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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.
Digital map available at https://email@example.com,-112.1121782,399m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!6m1!1s17Mq6rXXCVKJ-QTnX9pXMBfN5tsQ.
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