Hike to Donut Falls
Utah › Donut Falls Trailhead
Added by Eric Bennett
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.
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
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.
- Waterproof shoes
- Bottle of water
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Chillin, Hiking, Photography
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
ReviewsLeave a Review
Beautiful Hike And Falls
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.
Great Winter Hike
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.
Short & Easy - Well Worth It
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.
Fun, Short Hike.
Went here after work one day for an afternoon hike. Early spring so there was still some snow, which made it even better! Make sure you climb up to be under the falls. Was a little crowded, even for the snow. Nice short hike, pretty neat fall.
Sweet As It's Name
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.
Trailhead Is Misleading On This
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.
Waterfall AND people watching
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.
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.
Awesome Hike, Go On A Week Day
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.
Awesome Winter Hike
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.
Heavily Trafficked Trail
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.
Great short hike
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.
A Salt Lake Area Must
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.
An Adventurers Must
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.
Needs GPS Coordinates
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.
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
Great hike! Nice and easy.
A couple people said to simply "ignore the warning signs" and just go on up to the falls. This is NOT OKAY. A handful of people die at these waterfalls every summer. It is very tragic. You CAN go to the falls, just be wary that once you cross past those signs, there is a likely chance that you will be struck by a falling rock or boulder. Be wary of this if you choose to continue past the signs, be safe, and wear good shoes on the slick rocks.
In the snow
I did this hike last weekend and it was sweet in the ice! I have done it in every season and there really is not a bad time to go. It is so short and easy that it can even be done combined with another hike up big cottonwood canyon.
We missed it the first time...
There's a sign that says "don't hike past this point, don't climb on rocks, don't go in the water". To get to the cave, you need to ignore all of these instructions and keep climbing to what appears to be the top. My husband and I assumed this must not have been the right waterfall and then kept hiking up looking for another until we saw from above that this was the right one after all. Easier to figure out once the rush came in, so keep this in mind for your first time and if you're alone.
More Adventures Nearby
Backpack Death Hollow in Grand Staircase-Escalante
Utah / Boulder Mail Trailhead
The most popular route into Death Hollow is from the Boulder airstrip near the town of Boulder, Utah.
Mountain Bike Amasa Back / Cliffhanger Trail
Utah / Amasa Back / Cliffhanger Trailhead
Amasa Back / Cliffhanger is the primary entry point into one of the most fantastic mountain biking trail networks in the Moab area, connecting into Captain Ahab, Rockstacker, HyMasa, and Jacksons Tra.