Named for its use as a natural pen for calves back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the creek remained relatively unknown as a tourist destination until the formation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, under the Clinton administration. Walking between mineral-streaked cliffs of Navajo Sandstone, hikers pass beaver ponds and pre-historic rock art sites en route to the paradisiacal pools.
The trailhead is located at the Calf Creek Campground on Highway 12, 11 miles south of the town of Boulder, and 15 miles east of the town of Escalante. The highway follows the route of the creek for most of the distance, atop the bluff to the east of the canyon.
Calf Creek Campground
(37.794049, -111.414733)Located at the campground in the Calf Creek Recreational Area, there is a parking fee for the parking lot, and a camping fee in order to stay overnight. The trail sets off to the north, away from the campground. Though mostly level, the trail frequently crosses vast sandy tracts that can make it difficult for some to navigate. About a mile and a half up the canyon, on the east wall quite high up rest two Fremont granaries and a group of pictograph panels, dated to approximately AD 1200.
Lower Calf Creek Falls
(37.829145, -111.420163)The lower falls are 130 feet high, with a deep swimming hole underneath them. The entire creek is surrounded by greenery, but particularly underneath the spray of the waterfall. The lower falls are the most famous out of the two waterfalls on Calf Creek, and attracts many visitors every year.
Upper Calf Creek Falls
(37.85504, -111.452103)The Upper calf Creek Falls are 88 feet high, and though they do not have nearly the quantity of water spilling over the edge that the lower falls have, the waterfall is still an impressive sight. Swimming is possible here as well, and with the smaller crowd, more relaxing.