Mill Creek Canyon is a perfect hike for a hot day in Moab! It’s just a few minutes outside of downtown with the trailhead steps away from a neighborhood.
Right away you’re rewarded with a waterfall and gorgeous creek – you’re also warned that yes, you will get wet on this hike. There are a couple of creek crossings so make sure you bring either waterproof shoes or an extra pair of shoes/socks.
In general, this hike is pretty easy. It’s very low on elevation gain and really just meanders along the creek the whole way through. There’s even a good amount of shade and greenery which was a pleasant surprise! However, like the trail to Corona Arch there are a couple of tricky spots along the way. The first one you encounter right away, where you’re literally hugging the walls and balancing your way along the side of the side of the creek.
The good news is this doesn’t last very long and if you shoes have good tractions you shouldn’t have any issues (we saw plenty of dogs along the way that didn’t have any trouble.) After that, it’s just the creek crossings to watch out for.
When I hiked this trail in mid April, the deepest the creek was at the crossings was probably to my ankles. I’m not going to say that it was pleasant continuing to hike with soaked shoes, but I can imagine on a hot day it must feel pretty nice!
After 3-4 crossings you’re at the waterfall and it’s stunning! It’s definitely not deep enough for jumping, but perfect for wading in and cooling off from the desert sun.
2022 Update: Hike Mill Creek again on a hot, sunny day & it was packed with people soaking in the sun! I still wouldn’t recomend cliff jumping, but there were quite a few people doing it this time. If you’re looking to get above the waterfall, you can climb right up it – or the much easier way is taking the trail off to the left shortly before reaching the falls.