An Easy Hike in Big Cottonwood Canyon
- Length: 1.5 miles round trip
- Elevation Gain: 360 ft
- Highest Elevation: 7,800 ft
- Trailhead: 9 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon, on the South side of the road
Donut Falls, or Doughnut Falls, is so named because of the round hole through which the fall flows.
Over years of pounding on the rock, the water eventually carved a hole and now the water falls through the rock.
This hike is very easy, short (but long enough to feel you got a walk in for the day) and thus popular
with families with kids.
The trailhead is on Big Cottonwood Canyon Road. As you travel into the canyon, just before the Spruces
Campground, and at the popular wintertime sledding hill, there is a paved road (paved for awhile anyway)
that goes south (or right as you travel up the canyon) from the main road. This spur road is also the road
to take to get to the Jordan Pines Picnic area, as well as several private property lots.
(Please respect the private property, and stay on the road or designated trail). There is a rest room
at the beginning of the spur road.
Expect to see a lot of kids on this trail. If you head out very early or very late you are more likely
to avoid the crowds.
The walking is easy and pretty level the whole way and only gains 360 feet in elevation. You will pass
through beautiful wooded areas and meadows. Depending on the season, there can be tons of wildflowers, or
picturesque snowscapes. Since this trail is so gradual, it is a great trail for beginners to try out
backcountry skiing or showshoeing.
As the trail ends at the creek, there is a bit of a drop-off that kids may need help with. Also everyone
should be careful here if the ground is wet and muddy as it will be slippery.
Once you reach the falls, it is advisable not to climb on the rocks. Since the recent rock fall,
it is very difficult and dangerous to get up to the "donut" hole. Every year, the spot claims lives of
those who think they can tame nature. The falls are best viewed from below.
As with any backcountry trail, you are advised to be prepared before venturing out. Be sure of the weather,
and take water and food.
For more pictures from this hike, check out the
Hike Photo Gallery.