A hiker admires Scout Falls in Utah

Scout Falls – A Great Utah Hike With An Amazing Payoff

When my daughter and I reached Scout Falls a few mornings ago, after a nice morning hike, we both concluded it might be our new favorite local hiking destination. She and I try to hike together every Monday during the summer, when my travels abroad take a break. Some weeks we make repeat visits to our favorite trails. Other weeks we’ll check out new ones. Scouts Falls was a new one for us together. Having grown up in nearby American Fork, I’d hiked to the Falls several times…40 or so years ago. But I’d forgotten how cool it really is. I’m glad we rediscovered it. I’m sure it’s now one of our summer regulars. Let me tell you all about Scout Falls.

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Getting to The Scout Falls Trailhead

The Scout Falls trailhead is located at the Timpooneke campground, up American Fork Canyon. You can reach it from Provo Canyon as well by crossing the Alpine Loop. Signs point the way. Once you are close, it’s hard to miss.

Sign directing drivers to Timpooneke Campground

As you follow the campground road, and after you pass a few camp sites, you’ll ultimately come to a parking area for the Timpooneke Trailhead. This is where you’ll park for the Scout Falls hike. It’s a sizable parking lot, and there are pit toilets and trail maps on site. We didn’t have any cellphone connection here or throughout the hike.

Parking lot at the Timpooneke Trailhead

Here’s where it may get a little confusing though. Scout Falls doesn’t have its own trailhead. Scout Falls is located along the Timpooneke Trail – the trail that goes to the top of Mount Timpanogos.

Shortly after you start hiking from the single trailhead at the parking lot, the trail splits in three. Each of the three new trails is marked with a sign post. The center trail is the one you want. If you look close in the photo below, underneath the Timpooneke sign, there is a second small sign on the post too. This sign says Scout Falls.

Go that way!

Sign post marking the beginning of the Timpooneke trailhead and Scout Falls trailhead

Payment and Timed Entry

Yes, you will have to pay if you want to hike to Scout Falls. And because the Timpooneke Trail is so popular, the US Forest Service has now implemented a Timed Ticket system for those wanting to access it during Weekend and Holiday mornings (from early July through mid October). A very prominent sign reminds you about this as you enter the parking lot.

Time Ticket reminder at the Timpooneke trailhead

You need to purchase these tickets online at Recreation.gov. They cost a total of $12. You then print a pdf copy of your ticket, bring it with you, and leave it displayed in your car while you hike. From what I’ve read, rangers are also usually present on weekend mornings to check for these reservations upon entry to the parking area. I presume that if you hike after 1:00pm on these days, you don’t need a reserved ticket (the government website isn’t clear on this.)

If you are hiking at other times of the week, a fee is required too. It’s easiest to pay this online ahead of time and take a printed copy for your dashboard. Here’s the link to purchase the Forest Site Pass for this particular area of the US Forest System.

You can also pay upon entry into American Fork Canyon – or on the other side near Sundance. You’ll come across a toll booth in each of those places, though it’s not manned all day (it was closed when we entered the canyon shortly after 8:00am.)

As a final alternative, you’ll find payment envelopes at the Trailhead. However, you’ll need exact cash or a check if using this method.

US Forest Service Fee envelope at the Timpooneke trailhead

The current fee is $10 for 3-day access and use of the canyon’s amenities. Or $20 for 7-day access.

Also, America the Beautiful Passes are accepted if you have one.

A Few Hike Stats

As I mentioned, in order to get to Scout Falls, you’ll follow the trail that also takes hikers to the top of Mount Timpanogos. The hike to the top is 7 miles. The hike to Scout Falls is 1.4 miles (2.8 miles out and back). AllTrails.com rates the hike to Scout Falls as moderate and indicates an 833 foot gain. Sometimes I disagree with AllTrails, but this time I agree that this is a moderate hike.

The Scout Falls trail is dog friendly. Though my daughter told me she would have been nervous with her own dog at the Falls themselves (steep and slippery).

I would also consider the hike family friendly…with this caveat. I think it may be too difficult for very young kids walking on their own. And I would also be nervous with younger kids directly underneath the Falls.

On the Trail

As you ascend to the Falls along the Timpooneke trail, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the beautiful Wasatch National Forest. You’ll also catch occasional views up to Mount Timpanogos and its associated peaks.

You’ll be hiking through groves of aspen and of pine….

A hiker in a grove of aspens on the way to Scout Falls in Utah

A hiker walking on a trail through pine trees on the way to Scout Falls in Utah

Plus you’ll spend a lot of the hike walking along a ridge above a beautiful mountain meadow…

Ascending the trail to Scout Falls along the Timpooneke trail

And from your vantage point above, you’ll continuously catch great views of that meadow below, with a ribbon of stream running through it….a stream fed by Scout Falls.

Looking down from the Timpooneke Trail to a meadow below on the way to Scout Falls

The trail ascends moderately through most of its length without many flat spots. Just before you get to the Falls, you’ll find the most challenging (though brief) climb of the hike. Up through the stacked roots of several pines. Harder going down it though.

A hiker climbs through tree roots on the trail on the Timpooneke Trail near Scout Falls

Falling Water Along the Way

One of the other great things about this hike to Scout Falls, is that it’s not just about the Payoff Waterfall at the end. You’ll come across – and literally walk across – several other smaller Falls along the way.

A hiker crosses a small waterfall on the Timpooneke Trail

A hiker crosses over a small waterfall with downed trees on the trail to Scout Falls in Utah

Including this patch of flowing water you see me negotiating in the photo below. It actually flows down the trail itself for at least 30 feet (whether this is the case later in the season when there is less runoff, I’m not sure).

A hiker carefully walks along rocks surrounded by flowing water on the Timpooneke Trail near Scout Falls

Here’s a couple things to keep in mind about these spots. All the rocks you use to get across, while generally pretty flat, can be slippery….so be careful. And you might want to consider using your waterproof hiking shoes if you have them. (I didn’t wear mine, and did not get significantly wet. But I also never slipped off.)

Each of these smaller falls are beautiful in their own right, and add to the overall greatness of this hike.

A small waterfall on the Timpooneke Trail in Utah

A waterfall trailside on the Timpooneke Trail

Don’t Get Lost at the Fork

We did come across one point of unmarked confusion on the trail that you should be aware of. Shortly after you cross over the second mid-hike waterfall, you’ll come to a fork in the trail. You want to stay to the right here. If you look close in the photo below, the left fork is blocked by several small logs. We presumed they were placed there on purpose, and we didn’t go that way.

A fork in the trail on the way to Scout Falls

We did check it out on our way down though. The trail takes you to a vantage point well below Scout Falls (along with what appears to be an alternative, though steeper, way up). And this vantage point doesn’t even come close to matching the beauty you’ll find at the Falls by staying right at the fork. Plus you’d miss the very best of the mid-hike waterfalls too, which are a little further up.

Scout Falls

Once you arrive at and climb the “root stairs” I showed you earlier, you’ll see a spot where you can step off the Timpooneke Trail and view the Falls. This is that better vantage point I just referred to.

A hiker admires Scout Falls in Utah

What you can’t see in the photo above is that there are actually a series of three different Falls spilling over the circular rocky ledge.

And even better, you can walk over and explore two of them up close and personal.

A hiker approaches Scout Falls in Utah

And even better than that, you can walk behind the first one…

A hiker carefully walks underneath Utah's Scout Falls

I mean, who doesn’t love walking behind a waterfall! (I looked for treasure….no joy!)

A hiker stands underneath Scout Falls in Utah

You’ll want to carefully watch your step here. It is slippery, but also pretty flat.

Once underneath, you can look up and see this above you…

Looking up while standing underneath Scout Falls in Utah

And you can look down, and see this below you….

A look out across the valley below Scout Falls in Utah

Keep on Going

And if that’s not spectacular enough, then keep carefully working your way along the slippery ledge over to the second waterfall. We arrived just as the sun was peaking over the adjacent mountain for some additional ambiance. And in this photo you can see the third waterfall in the distance. All the green and all the falling water reminded us more of Hawaii than of Utah.

The second waterfall at Scout Falls in Utah

And while you can’t stand behind this waterfall, you can carefully get in pretty close….

A hiker stands next to the second waterfall at Scout Falls in Utah

(Though as I mentioned earlier, I would be nervous here with young kids due to the slippery slope. And my daughter would have been nervous with her dog for the same reason.)

One of the other great things about this Waterfall Moment for us was that we almost had Scout Falls to ourselves. We shared it with only one other hiker. I’m sure that the Monday morning hiking helped, but the Timpooneke Trail was still fairly busy nonetheless. It seemed to me that most hikers were heading up to the top of the mountain, and only briefly stopping to take in the view of the Falls on their way up.

Final Thoughts

I’m really glad that I rediscovered Scout Falls after an unintentional 40 year break. Had I remembered the beauty of those three cascading falls over that rocky ledge…plus the close-up access…and the view…I would have returned long ago.

You should get up there and check it out for yourself.

If you would like to learn about a very popular waterfall hike not far from Scout Falls – on the other side of the Alpine Loop – then check out my post called The Beautiful Stewart Falls Hike at Sundance Utah

If you would like to learn about some of the other hikes my daughter and I love around northern Utah, then check out these posts:

Two Popular Alta Utah Hikes – Albion Meadows and Cecret Lake

Hiking at Brighton Utah – Silver Lake, Twin Lakes, & Lake Solitude

The Snowbird Tram in Summer – Utah Mountain Hiking at 11000 Ft

The Bear Canyon Suspension Bridge – My Favorite Local Hike


  1. Hands down my favorite hike. The hike up to the falls is beautiful with many water features along the way to keep you entertained. Once you get to the falls it feels like you’ve been transported to a destination in Hawaii. In my opinion this hike is very underrated and “slept on”. It’s far less busy than Stewart Falls making it more enjoyable along the way.

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