Located in the Wasatch Range, Big Cottonwood Canyon is just 12 miles from Salt Lake City, and consists of 15 miles of incredible natural beauty. From hidden waterfalls to secluded caves, it is all-too-easy to fall in love with the incredible scenery that surrounds you at Big Cottonwood Canyon.
Donut Falls Hiking Trail
The Donut Falls hiking trail is one that is extremely popular with families, as it makes for the perfect introduction when it comes to taking children out on their first hike. Being just a three and a half mile round trip, this is an easy trail, especially since the path is wide with only a slight gain in elevation.
Desolation Lake features alpine terrain at its finest, with everything from pine and aspen trees to wildflowers to lush, open meadows and, of course, a serene lake. The only way to access the lake is by a hiking trail, but this is a well-maintained one, making the journey easy. Once at the lake, there is so much nature to explore, so be sure to bring along a few snacks, so that you can happily spend a few hours here.
Ledgemere Cave is located right at the Ledgemere Picnic Area, meaning that no hiking is needed to access it. However, the entrance to the cave is quite small, which is why many people tend to miss it. Once inside, the cave is large enough for an adult to stand up in, with a natural path that runs for about 75 yards before plunging into complete darkness, meaning that you will need to bring along a flashlight if you want to explore the whole cave.
Located right at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon, at the Brighton Ski Resort, Silver Lake is a beautiful place for a leisurely stroll. There is a boardwalk around the lake that is perfect for this, and you are likely to also spot some native wildlife, such as the moose that live here.
Wasatch Crest Trail
The Wasatch Crest Trail is a mountain biking trail that is actually a 20 mile section of the Great Western Trail, which runs 3000 miles from Canada all the way to Mexico. This is a trail that really captures the essence of mountain biking, and, when you can tear your eyes away from the track in front of you, you will be rewarded with panoramic views of the magnificent alpine architecture that your surroundings boast.
The S-Curves are a section of south-facing cliffs that are a popular rock climbing spot. There are a number of bolted routes to choose from here, each of which will provide you with one-of-a-kind views of Big Cottonwood Canyon. Within the S-Curves is an area known as The Piles, which is a small, scenic canyon that has a gurgling stream running through it, making it the perfect area to explore on a scorching hot day.
There are so many different parts to Big Cottonwood Canyon that are worth exploring, from the hiking trails meandering through the wilderness to the vast, alpine lakes. With so much natural beauty all around you, this is an area that you are bound to want to return to, time and time again.