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Where is Donut Falls?


Welcome to our comprehensive guide to the breathtaking natural wonder, Donut Falls! In this article, we invite you on a journey to explore the charm and allure of this magical destination. Nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of Utah, Donut Falls is a true gem that beckons adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts alike. Join us as we delve into the wonders of Donut Falls, and discover why this place stands out among the crowd.

Where is Donut Falls

Unraveling the Mystery of Donut Falls

The Origin of the Name

The origin of the name "Donut Falls" is an intriguing tale that adds a touch of whimsy to this already enchanting destination. As local lore goes, long ago, when settlers first stumbled upon the falls, they were amazed by the unique circular shape formed by the cascading water as it flowed through a narrow opening in the rock face.

Legend has it that one astute observer, perhaps with a playful sense of humour, remarked that the falls looked like an enormous donut with water pouring through its center. The comparison, though fanciful, struck a chord with the early visitors, and the name "Donut Falls" took root.

Since then, the name has become a beloved part of the region's folklore, passed down through generations as a delightful anecdote. While some may debate the donut-like resemblance, there's no denying that the name perfectly encapsulates the charm and allure of this unique waterfall.

The Journey Begins

Embarking on the journey to Donut Falls is an experience in itself. The trail leading to the falls is a moderate hike that weaves through lush greenery, towering trees, and babbling brooks. The mesmerizing sounds of nature accompany you as you venture deeper into the wilderness.

A Geographical Marvel

Donut Falls is a result of nature's marvelous craftsmanship. The falls are formed as the water cascades through a hole in the rock, creating an awe-inspiring spectacle of water gracefully plunging into a crystal-clear pool below. The unique geological formation is a sight to behold and a photographer's paradise.

The Rendezvous of Seasons

No matter the time of year, Donut Falls offers an enchanting experience. In the spring, the vibrant wildflowers carpet the trail, adding a burst of colors to the surroundings. Summer brings cool respite as you bask in the shade of the towering trees. Fall paints the landscape with warm hues, creating a picturesque scene, and winter transforms the falls into a frozen wonderland.

Where is Donut Falls?

Donut Falls is situated in Utah's Wasatch Mountains' stunning Big Cottonwood Canyon. The canyon itself is part of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, a vast protected area that encompasses a diverse range of landscapes and recreational opportunities.

The journey to Donut Falls begins from the Big Cottonwood Canyon Scenic Byway, one of Utah's most scenic drives. As you wind through the canyon, you'll be treated to stunning vistas of rugged peaks, verdant forests, and meandering streams.

The trailhead for Donut Falls is situated approximately 9 miles (14.5 kilometers) from the entrance of Big Cottonwood Canyon. To access the falls, you'll need to hike along a well-marked trail that meanders through the canyon's enchanting wilderness.

The drive to the trailhead is an adventure in itself, with plenty of opportunities to stop and admire the natural beauty that surrounds you. Keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls this area home, from soaring eagles and hawks to playful squirrels and chipmunks.

Once you arrive at the Donut Falls Trailhead, you'll find designated parking areas where you can leave your vehicle. From here, the trail begins its ascent, gradually leading you deeper into the heart of the canyon.

As you hike, you'll be immersed in the sights and sounds of nature. The trail is adorned with a variety of plant life, and the gentle babbling of the nearby creek accompanies you along the way. A burst of colour to the environment is provided by the wildflowers that bloom profusely throughout the spring and summer.

The trail's moderate difficulty level ensures that hikers of various skill levels can enjoy the journey. Families with children and novice hikers can embark on this adventure, making it a wonderful outing for everyone to enjoy.

After a rewarding hike of approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers), you'll reach the captivating Donut Falls. The sight of the water gracefully cascading through the circular opening in the rock is nothing short of mesmerizing. Take a moment to breathe in the fresh mountain air and relish the magic of this geological wonder.

How Long is Donut Falls?

The trail to Donut Falls stretches approximately 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) round trip. It's a manageable distance suitable for most hikers, including families with children.

Best Time to Visit Donut Falls

The best time to visit Donut Falls largely depends on your preferences and what you wish to experience:

Spring (April to June): Spring is a fantastic time to visit Donut Falls if you want to witness the valley come alive with an explosion of wildflowers. The trail is adorned with colorful blooms, creating a dreamy and picturesque atmosphere. However, be prepared for some potential mud and runoff due to melting snow.

Summer (July to August): Summer brings warm and pleasant weather, making it an ideal time for hiking and picnicking. The trail conditions are at their best during this period, and you can fully enjoy the refreshing sight and sounds of the waterfall. Just be aware that this is a popular time for visitors, so arriving early is advisable to beat the crowds.

Fall (September to October): Fall offers a spectacular display of autumn colors as the leaves change into hues of gold, red, and orange. The walk is more alluring because of the crisp air and cooler temps. It's a less crowded time to visit, allowing you to soak in the tranquility of the surroundings.

Winter (November to March): If you're a fan of winter wonderlands, visiting Donut Falls in winter can be a magical experience. The falls freeze into stunning ice formations, creating a fairy-tale-like setting. However, be cautious of icy and slippery conditions on the trail, and dress warmly to brave the cold.

How to Reach Donut Falls

Donut Falls is located within the Big Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. Here are the directions to reach Donut Falls by road:

From Salt Lake City: Start your journey from Salt Lake City and head southeast on I-215 E. Take exit 6 for 6200 S toward UT-190/Cottonwood Heights. Merge onto E 6200 S, and continue onto UT-190 E/Cottonwood Canyon Road.

Entering Big Cottonwood Canyon: Follow UT-190 E as you enter Big Cottonwood Canyon. Enjoy the scenic drive through the majestic mountains.

Arriving at Donut Falls Trailhead: After approximately 9 miles (14.5 kilometers) from the canyon entrance, you'll reach the Donut Falls Trailhead. Look for parking areas or designated spots to leave your vehicle.

Best Entry Point

The most commonly used entry point for the Donut Falls hike is the Donut Falls Trailhead. It is well-marked and easily accessible from the parking area. This entry point ensures you enjoy the full experience of the hike, from the captivating scenery to the rewarding waterfall at the end.

Activities at Donut Falls

Hiking and Trekking

For outdoor enthusiasts, Donut Falls presents an array of hiking and trekking opportunities. The trail to the falls is moderate and suitable for hikers of various skill levels. As you traverse the path, be prepared to be enchanted by the natural beauty that unfolds around every corner.

Picnicking and Relaxation

Pack a delightful picnic and find a serene spot by the falls to savor a meal amidst nature's embrace. The tranquil ambiance and the soothing sounds of the waterfall create a perfect setting for relaxation and bonding with loved ones.

Photography and Nature Observation

Photographers and nature enthusiasts will find a haven of photo-worthy moments at Donut Falls. From capturing the ethereal play of light on the cascading water to the delightful wildlife encounters, every frame tells a story of beauty and wonder.

Insider Tips for a Memorable Visit

Arrive Early: To enjoy the serenity and avoid crowds, plan to start your journey early in the morning.

Pack Accordingly: Bring essential supplies, including water, snacks, sunscreen, and a camera.

Respect Nature: Be a responsible visitor by following the principles of Leave No Trace and preserving the natural environment.

Check Weather Conditions: Be aware of weather forecasts and plan your visit accordingly, especially during inclement weather.

Be Mindful of Wildlife: Donut Falls is home to various wildlife; observe them from a distance and avoid disturbing their habitat.


In conclusion, Donut Falls is a spellbinding destination that captivates the hearts of all who venture here. The combination of natural beauty, adventure, and tranquility makes it a must-visit place for travelers seeking an extraordinary experience. Whether you're an avid hiker, a photography enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates the wonders of nature, Donut Falls has something magical to offer.

So, pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of Donut Falls. Let this hidden treasure of Utah be your next unforgettable adventure.