With fall break coming up, many SUU students might be looking to escape the recent chill in Cedar City. What few students know is there is a hidden oasis 30 minutes south of St. George.
Located in the outskirts of Littlefield and Desert Springs, AZ, “Little Jamaica” is a mountain spring and man-made pool tucked away under the I-15. The natural spring waterfall and swimming area runs into the Virgin River and provides a refreshing escape from the surrounding desert.
A short .25 mile hike toward the spring is often noisy from the nearby traffic of the interstate. The path is slippery in many areas from the trickling water. Appropriate water shoes are encouraged.
As hikers take the trail downhill, the sound of rushing water gets louder. Once the path drops down to the Virgin River bed, multiple falls can be seen upstream.
The largest of these falls spills into a man-made pool encased in walls of boulders. Appropriately named, the Little Jamaica waters are crystal clear and cool to the touch. Surrounding greenery shade a second smaller pool and ferns can be seen growing out of the rocks which hang over the pools.
Though the spring waterfalls and pools are located above the Virgin River, visitors can often be seen enjoying the river as well. The river is muddy from the red sand of Arizona and its current is strong but safe for swimming.
There is a sandy area across the river to keep belongings dry. However, current rainfalls can often flood the beach.
The tricky part is actually driving to Little Jamaica’s trailhead. First, take Exit 9, “Desert Springs,” the first exit after The Gorge. Turn right at the off ramp, or else the road will rejoin I-15 southbound. After turning right, take the first left leading under the freeway and an immediate right onto Farm Road. Follow this road as it turns into a dirt parking area. There is a clear trailhead through a neighboring fence.
For more information and direction tips, visit menuofmusings.com/little-jamaica.
Story By: Ansleigh Mikesell
Photos By: Ansleigh Mikesell