Little Cottonwood Canyon
One of the two largest canyons within the mountains that tower above the city, the somewhat misnamed Little Cottonwood takes adventurers up to big mountains and impressive resorts.
EAT & DRINK
In Alta (alta.com), The Shallow Shaft (shallowshaft.com), independently owned for 47 years, offers spectacular views and an adventurous menu featuring locally sourced ingredients and an award-winning wine list, or get casual comfort food at the Rustler Lodge. The sprawling Snowbird Summer Resort (snowbird.com) offers a wide range of dining options, including El Chanate’s authentic Mexican dishes and award-winning tequila menu. But, the two nest dining experiences are the elegant Aerie, offering an eclectic menu ranging from local game to freshly flown-in sashimi, and newly opened The Summit on Hidden Peak—this ultimate mountain-top restaurant offers outdoor decks. Sports fans can kick back in the sprawling Tram Club, under the tram deck, that features a patio with amazing sunset views. It’s best to check ahead with all restaurants to plan around seasonal changes in hours.
Just beyond Alta lies the Albion Basin with its network of alpine trails to challenge every level of hiker. In late summer, the paths roll through acres of wild flowers that change to colorful leaves for fall hikes. Hidden Falls Trail is especially kid friendly. Snowbird offers a barrier-free trail that allows wheelchairs to access an overlook of the canyon down to Salt Lake Valley. The Mountain Coaster, the Alpine Slide, a climbing wall and a ropes course are all summertime-only Snowbird mountain experiences. Or enjoy the breathtaking 80-mile vistas from the top of Snowbird’s 11,000-foot tram.
The mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon is accessed by the I-215 Belt Route and Wasatch Boulevard.
WHAT THE LOCALS KNOW
Dick Bass, the co-founder of Snowbird, was the first person to climb the highest point on each of the seven continents.