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Trib Trails: Waterfall Canyon Trail rises to the occasion

Popular Ogden hike steep, rocky near the top, but that doesn’t deter kids, dogs or their people

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Water flows from the 305-foot Malan Falls in Waterfall Canyon from 29th Street Trailhead in Ogden, on Thursday, April 29, 2021.

Waterfall season is coming. As temperatures heat up and the snow in the mountains melt, Utah’s many falls will only grow more majestic. By June, most will have reached full roar. And just a month later, they’ll likely be back down to a trickle — though that makes them perfect for a cool splash on a hot summer day.

One waterfall that shouldn’t be missed is Malan Falls in Ogden. Its sheer height — 305 feet — and its jagged beauty makes hiking to it worth the effort. With a 1,480-foot elevation gain over 2.4 miles, it does take an effort to get to the falls. However, the ascent is nicely balanced between a wide dirt path with views over Ogden and out to the Great Salt Lake and a sharper, shaded rock scramble alongside (and through) the stream into which the falls pour.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Water flows from the 305-foot Malan Falls in Waterfall Canyon from 29th Street Trailhead in Ogden, on Thursday, April 29, 2021.

At first blush, the Waterfall Canyon Trail may not seem suitable for kids, but ones as young as 4 delight in walking in the river and scrambling up and down the rocks. Keep them close once you reach the falls, though, as both the rocks by falls and the scree nearby can be slippery. Dogs are also allowed on leash, which will keep them from getting under foot on the narrow upper climb and from colliding with a mountain bike or runner in the lower section.

Would you like to see more waterfall hikes? Is there one you would recommend? We want to hear from you. Comment below or on our Instagram feed or email jjag@sltrib.com.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) View of Ogden Valley from Waterfall Canyon from the 29th Street Trailhead in Ogden, on Thursday, April 29, 2021.

Waterfall Canyon Trail to Malan Falls

The Hike: From the trailhead information shelter, take the Bonneville Shoreline Trail connector — the one on the far left — heading south. The trail Ts in 750 feet; go south. At about the one-half mile mark, you will see two rusty-colored water tanks sitting below the trail and a trail split. Take the left trail leading into Waterfall Canyon. The upper portion of the trail and the waterfall are on private land, but the landowner allows public access to see this beautiful area. Please respect private property rights. As you enter the canyon, a canopy of trees and the sound of rushing water welcome you. At the creek, you come to the first of two bridge crossings. As soon as you cross the first bridge take a left and follow the creek. Soon you encounter the next bridge and the trail becomes less distinct as you hike along the water’s edge. If you loose the trail, just stay near the creek and make your way over the river rocks.

Getting there: In Ogden, go to the top of 29th Street. There is a large parking lot and information shelter. Take the Shoreline Trail, which will take you to the trail split for the Waterfall Trail.

Former Tribune staffer Steve Baker contributed to this report.

Region: Northern Utah/Ogden

Destination: Waterfall

Distance: 2.40 miles

Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Elevation Gain: 1,480 feet

Dog Allowed: Yes, on leash

Restrooms: Yes, at trailhead

Biking: Only on the BST

Trailhead: 29th Street Trailhead

Difficulty: 3

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