At the trail head area there is a map of the Mill Creek Trails. After 0.75 miles the trail splits into the North Fork and South Fork trails. The North Fork is the most popular as there are two swimming holes fed by the year round flow of Mill Creek. The first swimming hole at about 1.0 miles has a waterfall and low cliffs for jumping.
There are also examples of ancient rock art along the North Fork. I had thought I was going to hike the North Fork, but somehow missed trail junction and hiked the longer South Fork Trail. There is also a Mill Creek Rim Trail that starts at the same trail head.
The early part of the trail passes the historic Mill Creek Dam, The dam was build in late 1919 to replace an earlier wooden dam that was destroyed in the August 2 flood in 1919. The dam generated power for the Moab area until 1945.
Beavers are continuing the dam tradition by building their structures just upstream of the concrete dam. Sections of wire fence have been installed to protect large cottonwood trees from becoming part of the beaver dam project. The beaver works have flooded a short section of the trail, causing hikers to step carefully along a rocky cliff. But expect your feet to get wet on this hike even if you are not here for swimming.
The creek bottom area is very lush with Cottonwood Trees and Willows and other riparian vegetation. In some places the trail cuts through a thicket of dense growth. The canyon sides have Pinon Pines and Utah Junipers.
Some joggers passed me while hiking up the South Fork and they didn’t return, so perhaps they were doing a loop. At the point where the trail was leaving the Mill Creek Canyon, there is a large alcove further up canyon. In other areas, such a large alcove would be a good place to look for ruins.
When I started at 10:00 AM it was 62 F degrees and there were two other vehicles in the parking area. At my 2:00 PM finish it was 78 F degrees and there were about 30 vehicles. Large groups were starting as I was finishing. I didn’t realize that I had hiked the South Fork until I reviewed the map at the end of my hike. My total hike was 4:00 hours for 7 or 8 miles. I carried and drank 2 liters of water.