Moss Ledge Waterfall is not for everyone. At only around a half mile round trip, it might seem like the perfect place to start, but it is the most dangerous waterfall on our list. We visited in the Spring, and with the high runoff we probably shouldn’t have attempted it. For this reason, we recommend that only experienced, agile hikers that are over twelve years old attempt this hike.
- Distance: 0.4 mile RT
- Rating: Difficult due to rock scrambling and hiking up water
- Elevation Gain: 308 ft.
- Dog Friendly: no
The reason that Moss Ledge Waterfall is dangerous is that it requires you to hike directly up a slippery cascade. Rocks are loose and wet, footing is unsure, and the trail is ill-defined. But if you’re a good scrambler, sure on your feet, and don’t mind getting a little wet on steep trails, the reward is a beautiful double waterfall.
Moss Ledge Waterfall is located in Big Cottonwood Canyon just above the S-curve. If you drive 5.7 miles from the intersection at the bottom of the canyon, you’ll come to a large pullout on the left side of the road. Flip the car around, and the trail will start straight up the steep embankment. You’ll only have to climb about 50 yards before you see the cascade come into view. This is far enough for most people. If it looks dicey, turn around and head back to the car!
If you’d like to go all the way to the waterfall, start up the cascade. We found the right side to be the best route, but remember, going up is always easier than coming down. Stop and consider before you continue.
At the top of the cascade, you will need to cross to the left side to continue up the mountainside. Keep following the stream uphill. You have to cross back and forth a few times to find the best trail. We crossed back to the right side near a large boulder and found a section of stairs. Then we crossed across a waterlogged log to the left side to finish up to the waterfall.
Moss Ledge Trail is very short. You come to the waterfall after barely a quarter of a mile. But that quarter mile is scrambling, climbing, and bushwhacking your way uphill. We had little scrapes all along our arms and legs. It took us a little over an hour to do the roundtrip hike.
We have a hard time recommending this hike for anyone. It may be better later in the year when the water flow is lower and there are more dry rocks. We are going to check it out in late summer to see and will update the post. Even then, coming down will always be tricky along the water. If you do hike Moss Ledge Waterfall, be careful!
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