Layton Utah – Northern Utah
40 ft waterfall, beautiful valley and mountain views
About 3.5 miles round trip.
6200 ft (to waterfall)
2 1/2+ hours round trip
Allowed on leash
Bring 2 liters of water. Adams creek runs through the entire hike and there are also many other side streams.
spring or fall – summer is hot but still doable.
Open year round
The first mile or so you will have little to no shade. Once you get in the canyon there is lots of shade.
Very clear dirt path. Switchbacks at the very beginning.
Brings snacks or meals
Backpack for food and water, hat, sunglasses
Trailhead: 41° 3.978’N, 111° 54.591’W
Main Camping Area: 41° 4.139’N, 111° 53.515’W
Adams Canyon Waterfall: 41° 4.042’N, 111° 53.114’W
From Highway 89 in Layton turn east on Eastside Dr. Then turn right again (now heading south) and drive .4 miles until you come to a large rocky parking spot on your left. This is where the trail begins.
This hike is very popular so expect to see lots of other hikers. You will be enveloped in trees and bushes once you get inside the canyon. The trail winds around and eventually meets up with a 40ft cascading waterfall at the end. The trail is steep in some places but it overall gradually climbs up to the waterfall.
Adams Canyon is an excellent hike for families with children and they will love coming back here many times in the future too.
Starting next to the parking lot you will notice that there are switchbacks at the very beginning of hiking Adams Canyon. You will gain nearly 500 ft in the first half mile. In warmer months this area is obviously really hot as there is virtually no shade during this part.
On a recent visit I found this stone on the trail marking Elias Adams – for whom the canyon is named.
Once you get out of the switch backs you will still be climbing towards the canyon and eventually meet up with the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. The trail might seem confusing but if you stay on the trail that leads to the canyon directly to your right hand side you will be on the right path.
There is a short waterfall near here if you are interested in seeing that please see below for the Side Trek “Lower Waterfall”.
The path curves around the side of the mountain and you begin to enter into the canyon. The trail from here on out will be surrounded by trees and bushes as you make your way to the waterfall. Right as you get into the canyon area the trail will split in two. The right trail meets up with another trail which leads across a short bridge (which you can see from the main Adams Canyon Trail) and takes you back to the East Mountain Wilderness Park in Kaysville. Stay on the left trail.
The trail is easy to follow as it is well traversed. The trail follows the creek all the way up to the waterfall so if for some reason you get lost just remember to follow the creek.
Keep your eye open for flat open areas because these are generally available for camping.
This area is really pretty in the fall and it is my preferred time to visit.
You will eventually come to a flat area where the trail opens up into a good camping location. It is big enough to feature several tents and there is even a firepit.
From this point the trail begins back up in the South end of the camping area and then turns back to the East direction to climb up another hill.
You will pass a very large white pine tree that sits just to the right of the trail, this means you are getting close to crossing the river.
You will soon come to a wooden bridge that crosses the river and you will cross the bridge and stay on this side until you cross back over at the end next to the waterfall.
Before you come to the waterfall you will need to scramble on a few rocky areas or take the long route over the rocks and bypass the this ledge (below). It isn’t that bad as I have seen children and pet dogs cross this area on their own but please always use caution and common sense as you hike along.
You will pass several little waterfalls which means you are getting really close to Adams waterfall. Keep travelling up the mountain until the trail seems to come to an end at the river.
When you come to this point you have reached the end of the hike. Look for solid rocks along the creek and cross to the other side which will reveal an impressive view of Adams Waterfall. If you are hiking in the summer time it feels good to cool off under the spray of the waterfall.
It is possible to hike above the waterfall but the trail is almost non-existent and is difficult to travel up. There isn’t too much to see past the waterfall anyway.
I hiked above the waterfall and got these photos looking up and down the creek.
Race to Adams Waterfall Challenge:
Can you beat my time?
Challenge: The challenge is to hike from the Adams Canyon parking lot up to the waterfall and beat my time.
Time: 36 minutes and 49.9 seconds
Get back on the trail and hike back down to the bottom. Just follow the same trail.
I have hiked and camped in Adams Canyon many times and it is a family favorite. I love hiking this canyon in the fall while the leaves are changing and the temperatures are cooler. This is also a great hike for children as there are many areas where children can climb on rocks and explore.