where, when, and what to find

Kolob Creek Waterfall

posted by Tim Avery at
on Friday, March 27, 2015 

Kolob Creek Waterfall from Google Street View

The Kolob Creek Waterfall location is on the Kolob Terrace just south of Kolob Reservoir, slightly north of Lava Point, and amid some of the best high elevation scenery in Washington County.  To the north of the road here, Kolob Creek meanders through open meadows dotted with willows, before going under the road and plunging, rolling, and spilling through the gorge to the south.  From the road, the falls make there was several hundred feet down before disappearing out of site in the canyon and forest below.  There are 2 dirt parking areas one directly looking down on the falls, and another 150' west looking back at the falls.  The cliff habitat below is dotted with small aspen, and some mixed oak woodlands.  Coniferous forest with some aspen lines both sides of the gorge heading south, and a thick ponderosa forest can be seen to the south leading to Lava Point.  The land around this area is all private, but the parking areas and roads are open to the public.

The first time I drove up to Kolob Terrace, I was drawn to the waterfall. It isn't a spectacular waterfall, but the area is beautiful.  The view to the south is incredible, and for birding you have wide open views of various habitats in every direction.  At one point this was the go to spot for CALIFORNIA CONDOR, with the birds often perching in the trees below the falls, and on the cliffs and trees on either side.  Now they are mostly seen high in the sky riding the thermals here.  Encounters on the cliffs seem to be limited lately, but it still can happen.  The same currents that bring the condors also bring lots of other birds of prey.  TURKEY VULTURE are common during the summer months and keep a close eye on them and you might find a ZONE-TAILED HAWK.  Although this species also seems to have recently become more scarce here, for some time this was also the go to place to find this bird in Utah.  Other really good raptors seen here include NORTHERN GOSHAWK and PEREGRINE FALCON.  Not surprisingly WHITE-THROATED SWIFTS and VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS are usually seen soaring out over the gorge or overhead.  If you take some time to scan the falls below you might just pick up an AMERICAN DIPPER.  The habitat along the creek here is ideal for MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER as well as GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE.  Across the road to the north in the pastures you will likely see both MOUNTAIN and WESTERN BLUEBIRDS.  The willows here are a good spot to check for DUSKY FLYCATCHER and YELLOW WARBLER.  From time to time ACORN WOODPECKER is spotted here but is far more likely in the sub divison to the northwest and further north along the road near the reservoir.

From I-15 north of La Verkin, take exit 27 southeast toward La Verkin on Route 17.  From I-15 south of Hurricane, take exit 16 onto SR-9 East bound and follow to La Verkin. From La Verkin, take SR-9 east about 6 miles into Virgin and look for Kolob Terrace Road on your left as you get towards the end of town. Turn left onto Kolob Terrace Road and follow it 21.5 miles till you reach the falls pull off on your right.

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