Hiking Water Canyon - Canaan Mountain, Southern Utah

Water Canyon is a hidden gem of a hike located just outside of Hildale, UT. The trail is beautiful and interesting from start to finish with rock scrambling, sheer red cliffs, a shallow year-round creek, a waterfall canyon oasis, and stunning valley views.

At 4.25 miles out and back and 500ft of elevation gain, this hike makes for the perfect morning or afternoon adventure for outdoor lovers and adventurous families.


To get to the first section of the flowing waterfall canyon, the trail is 4.25 miles round trip. You can hike up the canyon further, but this is for advanced hikers only.


I have done this hike with kids plenty of times. It is a trail that can be tricky at times with uneven terrain and moderate elevations gain, but if you have lots of snacks, and patience, this is a fun one for little hikers.


Water Canyon is located just outside Hiledale Ut in the Canaan Mountain Wilderness south of Zion. This is a convenient hike if you are staying in Hurricane or Kanab on your trip to Southern Utah. It is a 55-minute drive west of Kanab and a 40-minute drive southeast of Hurricane. Click here for map & directions


I have hiked Water Canyon in the spring, summer, winter, and fall. Winter is a little more tricky because there could be snow and ice, but if you're lucky, the canyon walls will be covered in ice. It's quite a sight!

In the spring, you are more likely to get beautiful flowing waterfalls in the canyon due to all the spring runoff.

In the heat of the summer, this is a great trail because of the flowing stream is great for cooling off and there is plentiful shade. The canyon is lush and green, and oh so pretty!


After a bumpy 1-2 mile dirt road, you will come to designated parking and the start of the sandy trail. The path is well worn and, at times, splits off, but whatever route you take, it always comes back together.

This hike can be a little tricky for some due to all the rock scrambling that is required. As you venture up the canyon look up to your right to find an arch in the rocks.

Also, keep an eye out for narrow slots along the trail that only little kids can slide into. The wide-open canyon at the end of the hike has streams and waterfalls and is the perfect spot to rest, eat lunch, and explore. Return the way you came.

Scroll down for tips and additional info.

Two girls admiring the views while hiking Water Canyon outside of Hildale, UT
Two girls hiking a canyon at Water Canyon trail outside Hildale, Utah
Girl hiking a canyon along a stream at Water Canyon Trail outside Hildale, UT
Views from above while hiking Water Canyon Trail outside Hildale, Utah
Girl looking out at the views at Water Canyon Trail outside Hildale, UT

click here to check out my post | 3 Days In Southern Utah: A Perfect Family Winter Retreat Itinerary


  • No permits or fees are needed to hike this trail.

  • There is a vault bathroom at the trailhead.

  • No water fill stations so make sure to bring plenty of water.

  • Trailhead is located a few miles from a convenience store.


  • Hiking past the waterfall canyon is for advanced hikers only. The trail is unclear in many sections, and hikers can easily get disoriented and lost.

  • Water Canyon can get a bit crowded during holidays and peak season from May-September. During these times make sure to show up early to beat the crowds and get first dibs on parking

  • The last mile stretch of the road to Water Canyon is a bumpy and rough dirt road. Most vehicles can make the drive, but if it has recently rained, it would be best to take a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

  • There are no fees or permits need to do this hike.....yay!!!

  • Leashed dogs are permitted....yay!

  • In the summer, wear hiking sandals or good hiking shoes. The terrain is sandy and uneven. Hiking sandals will come in handy for playing in and hiking up the stream.

  • As always bring plenty of snacks, sunscreen, and water.

  • Practice Leave No Trace principals. Do not mark on the rocks and always pack it out!!!

Happy Hiking,



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