Millcreek Canyon in winter
The massive Wasatch Mountains that border the Salt Lake Valley to the east make wayfinding extremely easy and they leave SLC kids who move to Kansas utterly hopeless without a compass. The four Salt Lake City ski resorts are in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons at the south end of the Salt Lake Valley. Move one slot north of those and you’re in Millcreek Canyon, the quiet little V-shape God carved for nordic skiers, snowshoers, skate skiers, fatbikers, yurt-heads and dogs.
The Forest Service closes the winter gate (about 10 minutes up the canyon) from November 1 to July 1. There’s a parking lot at the gate and you can cross-country ski (etc.) on the groomed canyon road until you reach Big Water Yurt (4.5 miles each way / 1,240 feet of elevation), or you can take one of the trails that branch off the road above or below the gate, like Pipeline (5.5 mi. / 800 ft.), Terraces/Elbow Fork (2 mi. / 1,020 ft.), Alexander Basin (2.6 mi. / 1,600 ft.), Grandeur Peak (3.4 mi. / 2,299 ft.) or Burch Hollow (2.8 mi. / 1,210 ft.).