Growing up, we always had to hike Adams Canyon with our youth group. Of course it was always at 3pm in the dead heat of the day. I'm not a fan of the heat so I never liked this hike, until.... I did it on my own. I like to hike early in the morning, before it gets hot. Plus the trails are always less crowded. This is a popular hike in Layton and weekends and holidays are always busy. You can see cars parked all the way down the road from the trail head. I recommend going early or hiking mid week to avoid the crowds.
The beginning of the trail has several sandy switch backs that are not shaded. Yet another reason to go in the morning, the sun beats down on the side of the mountain and there is no shade until you reach the canyon. Also, the sand, its a little harder to climb, but when you make it to the top, the trail evens out and the rest of the hike is shaded, runs along the river, and has a moderate climb. Nothing my 4 year old cant handle.
Another reason why we love this hike is because it is dog friendly. Dogs should be leashed, but we let Bokeh run free unless we see other people with a dog, then we just pick him up or leash him. Most dogs are not-leashed when we see them so if your dog is not friendly, we don't recommend bringing them on this hike since most dogs run free.
There are plenty of places to stop along the way and play. My kids love playing in the river and crossing the bridges.
Be sure to check the fire advisory if you're planning on making a fire. You can find two fire pits on the trail.
This is the steepest part of the trail, you can go up and over this giant rock, like Locke(10 yrs) (pictured above), or you can go across it (pictured below). We went up and over on the way up. There are branches to help pull yourself up. If you have littles they will need help with this part.
On the way back, we went across the rock (pictured below) It is very very steep. Our dog/mountain goat slid down a couple feet but caught his footing and made it across. Below the ledge is a drop off to the river, about 5 feet down. My kids(8-10yrs) made it over just fine, but we were very cautious. If the drop off to the river was further down, we wouldn't have chanced it.
Coming around the bend, you have to cross the river to see the falls. We went in the spring so the water was high. In the fall you should be able to cross without getting wet.
It was a cool overcast day (my favorite to hike in) so the kids didn't want to get under the falls. But mid summer hikes are perfect for cooling off under the falls. There is also a large rocky area on the opposite side of the river, perfect for resting, enjoying the view and having lunch.
- Distance – 3.8 miles roundtrip
- Approximate hiking time – 3 to 4 hours
- Elevation at trailhead – 4823 feet
- Elevation at highest point – 6186 feet
- Elevation gain – 1363 feet
- Difficulty – Moderate – Switchbacks for the first 0.5 miles, no shade. Shade for last half of the hike.
- Trail – well maintained trail of dirt, sand, some gravel and rock, will require rock hopping through stream bed.
- Bathrooms – None
- Seasons to hike – Best in the Spring, Summer, and Fall
- Pets allowed – Yes