Donut Falls

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Very Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
1h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
2.9 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
104 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
9.9
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Donut Falls hike in Salt Lake City, Utah

The classic family hike in Big Cottonwood Canyon, the short climb up to Donut Falls is quite spectacular. The large cascading waterfall is especially beautiful, as is the general scenery that surrounds you throughout the entire hike.

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Route Description for Donut Falls

Begin along the trail just behind the outhouse and quickly join up with the Mill D South Fork River. Approximately halfway up the trail, the path will cross over to the west side of the river as it continues to climb.

After crossing over the river, you will meet up with a double track dirt road. Make note of this crossing. On the way back it’s easy to miss. If you miss the turnoff, however, you can still make your way back to the trailhead by crossing the river along the private drive beside the trailhead (as shown on the map).

Finally, after another short bit of climbing, the trail will essential merge into the river. You will either have to wade or rock hop across this short section of river to get up to the viewpoint of the falls.

The staircase falls are a true stunner, and the steep-sided canyon that surrounds you will provide a beautiful ambiance. Sit a while and enjoy the atmosphere before making the return journey.

Insider Hints for Donut Falls

  • There are options for scrambling up either side of the falls to get a cooler view. Only do this if you are comfortable with the exposure.
  • This is the classic family hike near Salt Lake.
  • Bring shoes you don’t mind getting wet, and wear a pair of non-cotton socks.

Getting to the Donut Falls Trailhead

Drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon Road (UT-190) for just under 17.7 km, watching out for the large parking area with signs for the Jordan Pines camping area. There will be an ambiguous trailhead sign pointing to the right. Follow this sign past the Jordan Pine Group Site and onto a dirt road, which passes through private property before arriving at the small parking area for the trailhead. Park in the lot or along one side of the road leading up to it and find the trailhead behind the outhouse.

Route Information

  • When to do

    Spring through fall

  • Backcountry Campsites

    Yes, in National Forest Wilderness

  • Toilets

    At trailhead

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Donut Falls Elevation Graph

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Donut Falls Reviews

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