CALF CREEK, a wondrous southern Utah waterfall was "discovered" in about 1930 and Garfield County residents thought the landmark deserved National Park status.
Calf Creek is located between the Utah towns of Boulder and Escalante, off Highway 12. The popular lower falls features an approximate 130-foot water drop of the Escalante River, while the upper falls is about 90 feet high.
According to the book, "Utah Place Names," the box-like canyon of the lower falls, was used to almost naturally hold calves in place, presumably during the early 20th Century.
A Garfield County newspaper report from May 9, 1930 praised the completion of a new road through the area, where cars "can go up the grade in second gear." Still, the rest of the road in the area was reported as rough and dangerous.
Notwithstanding, the newspaper reported stated: "Then, about three-fourths of a mile above camping grounds is a most wondrous side canyon, called 'Calf Creek,' which is sufficient in grandeur that there is an application to have it designated as a national park. The marvelous waterfall is a 136 feet in height, sending its silvery sprays over most beautiful ferns. The formation of canyon and all compose a spectacle which is not an exaggeration when called a scenic paradise."
Of course, the national park status didn't easily come to pass. Calf Creek was designated as a National Recreation Area on Aug. 31, 1963.
A $2 user fee began in July of 1975, based on the popularity of the area.
Calf Creek was part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, created in 1996, and so it did finally gain national status.
Today, a 2.5-mile long trail along the river leads to the lower Calf Creek falls, while a slickrock slope takes more rustic hikers to the upper falls, still not readily marked along the roadside.
NOTE: Some maps erroneously list Calf Creek Recreation Area as California Creek Recreation area.