Salt Lake Area Canyon Drives
The towering mountains surrounding Salt Lake City are bisected by steep canyons, and in these chasms you will find some of the area's best scenery and opportunities for outdoor adventure. This page focuses on canyon drives. Numerous smaller canyons offer hiking and some other recreational opportunities but are not drivable and so we haven't included them here.
Here's a map to help you locate these canyons.
Parleys Canyon, on the east side of the valley, is our most traveled canyon because it is the route for I-80, one of the area's main arteries. From the freeway you can see forested glens and inviting side roads. Mountain Dell Golf Course is located mid-canyon. East Canyon branches off to the north and provides a very scenic drive up to a small reservoir and state park. Lambs Canyon branches to the south. It is also scenic and provides access to a summer home area and several trailheads.
Little Cottonwood Canyon probably ranks second in terms of popularity. It leads east into the mountains to Snowbird and Alta ski resorts. Numerous campgrounds and trailheads can be found along the roadway. A small stream trickles through the canyon bottom and provides opportunity for some trout fishing. During mid-summer, spectacular banks fo wild flowers bloom in the Albion Basin at the top of this canyon.
Big Cottonwood Canyon leads to Brighton and Solitude ski resorts. It also offers many campgrounds, trailheads, and a small, fishable stream.
City Creek Canyon opens up from the north end of town, separating Capitol Hill from the Avenues area. Memory Grove is located in its mouth. It is very popular for hiking and biking.
Mill Creek Canyon penetrates the mountains on the east side of the Salt Lake Valley. It offers extensive hiking trails. During winter it is a popular spot for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Emigration Canyon also leads east into the mountains, providing access to hiking and biking trails. Hogle Zoo and This is the Place Heritage Park are located in its mouth. From the top of Emigration Canyon the road continues over the mountain and connects with East Canyon.
Butterfield Canyon is found to the southwest of Salt Lake Valley. It is popular for horseback riding, biking, hiking and bird watching.
Bingham Canyon, also to the southwest, terminates at Kennecott Copper Mine (world's largest open pit copper mine).
For more information about the surrounding area:
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