Cliff Creek Falls ¨ Cliff Creek Trail

Cliff CreekLength: 12. Miles round trip

Trail Number: #3137

Elevation Gain: 1,207 Feet

Beginning Elevation: 6,960 Feet

Ending Elevation: 8,000 Feet

Cliff Creek Trail #3137 to Cliff Falls is an easy 6-mile one-way trip on easy terrain that is a gradual climb to the falls. Heading out from the trailhead (elevation 6,960 feet) you cross Cliff Creek, turn up the meadow, and follow the trail through a series of meadows and clumps of forest.

fOn the left side of the lower part to Cliff Creek, there are some nice rock faces at the top to the hill that rock climbers would like that resembled the popular Rodeo Wall in Hoback Canyon.

Cliff Creek CliffsAfter a few miles the canyon starts to narrow and the mostly non descript slopes start sporting crowns of beautiful red ochre cliff faces that wouldnt be out of place in southern Utah, but are a pleasant surprise here in the Teton Region of Wyoming. The visual variety is distinctive the red rock cliffs add color and interest to the landscape. The Cliff Creek trail passes from forest through sagebrush/aspen hillsides, rock outcrops, groves of spruce, fir and lodgepole and dense willow bottoms on its journey to Cliff Creek Falls, with high mountains in the background.

Red Rock peaksCliff Creek must be crossed at least three times but the fords are not too deep or wide after spring runoff. The first creek crossing seems to be there so you can get a better look at the western front of the canyon crowns of red. Cliff Creek is a small creek but is home to cutthroat trout and is a spawning area for the Hoback and Snake River trout populations.

waterfall Cliff CreekThe first waterfall you see is a lesser one on a fork of Cliff Creek but when you see it look to the left, and the larger Cliff Creek Falls is on the larger fork of the Creek. The trail splits here, and trail #3137 goes to the left taking you a short distance to the falls and beyond. Upon reaching Cliff Falls (base elevation 8,000 feet) you are treated to a cascading waterfall that tumbles 68 feet down into a red rock basin. A spot right at the bottom is perfect for a morning shower for those who camp here. Cliff Creek Falls, although a low volume waterfall, is one of the prettiest waterfalls of the Wyoming Range. Not far away is another much smaller cascading waterfall from another tributary.

meadow Cliff Creek TrailHorseback riders be aware that this trail seems to be popular with mountain bikers, and mountain bikers be aware that horses are stupid, spooky, and dangerous animals so give them plenty of room.

For those who wish to travel farther up Cliff Creek Trail, a steep climb over the falls, along undulating hills dotted with clusters of fir and aspen, creeks and springs and a short way past the Cliff Creek Falls is Horse Heaven Meadows. Two miles past the falls is Cliff Creek Pass (elevation 9,000 feet) and another 4 miles brings you to Roosevelt Meadows, named for Teddy who once hunted elk there. From Roosevelt Meadows, you can head down Upper Hoback River Trail #131 back down to the Bondurant region, or you can take trail #1092 to the Little Greys River Trailhead or take #1092 to #1093 to Pickle Pass and drop down into Willow Creek which will take you to the Hoback area. This trail also accesses the 75 mile long Wyoming Range National Recreation Trail (WRNRT) and high alpine terrain. At Cliff Creek Pass you can also make a loop around horse Heaven Meadows on trail #3140 but dont miss your right turn back to Cliff Creek at the Willow Creek divide or you will end up in Hunter Creek, a Willow Creek Tributary. Due to the proliferation of trail junctions in this region it is recommended to pack a map with you.

horseback rider Cliff Creek Wyoming RangeThe alpine meadows of Cliff Creek region provide prolific wild flower displays in the summer months starting with the balsamroot in early June. Many high mountain meadows contain little grass, but many tall perennials such as cow parsnip, penstemon, lupine, monkshood, and western coneflower.

deer herdThe Wyoming Range is home to elk, moose, deer, bighorn sheep, black and grizzly bear, wolves, mountain lion and many other species. Grizzlies have been expanding their range south of Yellowstone and now are sometimes see in the Snake River, Gros Ventre and Wyoming Ranges. Although it is unlikely you will see one, always be prepared. When traveling here carry pepper spray or gun as I have encountered grizzlies west of here in the Palisades Wilderness Study Area, where there are not supposed to be any, so be prepared.

cliff creek horseback riderCliff Creek Trail ends at the Upper Hoback River Trail #131 about 1 1/4 miles south of Roosevelt Meadows. The Cliff Creek Trail is a well-designed and well-maintained trail. The trail usually is within sight or sound of Cliff Creek until you cross Cliff Creek Pass.

To get Cliff Creek trailhead from US Hwy. 191-189, four miles north of Bondurant turn west onto Forest Road # 30530. Coming from the north Forest Road # 30530 is the first right turn south of Granite Creek Road. Continue south to where the road turns sharply to the east and becomes Sandy Marshall road. To the right you will see the Cliff Creek trailhead sign. Cliff Creek Trailhead is at the south end of Forest Road #30530 Cliff Creek Road, at its junction with Forest road #30531 Sandy Marshall Creek. There is ample parking at the trailhead.

 

Cliff Creek Falls

Cliff Creek Trail map

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