Mill Creek Moab

If you visit Arches or Canyonlands National Parks in the summer, you may be greeted by long days with temperatures in the triple digits. In those conditions, a simply swim in a cold creek can be as satisfying as any of those parks’ amazing landmarks. The Colorado River around Moab is swift and silty, so instead bathe in the refreshing waters of Mill Creek.

Mill Creek Trail heads deep into the Utah landscape southeast of Moab, but you only need to hike a quarter-mile to reach this fluvial refuge. Take the single track from the parking lot and head east parallel to Mill Creek, which has dug a fifteen-foot deep trench into the rocky plain. The level trail passes just to the right of a man-made waterfall at an old mill site. From here, the trail continues up along the creek, but if all you want is a refreshing dip, backtrack along the ledge for a few hundred feet until a path appears down the rocky bank. Once you descend to the creek, the hiking is over and it’s time to swim.

White Rim Overlook
The falls at Mill Creek

Mill Creek is shallow with relaxing pools and enough current to push you down a few rock water slides. If you make your way upstream, you may see a few daredevils cliff jumping into the pool at the base of the falls. The deep spot is quite narrow, making jumping not the greatest idea (unless you know a good doctor in Moab for broken legs).

White Rim Overlook
Mill Creek

Mill Creek is a great way to beat the relentless Utah summer heat. When you are ready to return to the 100-degree air, make a 180-degree turn, ascend the bank of the creek, and walk back to the parking lot. Mill Creek is located on BLM land. No fee or permit is required, so get out and enjoy.

To get to the trailhead: From downtown Moab, head south on Route 191. Make a left onto Sage Ave, followed by a quick right onto Holyoak Lane. Drive two blocks to Mill Creek Drive and make a left. Drive half a mile to Powerhouse Lane and turn right. Take this road for a third of a mile to the parking lot at road’s end.

Trailhead address: Powerhouse Lane, Moab, UT 84532
Trailhead coordinates: 38.561925, -109.517176 (38° 33′ 42.93″N 109° 31′ 01.83″W)

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Photos

Mill Creek MoabMill Creek MoabMill Creek MoabMill Creek Moab

These photos were taken in June of 2010. Click to enlarge.
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Distance: 0.5 miles – Elevation change: 50 feet

5 Comments on Mill Creek in Moab, Utah

  1. Tiana Buschmann says:

    When hiking up the trail, there is a “Y” where a creek runs from two directions, which way to do you go at the “Y”? (Never made it past there, because the kids were too tired)
    Thanks

    • Brandon says:

      If I remember correctly we went left. We had the same issue. Not sure where to go, but we kept following people’s voices, and eventually wound up at the falls where you can cliff jump.

  2. […] we started out hiking Mill Creek, which is just a few miles outside of Downtown Moab.  The trail gets plenty of action during the […]

  3. Brandon says:

    This is a really cool hike. My friend and I did this hike in July, during the heat of the day and it was amazing. You get to wade through the cool water which helps keep you from burning up. There are a lot of neat little places to explore. I had the courage to climb the falls and jump off the cliff into the pool. About 20′-30′ depending on where you jump from. The pool is only about 6′-7′ at its deepest so perfect execution is a must. There is soft mud at the base of the falls which helps absorb the impact. I jumped off twice, and the second time I felt my leg slide against a hidden rock that scared me pretty good. It was fun, but definitely not safe for your beginning cliff jumper. I would ask locals for advice before attempting this cliff!

  4. […] Click here for more information on the Left Hand Hike […]

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