There’s just something about a waterfall. The sight. The sound. The feel.
Some of us try to visually follow a single drop as it cascades from top to bottom. Some try to position themselves to see the rainbows that come only with a more immersive view. Their sound blocks out other distracting noises and seems to calm us.
Some say that because of the negative ions released by a waterfall, you can’t help but feeling happy when you’re near one. The “science” says that when the negative ions go into our bloodstream, it increases the production of serotonin, which is the “happy” chemical.
Even if you don’t agree with the “science”, you’ll certainly agree about the happy part. The sight and sound of waterfalls just makes us smile. And try to stand near a waterfall with any kind of camera without taking a picture. It’s virtually impossible.
If you’re in need of a bit of waterfall therapy, now is the time to find it in the Ogden area. Melting snow and spring runoff are the “on” switch that has been flipped. As temperatures increase and snowpack dwindles, most of Ogden’s waterfalls will experience more of a “dimmer switch” effect, until they finally turn off.
Here are three of the most iconic waterfalls in the Ogden area, with accessibility ranked from from effortless to strenuous.
OGDEN CANYON WATERFALL
Ogden’s most impressive waterfall is located at the mouth of Ogden Canyon (SR-39), making it the easiest to access. Waterfall purists will point out that it is not entirely natural as it is fed by overflow from the man-made irrigation system that flows hundreds of feet above.
However, if man-made waterfalls weren’t enjoyable, there wouldn’t be entire areas at Home Depot and Lowe’s dedicated to supplying backyard waterfall building supplies…and the rugged geology of Ogden Canyon is a far cry from a few stacked pavers with a trickle of pumped water in the corner of your back yard.
A quick Google search of “Ogden Canyon Waterfall” brings up nearly 200 reviews with an average rating of 4.7 stars. While we didn’t know rating waterfalls on Google was a thing, we’re pleased with the level of customer satisfaction and the data stating that people spend an average of 20 minutes at this location. Google also indicates “Open 24 Hours” for this particular attraction…you know…in case you were worried about making it before closing time.
SAFETY NOTE: It is best to access the pull-out for this waterfall with a down-canyon approach. Avoid the temptation to make a left- or U-turn into the pull-out if you’re approaching from town. If you are coming up the canyon from Ogden and choose to use the limited parking space on the south side of the road, please be cautious when crossing SR-39 as the crossing is located at a blind curve for motorists exiting the canyon…many of whom will be distracted by the view of the waterfall. Please exercise an excess of caution with children or pets in this area.
NORTH FORK PARK WATERFALL
If you’re looking to stretch the legs a bit with a short hike through some cooler terrain and the payoff of a beautiful waterfall, head up Ogden Canyon and take a left at Pineview Dam and head for North Fork Park near Liberty.
Once there, signs should point the way to the Waterfall Trailhead. This short, 1-mile out-and-back trail has only 300 feet of elevation gain through lush green scenery and follows a creek most of the way. The hike is short but slightly challenging, providing the perfect workout but not wearing you out. It is a bit steep and narrow in some places so watch your footing and bring the proper foot attire, ample ankle support and traction are a good idea.
Waterfall Canyon Trail is a 2.4 mile heavily trafficked out-and-back trail rated as difficult that is accessed from the 29th Street Trailhead (drive east on 29th Street until you can’t drive any further). Dogs are able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
The view of the waterfall and the valley make this steep hike worth it, and the mist from the waterfall will cool you off just enough to make the downhill return.
This trail is surrounded on both sides by private property, so stick to the designated trail. Once at the top, do not climb the rocks near the waterfall, several hikers have fallen to their deaths from the dangerous rocks.
Note: While most of the Waterfall Canyon Trail only sees hikers, you will see mountain bikers on the approach trails. Be aware on blind corners that there may be mountain bikers present. Trail conditions will change based on weather; look out for snow and ice during early- and late-season hikes. As with any strenuous hike, use adequate footwear and bring plenty of water.