This summer, one of my goals is to take my family on a hike every week. I love being outdoors and experiencing anything I can in this beautiful world that we live in. The first hike that we did this summer was Donut Falls Trail in Big Cottonwood Canyon. I want to share our trip, plus things to take and what to expect. The Donut Falls Trail is great for families but no dogs are allowed, so plan accordingly. I would recommend going in July or August when the runoff is gone, so you can play in the falls and the water. In Early June the water is too high to do much in the water.
Location: Big Cottonwood Canyon, Salt Lake City, Utah
Distance: approx. 3 miles round trip. Slight incline going up and descent going down
Dogs: No dogs allowed on trail
The beginning of June has a LOT of water runoff – so the river is really high and fast. Be careful and watch your kids. This also makes it impossible to get up to the base of Donut Falls and actually go under the falls. Regardless, this was a beautiful hike and I loved the water. We have plans to go back later and see it again in August or September and play in the water and see the Falls better.
Things to take:
- Water (at least 1 L per person)
- Good hiking shoes (bonus points if they can get wet)
- Comfortable hiking clothes
- Camera (or phone) for pictures
- Towel if planning on playing in the water
- Light snacks
If you plan on eating, I would recommend having a picnic by the trailhead parking lot before or after your hike.
Our GPS initially took us to a parking lot about 0.7 miles away from the actual trailhead – so when you get to the road, go down the FR019 road to the end. I recommend driving up to the end to check for parking. There were a lot of cars along the side of the road, but several spots still in the parking lot at the trailhead.
Once you get to the trailhead, there is a bathroom (with a garbage inside, in case you look for it like we did) and there is a large picnic table where you can have lunch before or after your hike. There are a couple of tricky parts on the hike, where you are not sure which way to go. There are some signs that point the way as well. I have tried to mark the trail we took on the photos below so that you know.
This trail is really amazing, and the falls are spectacular. Take time to relax and enjoy them when you get to the top. Find a cool spot to rest and soak it all in. Hopefully, when you go, the runoff won’t be as bad and you can get up to the falls and play under the waterfall. We took the trail to the “upper falls” and looked at them from the top. This was steep and I had to stop a couple times, but once we were up there I was so glad we did it.
Let us know how your hike went, in the comments below.
Check out these other Family-friendly hikes in Utah:
Emerald Pool Trails Hike Zion National Park
Hike to Stewart Falls (by Provo, Utah)
Three Forks Hike to Fifth Water Hot Springs
Trails, Lakes, Waterfalls, and Hikes in Utah to try
Utah National Parks, Trails, Monuments and Recreation Areas
One of the things we used a lot while we were out hiking is the AllTrails App. It worked great to help us get to where we needed to go, even when we didn’t have good (or any) service. Be sure to check it out and also their website for a lot of great trail info.