Stairs Gulch Trail

HARD 97 reviews
#5 of 13 trails in

Stairs Gulch Trail is a 2.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Salt Lake City, Utah that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October.

2.5 miles
1,102 feet
Out & Back


rock climbing






over grown



no dogs

Stairs Gulch is an out and back trail located across Big Cottonwood Canyon Road from the Storm Mountain Amphitheater. There is no sign located at the trailhead but the trail is easy to spot from the road. It winds along side Stairs Gulch and a series of small waterfalls can be seen from numerous paths off the main trail. The trail ends at the river about .3 miles in but the river can be crossed a couple different times and adventurous hikers can continue. Be aware of your own skill and limitations.

1 month ago

It’s a steep trail, and it can be difficult to follow at times, but as long you follow the river you’re ok. It’s a fun hike with pretty good views.

2 months ago

Yes, it's a difficult hike/climb but it's very scenic. If you follow the creek all the way and make your own path you can get to the mountain top in a few hours at a leisurely pace.

3 months ago

Steep but relatively short trail. Multiple stream crossings, the trail is poorly marked as you go further up, then the canyon gets progressively narrower and more technical, had to finally turn around a bit before the end of the trail on the map. Went on a Sunday afternoon and saw no one on my way up, and just a handful of people on the way down, very quiet trail which was great.

4 months ago

My new favorite trail. In two hours we only came across 6 other people. Small beautiful waterfalls every where you look. Wild hops, pines, and minty plants made it smell as good as it looked.

4 months ago

Great short hike. Trail is hard to keep track of when you get further up in the canyon. Decided to go straight up the creek. Nice waterfall at the end.

4 months ago

Took the kids and only did a small section of the hike. It was quite steep in places, but even our short version had some spectacular views.

5 months ago

great short hike. mostly along river so it felt alot cooler. loose gravel was only hard part

6 months ago

Made it half way up with the whole family (the wife, 4yo, 2yo, newborn and my elderly mom). Needless to say we took it slow. It's a gradual uphill with some loose rock underfoot, the occasional boulder to navigate, and areas where the trail is overgrown. That being said, everyone was in good spirits and there were some great little pools and falls to stop and snack. We only saw one other hiker. I look forward to doing the full trail in the future.

6 months ago

I really like how secluded this trail is, hardly see anyone even on Sunday. It is beautiful near the water. Watch out for the stinging nettle and loose rocks on the trail though.

6 months ago

Nice trail, had a great view and the small waterfalls were nice. I had to scramble over it at some points when the trail was hard to spot. I definitely recommend waterproof boots with good grip.

7 months ago

Awesome trail. Very few people on it. You can basically hike up the creek the entire way. Lots of little waterfalls and plenty of pools of water you can have fun in. Very intense but rewarding hike. Bring shoes that have good tread and grip. They are definitely needed towards the end of the hike.

trail running
7 months ago

Amazing views but trail is heavily overgrown and footing is extremely loose. Not recommended for trail running. Would suggest hiking. Enjoy!

7 months ago

I've passed this trail for a few years and decided to give it a try today. So glad I did! It's so pretty! I would rate it as moderate, not hard. I like that the trail isn't marked, not so many people.

8 months ago

Great hike with beautiful small waterfalls and great views. A very territorial mountain goat lives up there and literally went out of its way to chase me and my hiking partner off the hill. So keep a look out!

8 months ago

This was a great hike. Love the waterfalls and river. There was still snow, but I still was in my running shoes. I would say it is not hard, but moderate for beginners.

9 months ago

Great out & back trail. It's been fairly warm here and the trail was relatively clear of ice and snow with the exception of a few patches. Crampons were not necessary, although we couldn't get all the way to the top due to high winds and lots of snow.

rock climbing
10 months ago


11 months ago

Beautiful. It's more of a moderate trail than a hard one. It is beautuful, irregardless.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A great trail. Not so hard. But sometimes you will have to climb on wet rocks and logs.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Very beautiful and very lightly trafficked even on a Saturday. We started walking/bouldering along the river about .5 miles up and then took the trail down. Going up took about 3x longer but seeing all the little waterfalls up close and getting wet was the best part. Did have a rattle snake encounter though.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Very steep, but lovely hike.

Friday, July 07, 2017

It's a good hike and definitely a cool destination, gotta watch out for the snakes though!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hard but definitely worth it

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Beautiful hike. Not really much of a trail once you get in a little bit. Had tons of fun jumping rock to rock following the stream up.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

I found the beauty here to be worth mentioning. we used the waterfall to climb a lot of it, not the trail. Super fun with my 4 year old.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Super fun, steep but not too hard

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Loved this trail!!

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Fun trail. Overgrown in places. A fairly steep trail with loose rock in places. A little bit of climbing and the river crossing was fun. Didn't quite make it to the end because the snow pack but a great short hike for the evening

Friday, June 03, 2016

Fun! Very steep and rocky in some places. River crossings . Prepare with bug spray and spf before , biting flies and lots of sun ! Not a long hike , but still a great one.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Loved this trail!! Crossing the river to get to the top was fun- if you don't have chaco's or hiking sandals don't worry, you can stay dry as you cross the river. The last part of the trail is still covered with snow and is beautiful!

Load More