Covering almost 2 million acres in Utah, the Dixie National Forest is the largest National Forest in Utah and offers some incredible locations that are worth exploring! We spent a couple weeks road-tripping thru Utah enjoying some of it's well known National Parks and State Parks but we also had some time to stop and enjoy a couple wonderful areas located within Dixie National Forest. Four different Ranger districts make up Dixie National Forest: Pine Valley, Cedar City, Powell and Escalante. Located just north of Zion National Park lies the Cedar City district that provides for a wonderful day trip if you are coming from Zion National Park. We were able to hike the wonderful Cascade Falls Trail and visit beautiful Navajo Lake. If your time allows, visiting this beautiful corner of Utah is well worth it!
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CASCADE FALLS TRAIL
The short and easy Cascade Falls Trail is only 1.1 miles out and back but offers wonderful scenery the entire length of the trail. Providing views out over the scenic red forested sandstone in Dixie National Forest and even out towards Zion National Park - we really enjoyed this quick scenic hike. Reaching the end of the trail, you will arrive to a platform overlooking Cascade Falls. Unfortunately, the platform is really close to the falls and it's hard to get a good picture so close - but the sight of the water appearing from inside the rock cliff is quite a sight to see. In fact, the source of the waterfall is actually coming from nearby Navajo Lake thru an underground lava tube which is the only outlet source for Navajo Lake. We happened to visit in early September so the water flow to Cascade Falls was rather low, but I would expect if you visit in other times of the year such as early Spring the falls may be a bit more spectacular. Either way, we enjoyed our time along the Cascade Falls Trail and would recommend a quick stop to anyone that's in the area!
Located about a 15 minute drive from the Cascade Falls Trail, beautiful Navajo Lake is worth a stop! Created when a lava flow created a dam along the eastern edge of the lake, this is a wonderful place to spend some time camping, boating or fishing. A couple different campgrounds are available to choose from including: Navajo Lake Campground, Spruces Campground or Te-Ah Campground. As we were only visiting on a day trip, we did not get the opportunity to camp here, but it's now on our list of places for future camping trips! Numerous public access points are available along the lake and we were able to spend some time just playing along the water's edge, throwing rocks and splashing in the shallow warm waters of Navajo Lake with our son. The maximum depth of Navajo Lake is only 25 feet making the temperature pleasantly warm for an Alpine Lake at 9,200 feet above sea level. Driving along Hwy 14, there is also a great viewpoint that will provide you with an expansive view over Navajo Lake.
Interested in planning your own trip to Cascade Falls & Navajo Lake in Dixie National Forest? Below is our summarized itinerary for you to follow or adjust to your own preferences. ENJOY!
Dixie National Forest: Driving from Zion National Park from the South Entrance in Springdale, head towards Cedar City. The drive will take 1 hour, 45 minutes. Hike the Cascade Falls Trail (1.1 miles), then another 15 minute drive will take you to Navajo Lake - spend some time along the beach.
In addition to visiting the Cascade Falls Trail and Navajo Lake, we also spent some time visiting Red Canyon within Dixie National Forest. Located close to Bryce Canyon National Park, Dixie National Forest's Red Canyon was a stunning area to spend an afternoon. Click Here to read more about visiting Red Canyon in Dixie National Forest.