I like doughnuts. I like falls. Makes sense to go check out Donut Falls located in the Wasatch mountain range of Utah!!! This hike is a 3.5 mile loop which you can make as easy or as hard as you want to. The trail up to the falls is nice and flat with little elevation gain. However, if you’re not used to the mountainous elevation (about 7,500 feet), you’ll probably reflect back to this blog and think, “WTH was the clueless wanderer on about? I need oxygen!” As a native of the east coast for the last 16 years, I refrained from talking too much to my hiking companion as I didn’t want him to think I was a mouth-breather. Gross…or sexy, if that’s your thing.
To get to Donut Falls, you would drive coming from the I-215, turn left on Big Cottonwood Road and the parking lot will be about nine miles up the road on your right at the Mill D Trailhead. Take a right towards the Jordan Pines picnic area. You’ll pass private summer homes on your way to the trailhead parking lot. Follow the signs to Donut Falls and you’ll know you’re there when you see bathrooms to your left. This is the last parking area, so if it’s peak season, I would suggest parking where you can find it and hiking up to the trailhead. I don’t remember how far the parking areas are spaced, but consider it a good warm up hike! Let’s be positive, people!!!Donut Falls is an all season designated hike. People even go snowshoeing in this area! However, it is a very touristy location. If you don’t like crowds, be sure to go during non-peak times like during the week, early AM, or late in the day. Also, your furry bestie isn’t allowed as it’s considered a “watershed” area.
We arrived a few days after we heard it had snowed in the Wasatch Range. Knowing it had snowed, I was expecting it to be muddy and remnants of the snowy goodstuff to still be on the ground. However, for some odd reason, I still wore sneakers and not boots. Clueless, I know.
It was a nice stroll up to the falls, intermittent mouth-breathing aside, and the aspens were glorious! I love the way the leaves on these trees seem to shiver in the breeze. It was a little overcast, but when the sun would come out to play, my senses were bathed in a golden glow emanating from the leaves.We knew we were close to the falls when we had to traverse a shallow stream. My friend, who we shall call Phil (because that is his name – no aliases here!), had told me he was here previously and the water rushing through was so high that his party was unable to reach the falls.
Once we had crossed the stream, I looked up and could see where the water disappeared into a small cave-like structure. “Want to head up?”, Phil asked as the steep, rocky terrain loomed up 100 feet before us. “Hell, ya!”, I exclaimed.
After some pirouette-ing with feline prowess and a gymnast’s lack of fear, we were at the falls! Seriously, that’s how it went down! (…) Okay, I scrambled, I slipped, I did the splits once or twice, but it doesn’t matter how you get there, as long as you get there. Whether gracefully or gauchely, it doesn’t matter.
If I thought the view from below was amazing, I was awed by the view inside the cave. It was like mother nature said you need to have the best standing shower ever and so I will cut this huge hole above this cave. You will stand in a pool of fresh, clean glacier water as the stone walls surround you from the prying eyes of the pervy animals and you will revel in what I have made!
After being silly and taking our shoes off to stroll closer to the falls for a better angle, we decided to hike up above the falls to see where it took us. For those adventuresome at heart, you need to go above the falls. I wouldn’t take any children with me as there were definitely steep areas and we had to do some free climbing to traverse on. We kept going until we hit a steeper section of rock and decided to turn around because it would be dark soon enough.
With wet feet, and happy hearts, we made it to the car to head over to another trailhead in the area. Yes, we had initially turned around to beat the twilight, but when you’re in love with the outdoors, and it’s just begging you not to leave, you can’t.
Much love and Aloha,
your wet-footed clueless wanderer
Originally published 12/28/2016: http://hikelikeawoman.net/