Lower Calf Creek Falls has some interesting photographic elements that stand out compared to other attractions in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Hiking from the parking lot to the falls is a rather easy and very enjoyable walk that will also be of interest for other non-photography interested family members and friends joining the party. The falls are not a place were you have to be at very specific time of the day such as sunrise or sunset which will again give some additional interest for the non-photographers. At the end of the hike you will be in front of a water pool with a refreshingly cold temperature and a very nice fresh breeze which will cool you off. The pool can be a quite interesting attraction for kids that wish to jump into the water and have some fun while you concentrate in taking your shots.
Getting to Lower Calf Creek Falls:
The Lower Calf Creek Falls are between the towns of Escalante and Boulder. The distance from Escalante are 16 miles along Highway 12 direction east. The entrance to the parking lot is to the left. From Boulder you will drive 12 miles along Highway 12 towards south and turn right into the parking lot. At the end of the parking lot is a campground which should not be entered with the car unless you are staying there overnight. There is a hiking fee of $5 to be payed. At the same place you will also find a nice brochure to take with you during the hike which will highlight certain points of attraction along the way.
The hike is a 5.6 miles round trip. The mostly flat and sandy path will lead you along the west side of the Escalante River. The canyon will start to get narrow to the end until you finally will find yourself in a small forest with the falls sliding down the sandstone.
Any lens can be used here. A wide-angle provides the overview of the entire scene. A mid lens allows to compose scenes with surrounding trees and a telephoto lens can give you interesting abstract images by isolating the colors of the stone and the falling water.
You certainly will need a tripod with you as the area is somewhat dark and I believe that you want to have some long exposures to give the falling water a silky pattern. Including trees and branches in such images will be a real challenge as there is a constant breeze that moves the leaves and branches intermittently.
The best time to be there is in the morning or afternoon. During noon the sun lits up the canyon walls and the falls and the colors get less shiny and less saturated.
Last update: June 28, 2010