Hike to Donut Falls

Utah Donut Falls Trailhead

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    3.5 Miles

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildlife

Take a 3.5-mile roundtrip hike to this amazingly beautiful and picturesque waterfall. This hike, located in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, is good for all seasons with easy access to the trail.

The Trail

Follow the trail for just a little bit and when it forks, stay to the left and you will arrive to Donut Falls. Once at the waterfall, climb up the rocks to get to the cave at the top, which is not visible from the bottom. To take pictures inside of the cave, you will most likely get your feet wet.

This is a really short hike, so it's great if you are short on time and want to see something amazing.

Falls Coordinates: 40.629722, -111.654722

Getting There

Coming from the I-215, turn left on Big Cottonwood Road and the parking lot will be about nine miles up the road on your right. Usually the gate is closed, so park here and follow the rest of the road on foot until you get to a trailhead with restrooms on the left hand side.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Waterproof shoes
  • Snacks
  • Bottle of water
Read More

Reviews

Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

Good in winter, way too crowded summer weekends -- summer=zoo early spring or winter is nice. Early spring so there was still some snow, which made it even better! Make sure you climb up to be under the falls. Nice short hike, pretty neat fall.

21 days ago
21 days ago

Its super easy and can get crowded but its one of the best hikes when your dragging up three little girls. The best time to hike the falls is in winter, the trail is well used so snowshoes aren't necessary and all the snow makes it even easier to hike up to the hole.

about 1 month ago
about 1 month ago

We loved this trail. Nice gentle uphill most of the way easy enough for all of use. The reward at the top was worth it. We had a lovely break up top, feet in the cold stream enjoying the brilliantly clear fresh water and view.

about 1 month ago
about 1 month ago

My BF just moved to SLC for a six month work stint. On one of my weekends visiting we decided to go for a hike and stumbled upon this article while searching Google. Thank you so much for the recommendation! Super easy hike with a very rewarding conclusion!

about 2 months ago
about 2 months ago

This place was awesome! Really easy hike. Just make sure you keep left after the first river crossing. The views are spectacular and there weren't a ton of people there on a warm summer afternoon. Maybe 10. Awesome hike.

3 months ago
3 months ago

And easy but scenic hike. We went on a weekday which turned out to be perfect because we had the place all to ourselves (we heard it's usually crowded). There was still snow covering the entire trail but in my opinion it only made the hike prettier! Great place just a short drive from Salt Lake City.

5 months ago
5 months ago

There was still quite a bit of snow on the hike up, but it was very packed down and crusty. Icy and slick in a few spots. We went early Saturday morning and it was not crowded at all.

5 months ago
5 months ago

Fun for the whole family. Mildly disappointed there were no actual doughnuts.

6 months ago
6 months ago

Donut falls had an awesome ice formation and a rope to ascend towards the cave. Crampton's would be advisable for gaining access to the cave but not mandatory. We saw multiple people with tennis shoes on that made the climb with the help of the rope.

7 months ago
7 months ago

This is a great little hike, the donut falls and surrounding views of Big Cottonwood are beautiful! Be warned, this is a very big tourist spot. It was packed with all kinds of people when we visited in September.

11 months ago
11 months ago

I've only been here in the winter time snowshoeing and we had the place almost to ourselves. We saw 4 other people in total. The trail was packed snow so it was pretty unnecessary to wear the snow shoes. The hike was short and beautiful where you could look into the trees and everything was covered in untouched snow. The ice forming at the opening (donut) of the falls was very pretty.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

The trailhead parking on this app is a little misleading. You can actually go down the road "FR019" which is the road south of where it says to park. Go down that road until it ends and Donut Falls trailhead/parking is right there. It'll save you some time. Other than that it was a very easy/fun hike.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

This place is magical, but it's got to be one of the most impacted areas in the Wasatch. It is often hard to find common sense at Donut Falls. Stay off the slopes above people, careful climbing in the boulders, and use only the main trail. Donut Falls is plagued with a spiderweb of trails around it in dangerous locations. Be careful, patient, and smart about your timing and you will be blown away by this waterfall.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Arrived at 10:00am on a Tuesday and the hike was packed with families w/young children. There was a 5 min wait/line to see the waterfall. The hike to the waterfall is really easy, the climb to the top of the falls is more difficult. Slippery and vertical. Advise wearing shoes with good traction if you plan to climb up the rocks to the top of the falls. Your shoes will also get wet.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Donut falls is awesome! Be prepared to scramble up to the falls at the end. Do not hike this on Memorial Day, haha. I did and it was slammed. I didn't even attempt to get up to the falls , but earlier spring, late fall, or during the week, you'll have a great experience. Unique waterfall and beautiful trail.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This is an awesome hike in the winter. Snowshoes aren't essential but we brought them and were glad we had them. The entrance to the cave was dug out of the snow and it was easy to crawl in. The waterfall is beautiful with snow and ice surrounding it! There were still some crowds on the weekend but it was much quieter than the summer months.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This is one of the easiest and most heavily trafficked hikes in Big Cottonwood. If you're looking for an easy hike with little vertical than this is a good choice. If you're looking for quiet and solitude this is not the place for you. Don't let the easy access and heavy traffic make you let your guard down. Two have died here since 2012. A woman fell 100 feet and a man was hit by a falling boulder. Have fun but be careful. You can often see moose in the area. This weekend while there I saw a bull moose on the trail just before the falls and a cow near the creek south of the parking lot. The best time to see moose is at dusk.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Still a decent amount of snow in the month of May, but not too much to be very dangerous. Be prepared to get your feet wet from the spring run off but the waterfall and cave are worth it.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Nice mild and accessible hike in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Fairly heavily trafficked trail - even on a Thursday afternoon - but still worth doing. There's still a fair amount of snow and slush on the ground so it can get slippery in some sections.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This is one of the classic day hikes in Salt Lake City due to its short length and easy difficultly level. It's a fun hike to do with kids, but the falls area can be a little difficult with smaller children. The trailhead is easy to find, but be careful about when you go - the pull-out from Big Cottonwood Canyon road fills up quickly because of the popularity of this hike. The beginning of the trail passes along private property on either side of the road, so please be respectful of those who live along this very popular trail. If you're looking for a hike with solitude, this probably isn't the one, but it's definitely worth the hike in spite of the traffic you might encounter.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Great taste of adventure. The snow does make the trail tricky but all the foot steps help you know you're on the right track. Pictures make the falls/cave seem bigger than what it is. And it is VERY slick climbing up the snow at that point. But worth it! I want to go again in the summer.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

I met many hikers along looking for Donut Falls and none of use knew how to get there. In late March, the trail is covered with ice and snow. Slow going even with hiking boots. We turned around after 20 minute once the trail got too slipper to navigate. GPS coordinates of the location of the falls would help. In fact GPS data should be mandatory for all of these hikes.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Was a short yet fun little hike! Unfortunately we didn't see the falls due to the snowfall so we couldn't pass the sign that mentions not to pass cause of the dangers. Otherwise it was beautiful walking through the the fresh snow

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

A very mild hike but an absolute must.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Eric BennettExplorer

Instagram: @bennettfilm Videographer, Photographer from San Diego, CA currently living in Provo, UT

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike Mount Ellen in Utah's Henry Mountains

Utah / Mount Ellen Peak Trail

Mount Ellen is considered an Ultra Prominent Peak. What's that you may ask? Well, Ultra Prominent Peaks are determined by how high the summit rises above its surroundings.

31 Saves

Camp at McMillan Springs In The Henry Mountains

Utah / McMillan Springs Campground

McMillan Springs Campground is south of Hanksville, Utah and within the Henry Mountains, which run north and south between Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef National Parks.

28 Saves

Spring Backcountry Ski Alta Ski Area

Utah / Lodge Rd, Alta

Still have the skiing itch but it's late in the spring and the resorts have closed and the other backcountry skiing areas have melted? No problem, just head up to Alta Ski Area and get some amazing b.

5 Saves