Stewart Falls Hike
Rating: easy to moderate
Distance: approx. 3.5 miles out and back
Elevation gain: 839 feet
Estimate hiking time: 1.5-3 hours
If you're looking for a short, scenic, relatively easy outing the whole family can enjoy than the hike to Stewart Falls should be on the top of your list. This three- to five-mile, out-and-back trail is open year round, though the trail is best from early spring to mid fall. Our favorite time to hit this trail is in the fall because of the eye-popping foliage you'll find now in Provo Canyon.
The trailhead for Stewart Falls is located just two-and-half miles outside of Sundance Mountain Resort, next to the Aspen Grove Family Campground. Several hikes, including the Aspen Grove route up Mt. Timpanogos, begin here so make sure to look for the Stewart Cascades trail marker at the far end of the parking lot next to the bathrooms. This is a very popular destination so don't be surprised if you find the parking lot full or a lot of people on the trail, especially on weekends.
The route begins with a short, steeper section, but quickly mellows out and remains relatively level until you arrive at the falls; there's less than a 1,000 of elevation gain during the entire hike. Nearly all of the trail is wide, well-maintained, and shaded by vast groves of aspen trees, providing plenty of shade and chances to hear the wind whisper through the leaves. Occasionally, you'll pop out into more open areas where you get spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the tiny chairlift at the top of Sundance.
Eventually, the trail emerges from the forest and the falls become visible. Stop there or follow the trail down the ridge to the base of the falls. It's a lot chillier near the falls than the rest of the hike, especially in the shadow of the surrounding cliffs making layers essential, particularly if you choose to hang out near the falls for awhile. Stewart Falls is roughly 200 feet high, cascading down two tiers, and is one of the more photogenic falls in northern Utah. The base area is a great place to stop, hang out, and even have a picnic before you head back. Many hikers let their dogs run loose at the base so they can play in the stream of water running away from the falls.
While the hike is appropriate for all ages, there are a few narrower sections, some rocks, and the descent down the ridge to the base of the waterfall is moderately steep so anyone with small children should keep them in check. Stewart Falls is also very dog-friendly and you'll probably encounter a number of dogs off leash along the trail. If you do bring your pup, make sure they follow commands and that you clean up after them.
If you're looking to fuel up before, during, or after your hike, we suggest heading to the resort and hitting up the Sundance Deli. Their sandwiches are the ultimate hiking companion!