up the sun from my vantage point and enjoyed the sound of water trickling along the rocks. After relaxing for a moment, I continued my adventure towards the waterfall. Eventually, I met back up with the main trail which was marked a lot better. As I got higher in elevation, the temperature dropped. I think this was mostly from the shade of the trees and the rushing creek kicking up cold air. Nonetheless, it felt so refreshing as I was a bit sweaty already from hiking in the sun.

The trail crossed the creek at different points

Then, I reached the final portion of the trail. This part was intense. The ground was icing already and parts of the trail were filled with snow, making it quite slick. My hiking shoes handled it well thankfully. The last bit also had a larger incline compared to the rest of the hike. I certainly earned the waterfall sighting at the very end. That hard portion just made reaching my destination even sweeter, and nothing could affect my mood. It was a perfect day and an awesome hike.

I reached a fork where a broken sign pointed me left, towards the waterfall. As I got close, I began to hear the sound of water cascading over a cliff edge and onto rocks below. It was not a huge waterfall by any means, but it was still beautiful.

Bell's Canyon Lower Falls

I wish I would have taken more pictures. I only got this from screenshotting my YouTube video of this hike. This isn't a huge problem though, because I have an excuse to go back now! The sights at this point were awesome and I had the waterfall to myself for around 10 minutes before a few other eager hikers showed up. I retreated from the waterfall to let them soak it in while I looked back down the canyon. I snapped a quick picture which ended up being one of my favorite photos I have ever gotten.

Something about the various landscapes, colors, and textures really makes me love this picture.

After a while, it was time for me to head back the way I came. I once heard that the majority of hiking injuries occur when going downhill, not uphill. Don't fact-check me on that, because I have never confirmed that fact, but it makes total sense. While hiking uphill is much more of a workout on the lungs, heading downwards puts a lot of stress on the knees and muscles. Combine that with the icy portion of this trail, it could be a recipe for disaster. Needless to say, I took the descent very slowly making sure to be balanced wherever I stepped.

Even though my progress was slow, I made my way and reached the bridge crossing, and then the reservoir, and eventually the parking lot. I got into my vehicle and drove back home, feeling satisfied with yet another successful hike.

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Until next time!