The Best Canyons in Salt Lake City for Winter Recreation

  • Big Cottonwood Canyon
  • Little Cottonwood Canyon
  • Emigration Canyon
  • Millcreek Canyon
  • Ferguson Canyon

Winter in Salt Lake City, Utah usually means enjoying some of the best snow, beauty of the mountains in the west and the canyons near Salt Lake City. People often wonder if Salt Lake City is fun in the winter and what canyons are close to Salt Lake City. Of course Salt Lake City is fun in the winter and the best canyons in Salt Lake City for winter recreation are full of stunning views of the Wasatch and quiet snow covered cottonwood trees. The canyons in Salt Lake City are the place to go to enjoy the powder and what a Utah winter has to offer. Whether you are looking to spend the day at a world class ski resort, walk your dog in the woods, ascend a mountain peak or go cross country skiing, White Cloud Concierge has all the options for you. 

Top of big cottonwood canyon wasatch utah winter

Big Cottonwood Canyon

Big Cottonwood Canyon is one of the best canyons in Salt Lake City for winter recreation. Big Cottonwood Canyon is known for Solitude Mountain Resort and Brighton Ski Resort. Brighton is an excellent place to go skiing or snowboarding at night and the Solitude Nordic Center is the best place to go cross country skiing near SLC. The Solitude Nordic Center has groomed loops meandering through the forest and a larger open flat area for more novice cross country skiers.

Big Cottonwood Canyon is also one of the main entry ways to some of the most epic backcountry skiing in the Wasatch mountains. Make sure to educate yourself before going into the backcountry, have all your safety gear and check the Utah Avalanche Center for avalanche conditions.

Little Cottonwood Canyon

Little Cottonwood Canyon is another one of the best canyons in Salt Lake City for winter recreation which offers beginner backcountry ski touring and easy winter hikes near Salt Lake City. Just east of Cottonwood Heights, Little Cottonwood Canyon is home to two world class ski resorts: Snowbird and Alta Ski Area. With over 5,000 acres of skiable terrain Alta and Snowbird can keep you entertained on the mountain for an entire season. The two resorts are attached at the top of Mineral Basin, so if you have an ikon pass or an Alta/Bird pass you have access to all 5,000 acres of terrain. 

LCC is another popular spot for backcountry skiing. Grizzly Gulch and Emma Ridge are two of four simple ski tours in Little Cottonwood Canyon, but if you are looking for some more extreme lines check out skiing Mt. Superior. Make sure to bring a buddy and your beacon, shovel and probe. Go to the Utah Avalanche Center website for avalanche conditions and take the AIARE 1 Course to learn how to make smart decisions in avalanche terrain. 

little cottonwood canyon wasatch utah at night down canyon view

Emigration Canyon

Emigration Canyon is another one of the main canyons near Salt Lake City. Emigration Canyon is close to downtown SLC on the way to Park City. This is an excellent canyon to go snowshoeing or cross country skiing and is easily accessible due to its excellent snow removal services in the nearby neighborhoods. Check out Emigration Canyon for a quieter place to walk in the snowy woods with less crowds than the main SLC canyons with views of the mountains. 

Millcreek Canyon

If you are looking for other outdoor activities besides snowboarding and skiing, Millcreek Canyon is one of the best canyons in Salt Lake City for winter recreation. Every year from November to July the upper gate of Millcreek Canyon is closed to cars but open for outdoor recreation. The Millcreek Canyon road is groomed at least twice a week in the winter and several other trails in the canyon are ungroomed but open for recreation. The Millcreek Canyon fee is $5.00 a day per car or you can buy a Millcreek Canyon annual pass for $50.00.

The groomed Millcreek Canyon road is a great place for winter outdoor recreation such as snowshoeing, cross country skiing, fat biking or the beginning of a backcountry yurt trip to Big Water Yurt. There are other trails nearby that aren’t groomed if you want some more deep snow for snowshoeing or a less crowded place to go sledding with your kids.

The best canyons in Salt Lake City for winter recreation

Ferguson Canyon

Ferguson Canyon is located just south of Big Cottonwood Canyon in Cottonwood Heights and is the best place for winter dog walking. Since Big Cottonwood Canyon and Little Cottonwood Canyon don’t allow dogs, Ferguson Canyon is the place to go that is nearby and will offer beautiful views and a great place to walk your dog. This Canyon is a trailhead and is only accessible by foot. Consider bringing cramp-ons or snowshoes due to winter conditions and please pick up after your pups!

Take the time this winter season to check out the best canyons in Salt Lake City for winter recreation. These 5 canyons will have you coming back for more and can provide peace and tranquility in nature to recharge and rejuvenate. Make sure to make enough time to have fun this winter and get outside in the snow!

Learn about other winter outdoor recreation options to enjoy during the snowy months in Salt Lake City!