Sunday, July 2, 2017

Bells Canyon, Utah

Bells Canyon (background) as seen from Lower Bells Canyon Reservoir.  June 2015.

           Bells Canyon is a ~5mi long canyon just south of Little Cottonwood Canyon that begins high in the Wasatch Mountains and ends in the Salt Lake suburb of Sandy.  The canyon drops over 2000ft during its run and includes two lakes and two very impressive waterfalls.  As of July 2017 I have only been to the lower reservoir and waterfall - I have, however, accessed the canyon from both major trailheads.

The Granite Spring Trailhead
           This trailhead begins immediately off the road leading into Little Cottonwood Canyon at 40°34'18.32"N 111°47'49.18"W.  The trail switch backs up over a small ridge, around a valley, and up over another ridge before emerging at Lower Bells Canyon Reservoir at 40°34'0.13"N 111°47'44.55"W.  Of the two, I like this trailhead the most.

The Wasatch Boulevard Trailhead
     This trailhead begins at 40°33'54.80"N 111°48'13.10"W.  It winds up through some houses and over boulders to Lower Bells Canyon Reservoir at 40°33'54.99"N 111°47'48.30"W.  

Bells Canyon Creek below the lower falls.  June 2015.

Lower Bells Canyon Reservoir
     From Lower Bells Canyon Reservoir one gets an impressive view up Bells Canyon.  Taking off up the trail leads one through some open meadows, one of which has a view of Lower Bells Canyon Falls, still about a mile away and over 800 vertical feet above.  The trail winds its way around and along Bells Canyon Creek, both times during my visit the creek was high, loud, and cold.  A cold breeze roars down with the stream.  The final few hundred feet climbs just as much over rocks and boulders.  A turn off to the left leads a hundred feet or so to Lower Bells Canyon Falls.

Lower Bells Canyon Falls, July 2017

Lower Bells Canyon Falls
     This impressive 60ft waterfall is often a surprise when one walks up to it, the hillside does a great job at hiding the blast of wind, noise, and spray from this cataract.  Both of my visits have been in times of high water.  And from the main viewpoint talking can be difficult.  The waterfall is located at 40°33'39.91"N 111°46'13.16"W.  Be careful climbing above it, the swift current has pulled many hikers to their deaths.  

Upper Bells Canyon Falls and Reservoir
     I have never gone beyond the Lower Falls, but the Upper Falls is located at 40°33'29.72"N 111°45'39.77"W and the Reservoir at 40°32'24.41"N 111°44'56.29"W.

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