Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
1,114.00 ft (339.55 m)
Trail type
8.50 mi (13.68 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Professor Creek/Mary Jane Trail begins from the same trailhead as the Sylvester Trail, located at the end of an unmaintained but easy-to-drive road. The area is named after the early settlers Dr. Sylvester Richardson and his wife Mary Jane. They homesteaded this valley in the 1880s and settled at the mouth of Professor Creek. Richardson had been a professor prior to coming to the area, thus the naming of Professor Creek, and the beautiful canyon just upstream from here was named after the wife Mary Jane.

From the trailhead follow the unsigned trail to the left (not the Sylvester Trail). You’ll follow near Professor Creek for about 3/10s of a mile before crossing it for the first time. This is the first of countless crossings so be sure to wear shoes that are comfortable when wet.

This beginning stretch of trail offers good views toward the distant mesas and rock formations. The trail will occasionally split but it always keeps following the creek upstream.

The canyon begins to narrow as you hike the second half of the trail. Stream crossings become more frequent and it often is easier just to wade through the shallow creek rather than try and find dry ground. There are a couple of side canyons that can be explored, but just continue following Professor Creek upstream to stay on trail.

Near the 4 mile mark the canyon is as narrow as it will get, and soon you’ll hear the waterfall at the end of the hike. This gorgeous waterfall marks the end of the trail. Enjoy the cool shaded canyon here and head back the way you came when ready.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Scenic stream & canyon. Awesome waterfall at end of trail.


Lots of wading through the stream.

Trailhead Elevation

4,360.00 ft (1,328.93 m)

Highest point

4,898.00 ft (1,492.91 m)


Near lake or river
Family friendly
Big vistas
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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