The waterfalls at Gunlock State Park are locked and loaded

Apr 10, 2023, 1:00 PM

gunlock falls is pictured...

Gunlock Falls in Gunlock State Park is pictured. A middle-aged man nearly drowned Sunday at Gunlock Falls. According to police, as far as they know he is still alive. (Bob Grove/Road Trippin with Bob and Mark)

(Bob Grove/Road Trippin with Bob and Mark)

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah — The record winter snowpack in Utah brings blessings of many kinds including unveiling nature’s hidden wonders like the waterfalls at Gunlock State Park.

These rare seasonal falls only appear when there is enough water to spill out over the dam at Gunlock Reservoir located about 15 miles northwest of St. George in Washington County.


They are flowing again this spring and probably will for some time as our temperatures warm up.

Speaking of overflowing, state park officials warn that it’s become such an attraction for photographers and recreational visitors that it will be tough to even access the area and when capacity is met you will have no choice but to wait until others have their photos and leave. There are also a few safety tips to keep in mind if you’re planning a trip down.

Keep your distance

It’s not uncommon for these fast-moving waters to bring debris down with them and while park workers are always working to remove fallen trees or rocks it’s inevitable that some may find their way into the falls.

So staying a healthy distance from the water is rule number one.

Small children and pets are especially curious about the spectacle and can find themselves in trouble with just a turn of an adult’s head. The rocks can also be very slippery when they are wet.

Check the weather

Just as we talked about with slot canyons this spring, knowing the forecast before you make the 300+ mile drive down from the Wasatch Front is encouraged.

Check Gunlock State Park’s Water Watch on Facebook for any known advisories in the area. This will also help make sure you and your family will bring the right clothing and gear for whatever your adventure plans hold for that day.

Stay and explore the park

Almost a decade ago I was lucky enough to be a part of a group of crazy friends and adventurers that included Chris Dallin, Barbara Riddle, Vaughn Jacobsen, Russ Smith and Bill Francis that decided to visit (at the time) all 43 state parks in 72 hours!

An effort that was recognized and memorialized in a state proclamation by then-Governor Gary Herbert and documented on YouTube for those that want to go along for a wild ride! 

Why do I mention this you ask? I don’t want you to make the same mistake we did and not give yourself enough time to explore all that Gunlock has to offer.

So after visiting the falls make sure you take the time to fish, boat or hike on some of the picturesque trails in the area or even better, grab a primitive camp spot on the shoreline of the reservoir.

If you have an extended weekend, Sand Hollow, Snow Canyon and Quail Creek are also nearby.

Find out more by visiting the state parks website and happy exploring!

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The waterfalls at Gunlock State Park are locked and loaded