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Horse or Hike? Trails near Ken’s Lake
by Richard Coffinberry

The Ken’s Lake area is a great place to hike or to take a horseback ride. The red rocks in the area are gorgeous, and everyone will enjoy a visit to Faux Falls nearby.

All of the area around Ken’s lake is open to horseback riding and hiking, but a few possibilities are described below. As always when venturing out in the desert be prepared and bring plenty of water on your hike or ride.

Your first outing should be to Faux Falls, which are completely man-made, (hence faux). The falls are created by the diversion of a portion of Mill Creek water thru a tunnel where it exits in the form of a beautiful waterfall. The water then makes its way to Ken’s Lake. The hike up to the falls is great. Horses can make it most of the way to the falls, but you will have to hike the last portion. During winter the falls freeze which provides for some interesting photos.

Follow the Red Rock Trail heading northwest to the dirt road going up onto Johnson’s Up on Top Mesa is a great ride with beautiful scenery and panoramic views. Follow the road to a steep climb, (walk your horse), up onto the Johnson’s mesa, continue S.E. to the Ken’s Lake overlook. This is a relatively easy ride for those that can handle the distance, (13 miles round trip). You may choose to continue on the Red Rock Trail instead of heading up to the Johnson’s Up On Top Mesa.

Mill Creek Canyon/Flat Pass rides are accessed by following the dirt road 1.2 miles east from the campground up and over the hill above Faux Falls to a junction in the road. To ride or hike a portion of Mill Creek Canyon turn left, and continue downstream for 0.4 miles. There is a private property gate here, reverse your route to return to the junction. The creek flows year round and it is a lovely canyon.

If you go right 0.3 miles (from Jct with Mill Creek) you encounter the “Flat Pass” 4x4 road. This rugged road is about 11 miles of rocky travel. For fun you can cross the creek and follow the road until you have had enough, maybe 1.5 miles, then reverse back to the creek. This 4x4 road doesn’t get much traffic but has rocky areas that you (or your horse) may not enjoy. Great views though!

You may choose to ride upstream at the Flat Pass junction instead of following the road. Don’t cross the creek, but continue your ride 0.5 miles upstream before encountering private property, where you will have to reverse your route.

For those who enjoy the wide open spaces, additional horseback rides may be created by heading southeast of the campground utilizing dirt roads or dry washes all the way to Pack Creek or other points of interest.

In addition visiting Faux Falls, hikers will enjoy a walk around the lake, and the more adventurous may want to explore the nearby red rocks heading north from the lake.

Campgrounds are available with water and toilets for a fee, and may be reserved. These are popular Bureau of Land Management camps, so reserve well in advance. Two of the campsites include horse corrals.

More information and photos are available at Use the “Moab Horseback Trails” link.

All of Ken’s Lake area is covered by “TRAILS in AREA #3”.

About the Author: Richard Coffinberry is a member of the Canyonlands Back Country Horsemen and the Grand County Trail Mix Committee. Richard serves as the Trail Mix welder, and helps with the trail building effort. He has been riding the Moab area since moving here in 2009 from Wyoming with his horses, Outlaw and Dundee.

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