When I planned my trip to Salt Lake City I told my brother Bruce that the trip was all about baby Liam but I did want to squeeze in one short hike. I told him a quick one, no more than half a day so he took me out to Cottonwood Canyon (I can’t remember is he said it was the Big or Little one) to hike to Donut Falls.
Bruce lives in a suburb west of SLC called Jordan and it still only took us 30 minutes to get to the trailhead and that was with a stop at Coffee & Cocoa for the BEST cold brew I’ve ever had (sorry Wiener’s)! I keep singing SLC’s praises because of the proximity to the Wasatch mountains and I thought they were pretty in January when I’ve come for snowboarding during New Year’s but they are simply STUNNING in the summer! I love the Rockies fiercely but there is just something about a lush green mountainside.
We drove up the Canyon for a little bit where we passed tons of runners and cyclers and I knew I would be doing the same thing if I lived there. Cottonwood Canyons the neighbourhood is the “ritzy” neighbourhood and I told Bruce I would live in a basement or a studio apartment if it meant being so close to the mountains.
We finally found the trailhead and after consulting a trail map Bruce and I headed up a paved road. Along the paved road were cabins and driveways to cabins which I thought would be amazing. All the driveways and gates all had “Private Property” and “Do not park” signs up and I thought they could have slightly nicer signs. After my experience with accidentally trespassing I can understand wanting to keep people off but why not get a sign that says “Please don’t block our block our driveway” or “This is Private property but enjoy the public trail just up ahead.” Maybe I’m too much of a Pollyanna. (P.S. Does anyone get the Pollyanna reference?)
At the top of the little hill we walked up was the true trailhead but there is very little parking so I was glad we parked below and walked up.
The first thing I noticed was all the little kids! This is definitely a family hike because Bruce and I were some of the only hikers heading up there without very young children. There was no climbing so Bruce and I chatted freely as we walked along at a brisk pace.
All of a sudden the path stops at a creek and you have to climb down a couple rocks to turn the corner to continue on the path.
Cottonwood Canyons provides SLC with drinking water and so they have signs everywhere asking you not to swim or wade in the water and contaminate it. So Bruce and I had to cross the creek by stepping on logs and rocks and trying not to fall in.
Once we got to the bottom of the falls I wanted to climb up to get a better view. You can sort of see it at the bottom but not enough for my liking.
We stepped along the rocks to get to the side that looked easier to climb and I had a blast pretending I was a mountain goat climbing up the uneven, rocky terrain.
We got to the very top and looked down at the water running into the hole at the top of cave ( hence the name Donut Falls).
Then we went down and looked at the inside of the cave and the water running in through the top.
It was a really cool spot but the climbing to get up there was pretty difficult and though the hike to the falls is great for kids, I wouldn’t suggest trying to climb up the side with them. I was trying to show Bruce how to crouch low and use your hands “like a puma” to get down safely.
It was funny because on the hike back down there was a girl carrying a box of donuts and I told Bruce “Why would you want to hike carrying that?” and then it dawned on us, they were going to eat donuts at Donut Falls! Ha ha!
After the hike we were driving back down the canyon and I made Bruce stop at this amazing little mountain that was right next to the road. We climbed up to check out the view of the area. I love to climb and so it was fun hopping around on those little ledges and then overlooking the top down onto the road below.
We sat and chatted until the hot rock started to burn my thighs and headed back down. We had an adorable baby to get home to.
I highly recommend this hike for everyone in the area because it’s so simple and gets you outside and enjoying nature.