Sunday, May 20, 2012

Hidden Water

One of the more remarkable aspects of the Wasatch Mountains and the western United States in general is how incredibly "plumbed" the rivers and streams are.

We observed this yesterday on our hike in Neffs Canyon, which rises into the Wasatch Mountains east of Olympus Cove and just south of Mill Creek Canyon.

Neffs contains a perennial stream that is fed by snowmelt and, in the upper canyon, there's still a reservoir of scattered snow.  We even did some poor-man's skiing, here at an elevation of about 8600 ft.

Not surprisingly, there's a healthy stream fed by snowmelt and running down the upper canyon.

But here's what the stream bed looks like in the lower canyon.

It appears that the water is being captured somewhere in the canyon, perhaps just outside the wilderness area boundary, which was clearly drawn around the stream (see red line above).

The Hidden Water web site provides quite a bit of information about the major drainages above the Salt Lake Valley.  It states that the Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities owns the water rights to four springs in the canyon, but I couldn't find anything on water extractions from the stream.  Presumably they own the rights to the stream as well and are taking all they can this year given the drought conditions.  Perhaps the water ends up, at least temporarily, in the water tank that sits along the trail just above the parking lot.


  1. That is the source for Mount Olympus Bottled Water. If you go up during a weekday during the work day you'll see the trucks up there filling up.

    1. I'd always assumed there was a spring there they had capped and were using.

  2. Thanks for sharing this quality information with us. I really enjoyed reading.
    WDRP blog