Located in Big Cottonwood Canyon near Salt Lake City, Utah, this stunning waterfall gets its name from the circular shape of the rock formation it flows through, resembling a giant donut.

The hike to Donut Falls is not only picturesque but also relatively easy, making it accessible for hikers of all skill levels. The trail follows along a small stream and takes about 30-40 minutes to complete round trip.

Once you arrive at the falls, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views and the chance to climb up behind the cascading water for an unforgettable photo opportunity.

And if that’s not enough to entice you, there’s even a nearby picnic area where you can enjoy some delicious snacks or lunch after your adventure.

Location And Access

Donut Falls is a stunning waterfall located in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. The trailhead for the hike is easily accessible from Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas, with parking available at the lot near the entrance to the canyon.

Due to its popularity, finding a spot may be difficult during peak times. It’s important to note that there are alternative routes to access Donut Falls, such as starting from Jordan Pines or Mill D Trailhead.

These options provide a less crowded experience and add some distance to the hike. Regardless of which route you choose, make sure to come prepared with proper gear and plenty of water for this moderate-level 3-mile round trip hike.

Trail Difficulty And Duration

As you make your way to Donut Falls, it’s important to note that the location is easily accessible by car and has a decent parking lot. However, don’t let the convenience of its accessibility fool you into thinking that the trail will be easy.

The hike to reach Donut Falls can be quite challenging for some due to its rocky terrain and steep inclines. This makes having appropriate gear essentials crucial for a safe hiking experience. 

It’s recommended that hikers wear sturdy footwear with good traction, as there are many areas along the trail where slipping could result in serious injury. Therefore, investing in proper recommended footwear is essential before embarking on this adventure.

The Donut Falls Formation

As you stand at the base of Donut Falls, it’s hard not to marvel at the unique formation that makes this waterfall so special. This natural wonder is formed by a circular hole in the rock above where the water falls into a pool down below. 

The geological history of this area reveals that this donut-shaped hole was created over millions of years through erosion patterns caused by streams and rivers flowing through the canyon.

To fully appreciate the beauty of Donut Falls, here are four interesting facts about its formation:

  • The hole in which the water flows through is called a pothole or plunge basin.
  • The diameter of the pothole measures around 10 feet wide and 6-7 feet deep.
  • The forceful flow of water cascading down from above causes misty droplets to float through the air.
  • Over time, these droplets freeze in cold temperatures creating beautiful ice formations.

It’s clear that nature has worked tirelessly to create such an enchanting sight for all visitors to enjoy. As one takes in their surroundings, they can’t help but feel grateful for being able to witness firsthand how powerful geological forces shape our world without us ever noticing until we stumble upon them ourselves.

Behind The Falls Photo Opportunity

As you make your way to Donut Falls, don’t forget to bring along your camera or smartphone because the stunning views behind the falls offer a perfect photography opportunity.

The best angles for capturing this natural wonder are from either side of the waterfall where hikers can position themselves as close as possible without getting wet.

Ensuring that your lens is free from droplets will allow for crisp and clear images of the cascading waterfalls that glisten in the sunlight. So take some time during your hike to snap some unforgettable shots of Donut Falls and its picturesque surroundings.

Picnic Area And Other Nearby Attractions

After hiking to Donut Falls, take some time to relax and enjoy a picnic in the nearby area. There are plenty of options for outdoor games such as frisbee or cornhole that you can bring along with your food.

As you eat, keep an eye out for wildlife in the surrounding areas. You may spot deer, moose, or even a black bear if you’re lucky!

Other nearby attractions include Mirror Lake, where you can go fishing or kayaking, and the Alpine Scenic Loop Drive which offers breathtaking views of the mountains.

Make sure to plan ahead and make a day of exploring all the wonderful things this area has to offer before heading back home from your adventure at Donut Falls.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Any Safety Precautions To Keep In Mind When Hiking To Donut Falls?

Yes, there are several safety precautions to keep in mind when hiking to Donut Falls. The trail can be slippery and rocky, so it’s important to wear sturdy hiking shoes and to watch your footing. The falls can also be dangerous, so it’s important to stay behind the safety barriers and to not climb on the rocks near the falls. Additionally, it’s important to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, and to be aware of your surroundings, including any wildlife or other hikers on the trail.

Can You Swim In The Pool At The Base Of The Falls?

Swimming in the pool at the base of Donut Falls is not recommended. The pool can be dangerous due to strong currents and underwater hazards, and there have been reports of injuries and deaths from people attempting to swim in it. Additionally, swimming in the pool can damage the delicate ecosystem of the falls and the surrounding area.

Is There A Fee To Access The Trail Or Park At The Trailhead?

Yes, there is a fee to access the trailhead for Donut Falls. The trailhead is located in the Big Cottonwood Canyon area of the Wasatch Mountains and is part of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. As of 2023, the fee for a day pass is $6 per vehicle, and there are also annual passes and other options available.

Are Pets Allowed On The Trail To Donut Falls?

Yes, pets are allowed on the trail to Donut Falls. However, they must be kept on a leash at all times and owners are responsible for cleaning up after them. It’s important to keep pets under control to prevent them from disturbing wildlife or other hikers on the trail.

What Is The Best Time Of Day Or Year To Visit Donut Falls?

The best time of day to visit Donut Falls is in the morning when the trail is less crowded and the lighting is good for photography. As for the best time of year, it depends on personal preference. Summer and fall offer warmer temperatures and beautiful foliage, while winter offers a snowy and peaceful atmosphere. However, the trail may be more difficult to access during winter months due to snow and ice.

Wrap Up

Hiking to Donut Falls is a unique and rewarding experience for nature enthusiasts. Although the trail isn’t too challenging, it’s important to keep some safety precautions in mind such as wearing proper footwear and watching out for slippery rocks near the waterfall.

In terms of timing, visiting during the summer months can provide an opportunity to cool off in the pool at the base of the falls while admiring its beauty.

Regardless of when you go, make sure to check if there are any fees required beforehand and leave your furry friends at home since pets aren’t allowed on this particular trail.