Hike of the Week: Grotto Trail
Getting there • From Payson, turn south onto Canyon Road (600 East) and follow it into Payson Canyon, where the road becomes Nebo Loop Road. The trailhead marked by a sign will be on your left in about seven miles, with free, ample parking on the opposite side.
Directions • At little more than a quarter mile long, Grotto Trail (also known as Grotto Falls) is a short return for a long drive to most anyone who lives outside of southern Utah County. But with its mostly gentle uphill slope, bridges and splashy finale, the easy hike makes an excellent adventure for children and a fun reason to stretch your legs if you happen to be on a scenic drive.
It's almost impossible to get lost on the one way in, one way out trail. There's a fork early into the journey, but the paths quickly converge again. Wooden bridges guide you over the shallow and sparkling Peteetneet Creek on your way to the trail's namesake: a grotto full of sunlight and the sound and spray of the waterfall splashing into it.Now that your feet are wet and you've refreshed yourself in the spray, go back the way you came to find Nebo Loop again. If you're interested in a quick dose of difficulty before you go, there is a steep, rugged side path just before the grotto entrance that takes you above and behind the main attraction. But before venturing up there, mind that it ultimately dead-ends at faster creek waters, slippery stones and the risk of a dangerous plunge to the grotto floor if you're not careful.
Michael McFall Grotto Trail
Hiking time • 30 minutes
Round-trip miles • 0.6 miles
Elevation gain • 200 feet
Difficulty • Easy
Trailhead restrooms • No
Dogs allowed • Yes
Bikes allowed • Not recommended