Out & Back to Gunlock Reservoir | A Secret Gem
A first account narrative guide to visiting Gunlock Reservoir outside of Las Vegas by Ty LItchfield (Manager of Native Campervans Las Vegas Operations)
Growing up in the hot sun beating dry summers of Las Vegas, one eventually gets used to coping with consistent temperatures in the 100’s. However, after spending the past 10 years living in Salt Lake City, my move back to Las Vegas this year shook me! While I love Las Vegas (especially the Golden Knights), it’s always nice to escape the heat and hustle and go to one of my favorite getaways; Gunlock Reservoir.
This past June, I took a Smalls Campervan from Native Campervans out of their Las Vegas depot and took off for a quick 2-hour drive north to Gunlock Reservoir. Gunlock Reservoir is 17 miles northwest of St. George, Utah on highway 18. While the Gunlock Reservoir is a great fishing, boating, and camping destination, this year it has become a notoriously famous social media destination for Utah and Nevada due to the extremely wet winter in the mountains of Utah. The snowmelt altered southern Utah’s lakes, reservoirs, streams, dams, and rivers and for the first time in 7 years, Gunlock Reservoir received enough snowmelt to overfill the reservoir. The result is a magnitude of natural waterfalls, waterholes, water slides, and the best option for escaping the summer heat.
The geology of the surrounding area is an incredible array of red rocks and cliffs that are now overflowing with water. Side note- If you hurry you can get the opportunity to jump off some cliffs, scurry around some sandstone slides, and swim under to a 70’ waterfall! It has the best water pressure out of any shower I have used this year!
I drove up to Gunlock Reservoir about 1.5 miles from the top to a series of waterfalls off to the left side of the road. I parked the campervan directly off Highway 18, changed into a swimming suit and tennis shoes, packed water, snacks and lather up in sunscreen and proceeded to hike less than a mile to the beginning of the waterfalls.
Caution - the rocks do get extremely slippery in certain areas and the current is strong and fast. Proceed with caution. I meet some kids that have been jumping off cliffs and waterfalls there all summer. I have always loved cliff jumping but this was new to me and honestly really terrifying. I penciled off of a 33’ foot waterfall into a water hole that was honestly far to narrow and barely deep enough to try – I don’t encourage anyone to jump it! If you are going to jump make sure you personally swim in the water hole so you know what obstructions may be under that water. There are “safe” holes and pools of water that range from 3’-70’ ft. high. I ended up fishing for the remainder of the day (caught some beautiful trout & bass) and found a perfect campsite near Gunlock Falls where I stargazed all night. The end of a magnificent day.
If you have any questions about the Gunlock Reservoir or any other local favorite destinations outside of Vegas, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!