On a fine autumn afternoon this week, loads of multigenerational families were hiking this nature trail, which has been set up with every amenity despite being in a relatively remote part of the Wasatch.
Cascade Springs is an artesian spring that dribbles over terraces nestled between Wasatch Mountain State Park and the Alpine Loop Scenic Drive in Wasatch County. The riparian area around it makes for excellent wildflower viewing by summer and excellent leaf peeping by fall. As of Monday, the aspens still were glowing, but the maples were mostly spent; get out there soon to see the height of its autumn glory.
The trail is less than a mile long and paved between boardwalks — and a lot of it is wheelchair accessible.
Due to the ecological sensitivity of the area, hikers are asked to stay on the main trail, and picnicking is not allowed.
The springs can be reached from Midway, via Cascade Springs Drive/State Road 220, which heads west into the mountains from Stringtown Road, just north of the Soldier Hollow golf course. Take S.R. 220 southwest about 5.7 miles.
From the Alpine Loop Road (S.R. 92), take Forest Road 114 east from the junction just below the Summit Trailhead to the southeast. Follow F.R. 114 about 7 miles as it winds down to Cascade Scenic Drive. The parking lot and trailhead are about a quarter mile to the south.
If parking is full, an upper parking lot is to the north and east from the main lot, just over a quarter mile up F.R. 114.
You will pay a $6 day use fee at either entrance to State Road 92 or at the main parking lot if you arrive from Midway.
The trail has two trailheads at the main parking lot (and one from the upper parking lot). From the main lot, start on the south trailhead, near the large bathroom. A small gazebo offers views and several signs with site information.
The trail forms three loops, crossing over the springs on bridges and boardwalks. Each loop is about 0.2 mile, with short spurs from the parking lot. There are several benches, and the trail is peppered with interpretive signs about the flora, fauna and geothermal phenomena.
From the upper parking lot, a 0.3-mile trail connects to the top loop of the main trail.
Hiking time • 1 hour
Round-trip miles • Less than 1 mile
Elevation gain • 100 feet
Difficulty • Easy
Trailhead restrooms • Yes
Fees • $6
Dogs allowed • Yes, on leash
Bikes allowed • Not recommended