Winter Outdoor Recreation in Millcreek Canyon

  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Fat Bikes
  • Backcountry Yurt Trips
  • Sledding
  • Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding

Winter in Salt Lake City is known for an abundance of ski and snowboard resorts located in the Wasatch and Park City, but Salt Lake City offers many other winter outdoor recreation options. The Millcreek Canyon trails, located a short drive from downtown SLC, are known for winter recreational activities where many people from the valley enjoy the Wasatch mountains in the snow.

Every year from November to July the upper gate of Millcreek Canyon is closed to cars but open for outdoor recreation. Winter outdoor recreation in Millcreek Canyon is convenient because the Millcreek Canyon road is groomed at least twice a week in the winter. Several other trails in the canyon are ungroomed but open for recreation as well. The Millcreek Canyon fee is $5.00 a day per car or you can buy a Millcreek Canyon annual pass for $50.00.

Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-country skiing is one of the most popular forms of winter outdoor recreation in Millcreek Canyon. Since the road is groomed regularly it is an excellent place to cross-country ski and includes both nordic and skate ski tracks. The Millcreek Canyon Winter Gate trail is an out and back 3.5 mile trail consisting of roughly 1,000 feet of elevation gain. This is one of the most popular routes for cross-country skiing in Salt Lake City so it can be heavily trafficked. The lower half of the trail regularly gets busy, but the upper section above Elbow Fork is generally more quiet.


The groomed trail above the gate in Millcreek Canyon is also a great place for snowshoeing. Keep your eyes out for skiers and bikers moving at a faster pace, but if you’re seeking more of a workout, test out one of the ungroomed Millcrek Canyon hikes nearby to break a sweat. All the trails in the canyon are dog friendly so bring along your furry friends, but remember to keep them on a leash at all times.

Fat Bikes

Fat Biking is an excellent form of winter outdoor recreation in Millcreek Canyon. Enjoy winter fat biking in Millcreek Canyon at the upper gate trail where the packed snow will provide an easy adventure through the snowy forest. If you’re interested in a quick ride before or after work take your fat bike to Millcreek Pipeline Trail. This is an intermediate ride with some steep hills and expansive views of the Salt Lake valley and the Wasatch mountains.

Backcountry Yurt Trips

The Big Water Yurt is 4.5 miles past the upper gate of Millcreek Canyon. The yurt is available for reservation from December 1st to April 30th every year. The Big Water Yurt is only accessible by ski or snowshoe, so book ahead of time and enjoy a human-powered rustic winter experience. The hut can sleep up to 8 people and has 2 double bunk beds, a vault toilet and a wood burning stove. The cost to book for one night is $75 and it is a great option for a winter weekend trip in the backcountry. 


Bring the whole family sledding in Millcreek Canyon. Take a right on South Porter Fork road before the upper winter gate to go sledding on Porter Fork trail with your kids. Take a few short sledding runs at the beginning of the trailhead with your little ones or hike a while for a longer extreme sledding experience for more of a thrill. 

Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding

There are many options for backcountry skiing and snowboarding throughout Millcreek Canyon. It’s very easy to access some epic backcountry terrain off the Millcreek Canyon road with short hikes to open bowls, steep chutes and evergreen tree runs. Remember to bring a buddy, all of your avalanche safety gear and pay attention to the current conditions. Make sure to check the Utah Avalanche Center before traveling in the backcountry and we also recommend taking the AIARE 1 Course. This course will help you learn more about how to make smart decisions in avalanche terrain.

Get outside and enjoy the wide variety of activities that are waiting for you in Millcreek Canyon this winter. The leaves are turning and winter is right around the corner. Start to get your cross country skis out from storage and make a reservation at the Big Water Yurt before spaces fill up.

If you want more time to spend outside doing what you love this winter, reach out to us as White Cloud Concierge. We can help you with your to-do list that is stacking up and get you scheduled for a ski tune, a house cleaning or a car detailing. Check out for a full list of our services and to reach out for a booking and learn about other winter outdoor recreation options in Salt Lake City!