Stewart Falls


Stewart Falls Hike Details

Distance – 3.6 miles roundtrip
Approximate hiking time – 1.5 hours to 3 hours
Elevation at trailhead – 6889 feet
Elevation at highest point – 7199 feet
Elevation gain – 310 feet
Difficulty – Easy, the first mile is shaded; partial shade for the second mile
Trail – well maintained trail of dirt, some gravel and rock. Horses also use this trail on occasion so watch for treats left behind by the horses
Amount of water recommended – 2 liters
Bathrooms – At the trailhead
Seasons to hike – Late Spring, Summer, and Fall
Permits needed – $6 fee paid at ranger booth, unless you have a National Parks Pass, then it’s free.
Pets allowed – Yes

How to get there:

Take Interstate 15 to the Orem 8oo North off ramp (Exit 272) and then turn 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 7 miles. You will go through a short tunnel. Take the left a quarter of a mile after the tunnel. The road is UT 92, and you will follow this narrow road past the Sundance Ski Resort and past Aspen Grove, You will come to a ranger fee station at 4.6 miles from the turn off from US 189. There is a parking lot on the left just past the ranger fee station, park here.

(I created a Google Map for this hike at the bottom of this post)

Stewart Falls

Look for this sign for Stewart Falls

Hitting the Trail!

Once at the parking lot you will proceed past the bathrooms along a well established trail. There are several trails near the parking lot, so look for the sign that reads “Stewart Cascades.”  Take that trail and follow it for about 100 yards where it takes a sharp left into some pine trees. There is a trail that also goes straight, but that is the Aspen Grove trail to Mount Timpanogos.

The trail to Stewart Falls is very busy on the weekends, especially Saturdays. If you’re looking for some solitude, this may not be the hike for you, unless you go mid-week. On a recent visit to Stewart Falls, hiking back to the trailhead, we met over 70 people going up to the falls. Stewart Falls is a great hike for children. It’s not too long, nor is it very steep, and the trail is shaded for about half the hike.

Stewart Falls

A beautiful, shady part at the beginning of the hike to Stewart Falls

Stewart Falls

Who said Utah was just a desert? Lush vegetation grows along the Stewart Falls trail













Your hike starts by slowly ascending on a well-traveled trail through a forest of tall pine trees which offer shade throughout the day. Many times squirrels and chipmunks can be seen darting across the trail or heard chattering high in the trees. As you leave the pine trees the trail will turn south and you’ll see a round concrete covered water tank just to the left of the trail that stores water for Aspen Grove.

Stewart Falls

Great views along the trail

Once past the water tank you’ll follow the well-maintained trail through a mixture of pine and aspen trees.  Eventually, the pine will give way completely to numerous stands of aspen. Along the way ferns grow along the trail below the aspens. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of stinging nettle along the trail. You’ll come to a clearing and the left side of the trail is choked with stinging nettle. A hike through here in the fall is amazing with the aspen leaves blazing bright gold colors. Along the way, you can see signs of avalanches that have swept through the area years before. The trail to Stewart Falls slowly gains elevations until it tops out at a clearing at about one mile into the hike.  Then the trail descends gradually until it reaches Stewart Falls.

As the trail passes over some loose rock, called scree, you will begin to hear Stewart Falls. The falls will come into view shortly after that. The trail on this last part of the hike is mostly rocky.  It is not as well-marked and is steep in a couple of places.  This is where you will want to keep an eye on small children.  At the end of the trail there is a rock outcropping that most people stand on to take pictures.  It is a good vantage point to see both tiers of Stewart Falls. To the left of the rock outcropping, a trail leads down to the stream that comes from Stewart Falls. From there you can walk up to the lower tier of the falls.

Stewart Falls

Stewart Falls as seen from the outcropping during a visit in May

Depending on the time of year the amount and flow of water going over the falls will vary. One year in June there was still an ice bridge that went over the stream from Stewart Falls. Other times the falls don’t have much water. We have never seen nor heard of Stewart Falls ever drying up, so feel confident that there will always be some water to cool off with.

The stream under the falls is shallow and slow-moving during most of the hiking season. It is generally safe for children that want to play in the water as long as you keep an eye on them. It is usually about 20 feet wide, and is frequently filled with fallen logs that have been left after an avalanche. Many hikers feel the need to climb up water falls. We do not recommend trying it as a fall could result in serious injury.

Stewart Falls

Don’t go this way down to the falls!

Between the rock outcropping and the falls is a steep slope of scree.  It almost looks like the trail goes down that way, but it doesn’t. The first time the author hiked to Stewart Falls, he went down this way thinking that it was the trail. It was not. He still has a couple of scars to prove it.

Stewart Falls is a scenic two tiered waterfall, that faces east, so it is best photographed in the afternoon.  If the sun is directly above the waterfall, you could have haze and sun spots in your pictures.

Stewart Falls

During the Summer, the water flow diminishes greatly compared to Spring

After enjoying a snack at the base of the Stewart Falls, and plenty of picturing taking, just return the way you came. You may notice a trail that goes downstream alongside the runoff from the falls. This trail will take you down to Sundance Resort.  Most of the people who take that trail hike up to the Falls from Sundance.

Stewart Falls

Looking downstream from Stewart Falls

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About Author

Adam is an experienced hiker and canyoneer, who has visited some of the most breathtaking and remote places in the United States. As an instructor for Desert and Wilderness Survival, and for Leave No Trace camping practices, he shares his passion and respect for the outdoors to all. Adam is currently a Scoutmaster in the Boy Scout of America, and is an Eagle Scout. As the founder of, his goal is to educate others on the joys of hiking.


    • Depending on the weather, Stewart Falls can have snow on the trail until mid May or later. Even though it has been a mild winter, I would wait until mid April to check out the trail. You may want to contact the US Forest Services Ranger Station in Pleasant Grove. Their phone number is 801-785-3563. The should have updated info on the trails.

  1. We hiked Stewart Falls in Mid April this year. There was some ice and mud on the trail right at the beginning of the trail where it cuts back and starts to climb. It only persisted for about 30 feet or so and other than that the trail was dry and in great shape. The water flow seems a little low this year, but overall this is a fantastic hike. Great site Adam! You do a fantastic job.

    • Thank you for the information on the condition of the trail, much appreciated! Glad you like the site. Happy trails!

  2. Pingback: 10 Family Friendly Hikes in Utah - Your Hike Guide

  3. Thank you for this great site with info, tips, photos, and maps! Love it. We enjoyed Stewart Falls today!

    • You’re very welcome! Thank you for visiting! If you have any other hiking questions, just let me know, I’ll be happy to answer them. Have a great day!

    • Excellent! Thank you so much for you message, Irene. That makes us happy to hear that you had a great hike! Happy Trails in the future!

  4. We hiked this yesterday. Started at the Aspen Grove trailhead. It was 5 miles round trip, not 3.5! It was very difficult for me and had I known it was 5 miles I would not have done it. I wouldn’t classify it as an easy hike, but rather a moderate one.

    • Emily,

      I’m sorry to hear that it came out at 5.0 miles for you and that it was not as easy as you thought. I’ve done this hike dozens of times, and depending on how far downstream of the waterfall I go, I always get 3.6 to 3.9 roundtrip on my GPS. If you look at all the websites and in all the books for the Stewart Falls hike, every single one has the hike distance as 3.5-3.8 miles roundtrip. My 68 year old Dad did this as his very first hike and besides the gentle incline at the beginning of the hike and the incline as you head back from Stewart Falls, everything else was flat and easy for him. I’m sorry to hear that it was difficult for you, but I’m glad you did it! If I may ask, how did you measure the 5.0 miles? With a GPS? If so, the only think I can think of is that you’ll want to make sure that you calibrate the GPS before each hike, as it can skew the information. Some GPS units, and mine has done this before, kept counting mileage even if I was standing still. During one hike it said I had hiked 28 miles, when I had only hiked 21. Hope that helps, and happy trails!

  5. You “still [have] a couple of scars to prove” you went up that slope? Lucky! This summer someone fractured his femur falling down that slope. It’s a reliable source of injuries. People are best off staying on the established trail.

    • That’s awful that someone broke there femur there. It’s a very steep slope! I can imagine that was a long and uncomfortable extraction for all involved. Be safe on the trails.