Hike past donut falls to the remains of an old mine shaft.
Cardiff Mine is located in Big Cottonwood Canyon, just outside Salt Lake City, Utah. This quiet area is unknown to the general public, and the trail branches off from a popular location called Donut Falls. The trail is a 6.3-mile round trip. It moderately increases in elevation over 2,018 feet. One of the best times to come is around mid-summer and early fall before the snow hits. However, snowshoeing to the location provides a breathtaking sight! Many hikers bring a walking stick with them to reach the mine.
The trail to Cardiff Mine starts at the Donut Falls parking lot and is about 0.6 miles to the fork. Take the right trail onto the maintenance road. The majority of the hike will follow this trail. There are private property signs along the sides of the road, so do not stray from the trail. The hike's steepest part is the first half mile that takes you through a forested area. You’ll be able to hear the stream traveling down to donut falls during that part.
After that, the trail will open up to a beautiful clearing filled with wildflowers. The trail will cross the canyon multiple times across the shallow parts of the stream. Finally, the mine shaft will pop up on the right side of the canyon. Many people carve their name into the wood as a memento, but be careful entering, as the shaft is very old and filled with rusted metal. A gathering place can be seen to the right of the top of the canyon, so the fun doesn’t have to end there.
To the south of the mine shaft, you will notice a climbing area with a wired rope. This area is not recommended for young children. There are many squirrels housed in the area, and about a dozen of them can be seen crossing the rocky area. To the east of the mine shaft across the canyon is a sealed entrance. A cool breeze can be felt just outside the dirt pile. Step carefully around here since old debris may cover the ground. The hike back is usually quicker and easier. This is a great trail for those that want more of a challenge.