Big Cottonwood Canyon

#10 in Best Things To Do in Salt Lake City
Big Cottonwood Canyon picture1 of 3
Big Cottonwood Canyon2 of 3
David Long/Getty Images

Key Info

Price & Hours

Free
24/7 daily

Details

Hiking, Sightseeing, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.1

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

About 30 minutes southeast of Salt Lake City, Big Cottonwood Canyon, located in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, is home to two ski resorts and is also a popular hiking, rock climbing and mountain biking area. Even if you don't get out of your car, you can take in the views on a scenic 15-mile byway leading through the canyon, which takes about one hour to complete.

Recent visitors said it is a beautiful drive. In the mid-1800s, miners sought gold and silver in the canyon and visitors can see the remains of old mines here and there. What's more, Solitude and Brighton ski resorts both offer full-service, year-round facilities. Plus, several hiking trails can be found at Brighton, leading to Twin Lakes, Lake Mary, Lake Martha and Dog Lake.

To reach Big Cottonwood Canyon from Salt Lake City, take Interstate 215 to the 6200 South "Canyons" exit and then continue east on Utah State Route 152, following signs to the ski resorts.

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More Best Things To Do in Salt Lake City

Temple Square1 of 14
Great Salt Lake2 of 14
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Temple Square

Temple Square's three-block, 35-acre plaza is home to nearly 20 attractions related to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's anchored by the towering Salt Lake Temple – where, among other things, weekly meetings of the church's governing bodies are held – and other fascinating buildings like the expansive Tabernacle and the Gothic-style Assembly Hall, which offer insight into the history and development of the church. You should also stop by the Family History Library, the largest genealogy library in the world. Once you've toured the sites, stroll through the square's scenic gardens and past the gurgling fountains.

Recent travelers recommend taking a free, guided tour of the square and also mention that you don't have to be particularly religious to find it of interest. Tours are not scheduled, but knowledgeable docents are available every day between 9 a.m. and 4, 7 or 8 p.m., depending on the month. Tours begin on the hour and meet at the flagpole west of the temple. Visitors are also welcome to attend the Sunday morning concerts in the Tabernacle, as well as the Thursday evening choir rehearsals (7:30 p.m.), both put on by the renowned Tabernacle Choir.

Read more
Jason Mathis/Salt Lake City Convention & Visitors Bureau
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