Cardiff Fork is a great Wasatch backcountry tour, located in Big Cottonwood Canyon up Mill D South. Cardiff Fork can also be reached from Little Cottonwood Canyon. Approaching Cardiff Fork from the Big Cottonwood side is definitely takes a lot longer than the approach from the Little Cottonwood side, but that just means more time in the mountains and who doesn't want that? Cardiff offers a wide variety of wide open bowls and awesome chutes. 

Drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon until you reach the Mill D South parking lot (aka Donut Falls parking). Head up the main road until you reach the bathrooms at the Donut Falls trailhead. Here you can either keep straight past the bathrooms, but the best way to go is to keep right along the road. You will follow this skin track and along the way you will pass a cabin and an old abandoned mine. Once you get to the basin of Cardiff, you can either keep straight along the Power Line ridge, or you can hang a right and skin up into Cardiac Bowl. Power Line will take you up to the ridge between Little and Big Cottonwood Canyon giving you an awesome view of the Wasatch. Overall elevation gain is about 2,880 feet with a max elevation of 10,148 feet.

If you are approaching from Little Cottonwood, it cuts the trip in half distance-wise and vertical feet gained. The trailhead in Little Cottonwood is the Central Alta Trailhead which takes you up to Cardiff Pass.

Make sure to check to avalanche forecast for the day before you ever travel in the backcountry. Know before you go!

Pack List

  • Backcountry Skis/Split Board with touring skins
  • Boots
  • Puffy Jacket
  • Shell
  • Snow pants
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Avalanche Beacon
  • Avalanche Probe
  • Avalanche Shovel
  • Helmet
  • Goggles
  • Snack
  • Water
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RT Distance 4 Miles
Activities Snowboarding, Photography, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Hiking
Skill Level Advanced
Season Spring, Autumn, Winter
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Romantic
Scenic
Wildlife

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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