Hiking Big Cottonwood Canyon: A Guide to Utah’s Outdoor Adventure

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Are you looking for a breathtaking hiking adventure in Utah? Big Cottonwood Canyon is a stunning destination that offers numerous hiking trails that are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. In this guide, we’ll take you through the best  trails in Hiking Big Cottonwood Canyon, where to start your adventure, what to pack, and everything you need to know to have a memorable hiking experience.

Hiking Big Cottonwood Canyon

Hiking Big Cottonwood Canyon is located in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah and is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The canyon is known for its stunning scenery, picturesque waterfalls, and the numerous hiking trails that offer various levels of difficulty. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, there’s a hiking trail for everyone in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Location and How to Get There

Hiking Big Cottonwood Canyon is located about 12 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, Utah. To get there, take I-215 east to the 6200 South exit, then turn east on U-152, which will take you directly into the canyon. There are parking lots available throughout the canyon, but it’s recommended to arrive early, especially during peak season, as parking spots fill up quickly.

Best Time to Visit Big Cottonwood Canyon

The best time to visit Big Cottonwood Canyon is from June to September when the weather is mild, and the hiking trails are open. During these months, the wildflowers are in full bloom, and the scenery is at its best. It’s important to note that the canyon is prone to flash floods during monsoon season, which occurs from July to September, so it’s crucial to check the weather forecast before starting your hike.

Popular Hiking Trails in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Lake Blanche Trail

The Lake Blanche Trail is a 6.8-mile round trip hike that takes you through stunning scenery, including wildflowers, waterfalls, and an alpine lake at the end. The trail is considered moderate to strenuous and has an elevation gain of 2,760 feet.

Donut Falls Trail

The Donut Falls Trail is a 1.5-mile round trip hike that takes you to a picturesque waterfall that cascades through a hole in the rock, resembling a donut. The trail is relatively easy and suitable for families with children.

Dog Lake Trail

The Dog Lake Trail is a 6.2-mile round trip hike that takes you through stunning scenery, including wildflowers, pine trees, and an alpine lake at the end. The trail is considered moderate and has an elevation gain of 1,700 feet.

Brighton Lakes Trail

The Brighton Lakes Trail is a 4.4-mile round trip hike that takes you to three picturesque alpine lakes, including Lake Mary, Lake Martha, and Lake Catherine. The trail is considered moderate and has an elevation gain of 1,327 feet.

Mount Raymond Trail

The Mount Raymond Trail is a 4.4-mile round trip hike that takes you to the summit of Mount Raymond, which offers stunning panoramic views of the Wasatch Mountains. The trail is considered strenuous and has an elevation gain of 3,046 feet.

Safety Tips When Hiking in Big Cottonwood

When hiking in Big Cottonwood Canyon, it’s essential to take necessary safety precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Check the weather forecast before starting your hike, as the canyon is prone to flash floods during monsoon season.
  2. Carry enough water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized throughout your hike.
  3. Wear appropriate hiking shoes and clothing, including sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
  4. Stick to designated hiking trails and avoid exploring off-trail areas, as they can be dangerous and unstable.
  5. Carry a first aid kit and a map of the area in case of emergencies.
  6. Let someone know your hiking plans, including the trail you’ll be taking and your expected return time.
  7. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings, as wildlife such as bears and moose can be present in the area.

By following these safety tips, you can enjoy a safe and unforgettable hiking experience in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

What to Bring When Hiking in Big Cottonwood Canyon

When hiking in Big Cottonwood Canyon, it’s important to bring the right gear and supplies to ensure a comfortable and safe experience. Here’s a list of essentials to pack for your hike:

  1. Plenty of water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized throughout your hike.
  2. Hiking shoes with good traction and ankle support.
  3. Sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
  4. A lightweight jacket or rain poncho in case of sudden weather changes.
  5. Insect repellent to keep bugs at bay.
  6. A backpack to carry all your essentials, including a first aid kit, a map of the area, and a fully charged cell phone.
  7. A camera to capture the stunning scenery and unforgettable moments.

Leave No Trace Principles

When hiking in Big Cottonwood Canyon, it’s important to follow the Leave No Trace principles to protect the environment and preserve the natural beauty of the area. Here are the seven principles:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare.
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
  3. Dispose of waste properly.
  4. Leave what you find.
  5. Minimize campfire impact.
  6. Respect wildlife.
  7. Be considerate of other visitors.

By following these principles, you can help maintain the beauty and natural resources of Big Cottonwood Canyon for generations to come.

Conclusion

Big Cottonwood Canyon is a hiking paradise that offers stunning scenery, picturesque waterfalls, and numerous hiking trails that cater to all skill levels. By following the safety tips, bringing the right gear, and adhering to the Leave No Trace principles, you can enjoy a safe and unforgettable hiking experience in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

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