Hidden Falls – Big Cottonwood Canyon

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Hidden Falls located up Big Cottonwood Canyon, is a very short hike to a beautiful fall and passes a fenced off old mine along the way. Since it’s just a two minute walk from Big Cottonwood Canyon Road and the parking area, there’s no reason not to make a quick stop here on your way to any other destination up the canyon!

Hidden Falls Hike Details

Distance – 0.25 miles roundtrip
Approximate hiking time – 15-30 minutes
Elevation at trailhead – 6220 feet
Elevation at Hidden Falls – 6273 feet
Elevation gain – 53 feet
Difficulty – Easy
Trail – Dirt and rock
Amount of water recommended – 1 liter
Bathrooms – None
Season to hike – Late March to early November
Permits – None needed
Pets – Not permitted

How to get there:

If coming from Salt Lake City, or from south of Salt Lake City, you’ll take I-15 to I-80 East. Stay on I-80 East for 5.0 miles. Take I-215 South Belt Route (Exit 128) Continue on I-215 for 5.0 miles, and then take Exit 6 for 6200 South (which will quickly turn into S. Wasatch Blvd.) You’ll be on this road for 1.7 miles, where you’ll see signs for Big Cottonwood Canyon. At your first four-way stoplight you’ll turn left (East) onto Big Cottonwood Canyon Road. Follow Big Cottonwood Canyon Road for 4.4 miles. You will enter a tight “S” curve and you will see a small parking lot inside one of the “S” curves. It’s easy to miss so be sure to slow down upon entering the “S” curve. The parking lot can hold about 10-12 cars. (See my Google Map for this hike at the end of this post)

Hitting the Trail

Hidden Falls

The trail to Hidden Falls starts to the right of this sign and leads to the road. Carefully cross the road.

Hidden Falls

The steps on the right will not lead you to Hidden Falls. To the left of the rock in the center is the trail to Hidden Falls

As you leave the small parking area, you will need to cross the road and head north. You’ll see this sign, and you’ll follow the steps up to the road, where you’ll safely cross it. The cars coming from your right are sometimes really moving fast so be sure to practice safe road rules and look both ways. I don’t want you getting clipped before you even start the hike! Once you safely cross the road, you confronted with a choice, as you will see some steps to the right. Don’t take these steps! This is the wrong way! Instead, go straight ahead. You may even see the falls from this spot. The trail that goes straight stays to the right of the creek flowing from Hidden Falls.

The trail is literally only 150 feet in length before you reach Hidden Falls. Right before you arrive at the falls you will see a fenced up entrance to an abandoned mine. It was pretty cool, yet also a little creepy to peer into the small dark mine. The hike literally takes two minutes to reach Hidden Falls. The falls, over hundreds of years, has cut an opening between the rocks which showcase strength and power of water. The best time to go is in April and early May since the flow of the falls will be at their most impressive. I had the place all to myself, but on the weekends it’s common to have dozens of people make the short walk to the falls. The trail offers nothing difficult to get there, although your shoes may get a little wet if you’re careless.

Hidden Falls

Hidden Falls is the most impressive during the Spring snowmelt.

I thought Hidden Falls was great, and in the summer when the flow has diminished, children can walk right to the base of the falls. Note that this is a watershed area and dogs are not permitted. This can be a very picturesque waterfall, and I would recommend about mid day for the best pictures. Hidden Falls is a great little warmup for other longer hikes up Big Cottonwood Canyon, or can be a relaxing cool down after a long day of hiking. Either way, it’s a hidden gem that a surprising number of people don’t know about and drive right by. Congratulations, you’re not one of those people anymore!

What to Bring
(Click on an item for more information)

Enjoy the hike!

Hidden Falls

This fenced off abandoned mine is to the right of trail just before the falls

Hidden Falls

This is a shot of the inside of the mine taken through a small opening. Never enter abandoned mines!

 

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About Author

Adam is an experienced hiker and canyoneer, who has visited some of the most breathtaking and remote places in the United States. As an instructor for Desert and Wilderness Survival, and for Leave No Trace camping practices, he shares his passion and respect for the outdoors to all. Adam is currently a Scoutmaster in the Boy Scout of America, and is an Eagle Scout. As the founder of www.yourhikeguide.com, his goal is to educate others on the joys of hiking.