A hike to a waterfall in town? Are you serious? Before the rise of social media this hike would have been considered one of Moab's best kept secret. Well now the secret is out and this has become a very popular trail though nothing compared to some of the trails in Arches National Park. However you can still have the trail to yourself if you are willing to get an early start.
Your kids will love exploring all of the unique rock shapes that boarder the trail.
Left fork is the best family hike in Moab in my opinion. The trail starts right in town so there is no long car ride to worry about. The trail is relatively flat and the only real challenge is keeping your feet dry. On hot summer days you may choose to simply walk in the creek.
The adventure starts just a few hundred yards after leaving the parking area when you will encounter the old Moab power station and dam.
At about the halfway point of this hike the creek forks in half, to reach the waterfall follow the stream to the left. Depending on the depth of the creek at the time of your visit you will run the risk of getting your feet wet here. Plan ahead and wear shoes you don't mind getting wet.
Just after the crossing the creek the trail continues up stream but if you go up on the ledge to the right you will find some of the areas most interesting rock art panels on a few boulders. The vast majority of people simply walk past this area and never notice the petroglyphs just above them on the ledge. There are many winged men and even a cowboyglyph with a date of 1892. Can you imagine how different the area around Moab was in 1892?
After about a mile you will come to the Left Fork Falls. It is one of only a few waterfalls that I know of in the Moab area, and the only one close to town. By following the creek the trail will dead end at the fall. Just before the falls the trail vaguely resembles Zion National Park's Subway. To get to the top of the falls backtrack and climb up on a shelf on the right side of the canyon. Keep your kids close at hand if you take them to the top of the falls as the ledge directly at the falls is fairly narrow.
On a hot summer day this area can get busy so plan ahead if you wish to avoid the crowd.
The character of the canyon above the falls changes from bushes and rocks to an open grassy meadow. For most people this is the end of the hike but some continue all the way to Sand Flats Road. For us we returned to the split in the creek and send the kids home. Then we continued up Mill Creek proper, you can read about that adventure here.
If you are considering a Moab adventure we would recommend checking out the town homes at Moab Adventure Condo. We stayed with them and it was so nice to have room to relax and not be stuck in a cramped hotel room. Since the cost of the rental was split between two families it actually ended up being cheaper than a hotel room and much nicer. Not to mention the pool and hot tub were just sets from our condo.