Bridal Veil Falls has quite the reputation. Located up Provo Canyon, it is not only a 600 feet tall tiered waterfall, but it once featured a restaurant near the top of the falls, and during the winter it is home to some of the best ice climbing in the United States. The hike to Bridal Veil Falls is very pleasant, and children love it!
Bridal Veil Falls Hike Details
Distance – less than 1.0 mile roundtrip
Approximate hiking time – 10 minutes to one hour
Elevation at Bridal Veil Falls – 5141 feet
Difficulty – Easy. Paved trail to Bridal Veil Falls
Trail – Paved. The trail is frequently used by cyclists and longboarders
Amount of water recommended – 1 liter
Bathrooms – none
Seasons to hike – Late Spring, Summer, and Fall
Pets allowed – Yes
How to get there:
Take Interstate 15 and take the Orem 8oo North off ramp, (Exit 272) and then turn left, (east) onto 800 North. Follow it for 3.7 miles to the mouth of Provo Canyon and as the road splits, take the left curve to go up the canyon. Stay on this road (US 189) for 3.7 miles. You’ll see a sign for Bridal Veil Falls and you’ll turn right off of US 189. After you turn off the highway, you’ll see a parking lot off to the right. If you want to enjoy a walk of about 0.5 miles on a paved trail to reach the falls, park here. If you prefer to park closer to the falls, continue straight on this road, passing the first parking lot on your left. Follow the road for about 0.5 miles and you’ll find another parking area, which is only about 200 feet from the base of the falls. (See the Google Map for this hike at the end of this post)
Hitting the Trail!
As mentioned in the section above, there are two easy ways to get to the base of Bridal Veil Falls. One can park at the first parking lot and take a leisurely stroll up a mostly shaded, paved trail. The first half of the trail is lined with manicured grass and picnic tables, which makes this area a popular picnic destination from the spring through the fall. Along the way, you may see an old sealed up mine that is just off the trail. After just a relaxing 10-15 minute walk, you’ll arrive at the base of Bridal Veil Falls.
The other option is to drive to the second parking area, where a footbridge crosses over the Provo River and takes you to the paved trail with the base of Bridal Veil Falls only one hundred feet away. Be aware that the paved trail is used by walkers, runners, longboarders, and cyclists. The trail is marked so that pedestrians use one side while bikes, boarders, etc, use the other side. Near the base of the falls, cyclists must walk their bikes past this spot due to the heavy foot traffic. At the base of Bridal Veil Falls, there is a man-made pool that is stocked with about 200 rainbow trout. While you cannot fish here, there are small vending machines that have fish pellets to feed the trout. It is only $0.25 cents for 25 or 30 pellets, and the kids absolutely love this! This shallow pool is stocked from the spring through the fall. As winter approaches the trout are removed because they will not survive the harsh conditions near the falls.
There is a moderate trail to the left of the falls with a couple of switchbacks that take you to the bottom tier of Bridal Veil Falls. Some visitors prefer to scramble up the waterfall runoff up to this spot as well, or you can stay and enjoy the views from the bottom. If you decide to take the trail, stay on it and do not attempt to hike higher than the bottom of the lower tier.
Avalanches are fairly common during the winter around Bridal Veil Falls, and while most are small, there have have some mammoth ones. A couple were so large that they crossed the Provo River and reached the parking area across the river in front of the falls.
Here is your history lesson for the day! In January/February 1996, after a large accumulation of snow over a two week period, a massive avalanche roared down from the top of Bridal Falls and destroyed an aerial tram station which had a tram that went from the bottom of the falls up to a restaurant built near the top of the mountain on the edge of a cliff. This avalanche, which experts say was only 30% entire avalanche, as it also triggered avalanches on the backside of Bridal Veil Falls was the largest they’d ever seen in Provo Canyon. The avalanche spanned US-189 the highway, that goes up the canyon, and spilled nearly 600 feet past US-189 to the north. The highway, at that time was a two lane country road, and it was closed for over 7 months as avalanche debris and snow still covered the road. This was the second avalanche to destroy the tram station, and repairs were never made. For several years after, the cable still went from the remains of the tram building to the restaurant, until it was finally cut in August 2008.
The restaurant was called the Eagle’s Nest Lodge. The lodge first opened in 1961, and featured a four person tram ride up to the restaurant. It was called the steepest tram ascent in the world, and is perched 1228 feet above the canyon floor. Business at the Eagle’s Nest was inconsistent due to the weather and the dizzying heights required to reach it. Owners then decided to use it solely as a place for receptions and reunions, until the tram station was destroyed in the 1996 avalanche. On July 25th, 2008, a man-made fire completely destroyed the Eagle’s Nest Lodge. Only a charred frame and rusted metal beams remain. After the 1996 avalanche, the there were hope of reopening the restaurant in the future, until the fire in 2008 extinguished any hope of renovating and reopening the Eagle’s Nest Lodge.
A trip to Bridal Veil Falls is a wonderful way to enjoy an afternoon whether you are just passing through, or live nearby, and it’s a place the kids are sure to love!
What should you bring?
Some of my favorite hiking gear:
Enjoy the hike!