Cardiff Fork Trail is a 6.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Salt Lake City, Utah that features a great forest setting and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
cross country skiing
Directions from Salt Lake City: Follow Big Cottonwood Canyon Road (7000 South Wasatch Blvd.) about 8.8 miles up the canyon to Cardiff Fork (Mill D South Fork). Then 1 1/4 miles to the parking area. Trail starts out with the Doughnut Falls Trail and continues up the old mining road to the Cardiff Fork Mine.
Started this trail but wanted to hike all the way up to the ridge as shown on the US Topo map. There were some confusion as to which areas are private property, but we just stayed on the trail and didn't see a soul. Pretty strenuous getting up to the ridge for a flatlander like me, but it was a cool view once up there. One could use this as a way to get to Mt. Superior if desired. Not sure I'd do this again as there is no peak or lake at the end of the hike.
Zhou (Joe) Y.
I love this trail. I have always been interested in the abandoned mines that are scattered throughout this canyon.
Zhou (Joe) Y.
Shared the trail with Donuts Fall hikers in the first mile or two.
Slow and gradual ascent on a jeep trail all the way up the canyon. Some exposure to the sun along the way.
Several abandoned mines and buildings are scattered near the trail. There are also creeks and water along the way.
Enjoyed the trail until near the end. There are several private property signs on the road which are perplexing. While much is public land, some are private. Landowners there do not seem to be very friendly. According to Salt Lake Tribune, they had some disputes with the government about land use.
Lot of bugs in the summer.
The trails clear up to about 1/4 mile from the mine. Little snow but not a problem. After the mine it looked pretty heavy.
There are two streams to cross and it's tough not to get your feet soaked. This will calm down when the snow melts over I'm sure.
This is a great hike up to a beautiful cirque. Be sure to go clear up to Cardiff Fork Pass. Great view of both Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon. It was also interesting to seen the old mine buildings
Cardiff (or Mill D South) is a spectacular trail with loads of history to it. The mining was successful and the claims purchased. This is why there is a checkerboard of private and public land up there. The road is maintained nicely and so it is a great one for dirt road runs. There are plenty of 'no trespassing' signs, so please respect them. Also, this is often for safety as there are mine ruins all over. While running here I have seen all sorts of wild life including a cow moose with two calves blocking the road on my way back out. We had a Mexican standoff. Enjoy the mines and ruins from a distance, maintain the mystery. If backcountry skiing here be sure to look into what the locals know.
This is a nice hike year round. Be sure to have lunch at the mining ruins but be respectful of the historic structures. The hike above the mining camp reveals beautiful views of the surrounding canyons.
Hiked the trail from the road to Cardiff Pass which is 4.86 miles one way. Because we arrived at the trail-head betore 7:am we had to hike an extra .75 miles. Saw a Bull and Cow Moose. Also There were several ATV on the trail today and a couple of trucks parked at the Cardiff Mile. The basis above the Mine was full of wild flowers. The last climb to the pass is the steepest part of the trail
Great hike up an old but well maintained mining road. There are numerous tailings from old operations strewn along the way, with the Cardiff mine being the crowning jewel for those who make it to the top. Mid-June there were still areas of 3-4 foot snow crossing the road in areas of major shade. There is a lot of private property on this hike, please stay on the road and honor all posted signs, this will ensure future enjoyment for everyone!
Love this trail in the hip seasons of late fall and late spring. The colors are wonderful. Do be mindful, this trail does go over private land that the Forest Service has obtained permission for access to - aka keep to designated trails/roadway and obey the signs. The upper basin is also designated as a wildlife protection area. There are a few old mines and structures still remaining which offer photographic opportunity. These structures are posted as no trespassing and are unsafe.