Skip to main content
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won't cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running! Please check out our disclosure policy for more details.

I just found out about this incredible hike two weeks ago when my son went on it with his scout group. He came home talking about hiking to the falls and back in less than an hour. I couldn't figure out what he was talking about, because Adams Canyon takes about 3 hrs round trip. I asked him to take us the following week and I have to say, I feel totally jipped! I have lived in Layton the majority of my life and NEVER knew about this incredible waterfall that is about three minutes from my house to the trail head. And the hike took less than 25 minutes to reach the falls with a baby on my back. It's now my new favorite hike in Davis county!

The trail head parking lot is right off HWY 89 in Layton. There are almost always cars parked there Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and Saturdays. You will usually find cars parked all they down the street its such a popular hike.

The first part of the trail is the hardest, there are 10 switch backs. If you can make it up them, they rest of the hike is a breeze!

On the second switch back there is a memorial to Ellias Adams, whom Adams Canyon is named after. Ellias is also my children's 4th Great Grandfather! My youngest son's middle name is Adams, which is my husbands mothers maiden name. Unfortunately, our line of Adams has ended because my husbands Mother had no brothers. But we are very proud of our Adams ties in the area and especially this beautiful canyon.

Half way up the switch backs is a bench if you need a rest, but I like to push through to the top.

After the 10 switchbacks, the trail will level out a bit. You will see 3 trails off to the right before you get to the 11th switchback. You can take any of the 3 trails to the right. The first 2 are the same trail. They will take you on a steeper trail. The 3rd right will take you on the easiest trail.

Here we are, taking the 3rd right. You can see the trail to the 11th switch back that leads to Admas Canyon Upper Falls above.

As the trail gets a little rocky you will hear the falls. You are about 10 yards away.

This is the hardest part. You will be able to see the falls, you just have to climb down this rocky drop off of about 4 ft. There are roots and rocks for stepping. Easy, but littles will need assistance.

Bokeh (bow-cah) the pup is seriously half mountain goat. He can scale a cliff that is 7 ft high like nothing. People always question his ability when they see him on a hike but I have taken him on some 6+ milers and it doesn't even phase him. He also never runs away, always 10 ft ahead to check for danger, I swear, he's a keeper this one.

I turned around just in time to see Locke (10yrs) helping his little brother (5yrs) down the drop off.

The best brothers

We did it! And in less than 30 minutes! A beautiful ice cold 20 ft water fall!

Locke found this giant ball of moss behind the falls. He loves horticulture and had to examine it closer before putting it back.

And just a little tip, carving in tree's is SO fun! Please make sure you carve YOUR name in YOUR own personal tree on YOUR property, so all of us can enjoy the full beauty of nature.

The trail continued down the side of the river but it was very slanted so we didn't follow it any further. We just stayed at the falls and enjoyed them for about 30 minutes.

The trail also continued up the other side of the river but it was too steep to tackle with littles.

There is a small cave behind the falls that you can go behind.

The water at the base wasn't too fast and was very shallow for the kids to play in.

This is the top of the falls, there were two kids up there hanging out. They are the only people we saw on the hike, and the parking lot was packed and the street had about 25 cars on each side of the road. (clearly, they didn't know about this awesome hike like us)

I got this Kelty pack a month ago. I like the padding and support, but it is hard to have so much weight up so high on my back when bending over, I felt a little top heavy and unstable (just my two cents).

Failed obligatory waterfall photo.

Babies first waterfall!

When you first come up the 10 switchbacks. If you choose the first or second right, it is a little steeper going down, just take a left at the fork and head east into the canyon and you'll be to the lower falls in about 5 minutes.

you guys, I'm so not in shape, the 10 switch backs had me huffing and puffing but the rest of the hike was a breeze, with a 25 lbs toddler on my back, a dog, and 3 kids ages 10,8,5. We did it no problem. This is a great kid friendly hike with a HUGE pay off at the end. Make sure you read the directions below and check the pictures where I explain everything in the photos above! I feel like this is a MAJOR hidden gem of Utah, only a handful of people know about it. There are NO trail markers or maps on the trail but the trail is easy to follow.

Entrance Fee(s)
Helpful Tips
  • Free
  • No bathrooms
  • Using this Kelty Child Carrier.
  • Dogs allowed
  • Take water and a hat! The trail is in full sun until you reach the falls

DIRECTIONS: Very important. There are NO trail markers. To find the lower falls, go up 10 switch backs, the trail will flatten out a bit and you will see the 11th switch back ahead. Don't take the 11th switch back. There will be 3 trails on the right, before the 11th switchback. The first 2 are the same trail. They merge and will take you straight to the falls, just veer to the left (heading toward the canyon) at the fork. This trail has a bit of a steep part before the fork. The 3rd right is the trail we took in, we took the 2nd one on the way back. Just follow it straight to the falls. There is no fork. If you get to the 11th switch back you have gone to far, it will lead you to the main Adams Canyon trail. 

  • 2 miles round trip
  • 25 minutes to water fall
  • Gain 164 ft
  • Parking lot 4827 ft
  • Peak elevation 5084 ft

Main Adams Canyon Trail with 40ft waterfall

Misty Mon, 05/09/2016 - 11:03

I've only been to the big falls and at first wondered how you got there so fast. I'll definitely be checking this out. I'm an Adams and Elias is my 4th great-grandfather as well. I'm not sure why I've never been to the lower falls, but with your instructions, I will be going soon. Thanks for sharing!

Virginia Mon, 05/09/2016 - 12:53

Thanks! Been looking for some shorter hikes to get my young kids' legs in shape for summer hiking. I highly recommend the Deuter kid carriers. We also have a hand-me-down Kelty, but I agree that it rides high. The Deuter feels more secure and I think it fits a woman's frame a little better.

Stacey Starley Wed, 03/22/2017 - 14:40

Thanks for your instructions! We've been about 5 times in summer heat, winter snowpack and freeze, and spring runoff...always delightful and rewarding for my kids. Love it!!!

anna Sat, 07/29/2017 - 15:15

Your blog helped me immensely In finding this hidden gem.
I had a great time it was like a private falls .
Thank you

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.