Mill Creek Trail Swimming Hole Hike Moab Utah

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.

Mill Creek Falls
The falls at Mill Creek

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

Mill Creek is a great way to beat the relentless summer heat that comes with hiking in Utah. 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. Dogs are allowed. No fee or permit is required to visit Mill Creek, so get out and enjoy.

Mill Creek Moab Utah
Mill Creek

Mill Creek Popularity: Mill Creek has become a highly (or overly) visited destination in the past decade. Trash, graffiti and other environmental impacts to the park and surrounding properties have increased as a result. New restrictions are enforced along Powerhouse Lane to address overflow parking and curtail visitors (parking may not be available when you arrive to hike). Take efforts to reduce the impact of your visit and help remove trash. Additional actions to restore the area can be made with Mill Creek Partnership.

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. Park in the public lot and not where prohibited along Powerhouse Lane or on private property.

Trailhead address: Powerhouse Lane, Moab, UT 84532
Trailhead coordinates: 38.5619, -109.5169 (38° 33′ 42.8″N 109° 31′ 00.8″W)

Elevation Profile
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Trail Map

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These photos were taken in June of 2010. Click to enlarge.
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Tagged with · Bureau of Land Management · Cliff Jumping · Creeks · Moab · Water Slides · Waterfalls
Distance: 0.5 miles · Elevation change: 50 feet

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15 Comments on Mill Creek in Moab, Utah

  1. Tiana Buschmann wrote:

    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)

    • Brandon wrote:

      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. Brandon wrote:

    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!

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

  4. Megan wrote:

    We absolutely loved this hike! I took my family all the way to the falls and swimming hole. I have 4 kids from age 1-9. We all made the 2 mile hike without any problems. We do hike quite a bit. My kids liked crossing the creek and finding the petroglyphs Thanks for sharing this information. Find out more about the hike and our experience at

  5. […] Moab residents, we have the privilege of having dog-friendly hikes like Hunter Canyon and the Mill Creek Trail almost in our backyards. These places are full of wonder and adventure, and I couldn’t be happier […]

  6. Rene wrote:

    Today (10-1-16) lost a backup in the parking lot of this trail. Anyone know where (website) I make a post to ask for help if someone found it?


  7. Danny wrote:

    For years, the community has tried to keep “Left Hand” from becoming known to so many tourists, due to the environmental impact. Perhaps just keeping it to themselves would be a slightly more appropriate way to say that… I put it to the test many years ago and asked an agent behind the counter at the visitors center… She shook her head and said: “I have never heard of Left Hand”! Perhaps she was new. Either way, it is a wonderful oasis and a short hike!

  8. Jud wrote:

    I love this hike! Check out the video we made of our experience in Moab!

  9. […] 1. Mill Creek Falls/swimming or “watering hole” […]

  10. […] This trail begins just right outside of town […]

  11. Emma wrote:

    This place has become gross. I highly recommend skipping the area.

    Emma's ratings for this hike: Emma gives a rating of 1Emma gives a rating of 1Emma gives a rating of 1Emma gives a rating of 1Emma gives a rating of 1
  12. […] Fun Detours The Moab Rock Shop and Mill Creek swimming hole. […]

  13. […] but what about those blistering afternoons? Well because of the waterfalls and swimming holes on Mill Creek Falls Trail, this is a great option to still get some hiking in and take a dip in the cool, refreshing water […]

  14. Nicole wrote:

    Does anyone have recommendations for places to stay nearby this trail? I’m passing through and would love to experience a bit of Moab’s beauty, but need to stay near my route. Thank you :)