Trip Report – Horsetail Falls, Utah

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Horsetail Falls

While on a business trip in northern Utah, I took a break on the weekend to fit in a quick overnight backpacking trip. It was also an opportunity to meet up with my cousin who took me to see a favorite hike for locals: Horsetail Falls.

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Horsetail Falls is a beautiful waterfall a few miles up Dry Creek Canyon, northeast of Alpine, Utah. The trail is in a protected wilderness area, so only hiking and equestrian use is permitted.

Summary

  • Distance: 2.5+ miles to the falls
  • Trailhead elevation: 5640 ft
  • Waterfall elevation: 7400 ft
  • Trailhead: Dry Creek
  • Location: Alpine, Utah

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The trail is well-marked and it has a good elevation gain with moderate terrain. There were a few creek crossings, and in places was a little wet, depending on the route. The entire area was beautiful and I found myself stopping regularly to soak in the views, take photos, and catch my breath. My cousin said there were amazing camping areas further up the trail, but due to my schedule, we stopped a little ways above the falls, about 3 miles up the trail. Camping spots were very limited, but thanks to bringing hammocks, we were able to set up in an area that looked pretty inhospitable, but was very Leave No Trace friendly.

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We were a good distance from the falls and the creek, but the sound of crashing water lulled us to sleep as we were cradled and rocked gently in our nests.

Hammock Gear Used

I love camping in the rain, and I was blessed with a nice midnight rain storm and a misting in the morning. We stayed nice and dry under our tarps, and thanks to the boulder I was pitched over, I was able to cook breakfast in bed over a rock face.

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Due to the slope we were camped on, I had to climb up a pine tree a little ways to hang my tree webbing and suspension line. Using quick-release Dutchware clips and using a Becket Hitch, I was able to quickly tie my Hennessy suspension without trouble.

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I wish I could have stayed longer and explored more, but it was fun to do a quick sub-24O trek with my cousin. I can’t wait to do it again sometime!

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6 Responses

  1. Tom L. says:

    Dry Creek is great and lends itself very well to hammock camping. In fact, this is often our go-to shoulder season overnighter with the scouts. We’ve converted our entire varsity team to hammock campers and never looked back. In fact, a few years ago we made our own gathered end hammocks with one of the groups and it has now become a rite of passage of sorts for the younger scouts to look forward to as they move up through the program. It’s always fun to see some favorite local spots pop up on your site. Thanks for sharing.

    • Derek says:

      Thanks Tom! Your experience echoes my own. Our troop has had the same tradition of making hammocks. It’s a lot of fun.

  2. Jacob Scheer says:

    Looks like a fun trip! Where do you usually put your pack and other items if you are expecting it to rain?

    • Derek says:

      Usually underneath my hammock. If I brought a gear hammock I can keep everything elevated off the ground and dry. With a large enough tarp, I can also clip the pack off the end of the hammock.

  3. Curt says:

    A one trip is good for the soul, thanks for the reminder to just get out there.

  4. Curt says:

    I meant “one night”.

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