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Little Cottonwood & Lisa Falls Trail, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah | 52 Hike Challenge – Hike 31

Little Cottonwood & Lisa Falls Trail, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah | 52 Hike Challenge – Hike 31

For Hike 31 of my 52 Hike Challenge, Eric and I decided to hike Little Cottonwood Canyon, not far from where we were living in Salt Lake City. We decided to tackle Little Cottonwood Creek Trail. When we finished we noticed another trail to a waterfall just across the street and decided to tack that on, too!

Little Cottonwood Creek

Little Cottonwood Creek Trail is an easy hike with little elevation change, but does require hopping through some rock falls. The trail gets narrow with a sharp drop off and significant slant in a few places that may make some nervous, but we were able to navigate these no problem. However, I have no idea how the mountain bikers on this trail zoomed through those areas. Impressive and too daring for me!

The entire length of trail we tackled (about two miles out and back) follows Little Cottonwood Creek, with a few log crossings that made for nice photo ops. There are also some ruins along the way which are always an entire surprise in the forest.

Even on a sunny August day this trail was cool due to the elevation and shaded trail. We did encounter quite a few (friendly) bikers on this narrow trail, even midday on a weekday, so be alert and aware of those around you while taking on this hiking.

Lisa Falls

I had read about Lisa Falls but hadn’t planned to hike it on this day. However the trailhead was just across the street from the Little Cottonwood Creek trailhead, and it’s a short hike to the falls, so we couldn’t pass it up.

This trail turned out to be a lot more exciting than Little Cottonwood Creek. There is certainly more elevation gain here, although still not much overall. You’re picking your way through rocks and tree roots most of the way up to the falls. I enjoy a technical hike as it gives me something to focus on and think about.

When we reached the falls, we climbed out onto some sunny boulders. This was the perfect place to warm up a little bit and have a snack. The trail continues up the falls, but we had used up our time and had to head down. While I wouldn’t revisit Little Cottonwood Creek, I would love to go back to Lisa Falls and continue this hike.

Have you hiked around Salt Lake City or traveled either of these trails? Tell me about it in the comments!


52 Hike Challenge – Hike 18 – Spearfish Canyon Roughlock Falls

52 Hike Challenge – Hike 18 – Spearfish Canyon Roughlock Falls

On our drive from Chicago to our first nomadic “home”, Salt Lake City, I had a little bit of time to explore during our stay in Spearfish, South Dakota. I only had a few hours, but the Black Hills/Spearfish Canyon area was so beautiful I couldn’t resist trying to get a hike in! I found the perfect trail: Roughlock Falls. Easy, flat, fast and incredible payoff for very little work.

This trail had almost anything you could want in a short 2 miles. Meadows of wildflowers, 1000′ vertical limestone canyon walls, vibrant, thick cover for wildlife, birds and insects and a gorgeous waterfall.

I walked this trail in street clothes (jeans and sneakers). No special equipment is needed for this hike, and while the trail is busy, it is plenty wide to easily move around slower hikers.

If you’re ever in the Deadwood/Spearfish area, this trail is a can’t miss. Appropriate for all ages and abilities. Have you hiked in the Black Hills? Tell me about it in the comments!

52 Hike Challenge – Hike 11 – Amicalola Falls

52 Hike Challenge – Hike 11 – Amicalola Falls

In my hike 10 post, I mentioned that committing to the 52 Hike Challenge had pushed me to focus more on my diet and fitness. I chose CrossFit as my method to get more trail fit, so I was super pumped when my gym organized a hiking trip to Amicalola Falls this weekend.

Amicalola Falls is the tallest waterfall in Georgia (actually tallest east of the Mississippi at 729 feet) and is included in pretty much every list of best hikes in Georgia that I’ve seen! Amicalola was named by the Cherokee who lived in this area pre-Trail of Tears and the word means “tumbling waters”. Amicalola State Park now serves as a popular starting or ending point for Appalachian Trail thru-hikers, being only about 8 miles by trail from Springer Mountain, the official start/end point.

There are several trails in the park. Our group chose to hike from the Visitor’s Center to the top of the falls via the Amicalola Falls Trail, then traversed the Fitness Trail (perfect for CrossFitters with 20 exercise stations along the one mile loop), and returned to the Visitor’s Center via the last mile of the Southern Terminus Approach Trail, also known as the East Ridge Trail.

The Amicalola Falls Trail is considered moderate to difficult in part because of the 425 stairs leading to the top. Luckily we’re used to lunging and stepping/jumping onto objects so we were in good shape for so many stairs (but it was still tiring and sweaty)! You are right on top of the water action the whole way up, so even if you want to stop and take a breather on one of the many benches on the stairs, you still have a great view. The view from the top of the falls is spectacular, looking the 700+ feet down, and the Blue Ridge Mountain foothills in the distance. We were lucky to catch a clear day and could see forever. And FYI, conveniently there is a bathroom at the top of the falls.

At the top of the falls we stopped at a small creek that was perfect for having a snack and a few of us dunked out feet in the freezing cold but refreshing water.

After this little breather we hit the Fitness Trail. If you skip all the exercises this trail is a cinch, nice and flat, and wide/clearly marked. We got to show off our fitness tricks along the wat and had extra fun at the pullup bars.

Having completed the Fitness Trail we headed back to our cars via the rocky and moderately steep East Ridge Trail. This trail gave us some awesome views of the Blue Ridge foothills before descending into forest and eventually reaching the Visitor’s Center.

Only about three miles of distance covered in this hike, but quite a bit of elevation made this a great workout for a Sunday afternoon. There were some first time hikers in the group which was especially fun. What a great first hiking experience to conquer a tough trail and see a magnificent waterfall! Hopefully the hiking bug grabs them like it has me! Have you hiked Amicalola or other Georgia waterfalls? Tell me about it in the comments!

52 Hike Challenge – Hike 8 – Lower Yosemite Falls

52 Hike Challenge – Hike 8 – Lower Yosemite Falls

Hike 8 was not only a way to check off an item on my 2016 Adventure Series, but fulfilled a DREAM trip. Yosemite. National. Park.

Hike 8 was only a small part of this trip. For tons of pictures and a summary of my overall experience at Yosemite, you can visit this post.

Back to Hike 8, I visited Lower Yosemite Falls for a quick but impactful hike.

The falls are running delightfully full this spring with near average snowfall. This was my first waterfall stop during my visit and it was a thrill. It might be faint, but the mist you feel as you approach the falls connects you to the power and life of the mountains.

I would love to return and hike the Upper Yosemite Falls someday. Maybe during the 2017 52 Hike Challenge?

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