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Amidst soaring midsummer temperatures, the hike to Mossy Cave offers a refreshing splash in the water and a breath of cool air for hikers of all ages in Bryce Canyon National Park. The shallow river is a popular play area for families, the waterfall is scenic below the hoodoos, and the small cave is an interesting finale.

Directions • From State Road 63, near Bryce Canyon City, take State Road 12 about 3.65 miles east to a small parking area on the southwest side of the road.

Hike • The trail takes you southwest along the Tropic Ditch, a waterway that has supplied water to the towns of Tropic and Cannonville since it was built in 1892. You will cross the waterway twice on bridges as the trail heads deeper into Water Canyon, offering views of hoodoos on the ridge and a nice collection of desert plants near the stream. By late March, pink manzanita buds were about to burst into bell-like blooms. You may see some improvised footpaths on the north slope; please avoid those to prevent erosion.

After the second bridge, the trail ascends to a fork. Go northwest for views of the waterfall upstream. The trail continues about .1 mile beyond an interpretive sign to the top of the waterfall, though I have seen that section closed periodically. Heed the signs.

Return to the fork and take the trail branch that heads south. This path bends around a sloping conifer grove and rises steeply to Mossy Cave, where the trail ends with a fenced overlook. In summer, enjoy the blast of chilly air from the cave. In winter, admire the columnar ice formations dripping from the cave's ceiling and rising from its floor.

Looking for some more trails to hike? Click here to go to our Utah trails database.

Digital map available at,-112.1121782,399m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!6m1!1s17Mq6rXXCVKJ-QTnX9pXMBfN5tsQ.

— Erin Alberty

Destination: Mossy Cave and waterfall

Hiking time • 1 hour

Round-trip miles • 1 mile

Elevation gain • 150 feet

Difficulty • Easy

Trail head restrooms • Yes

Dogs allowed • No

Bikes allowed • No

Fees • $30 per vehicle, $15 per individual on foot or bicycle

Looking for some more trails to hike? Click here to go to our Utah trails database.