Cycle Big Cottonwood Canyon

Big Cottonwood Canyon

Distance: 28 miles roundtrip. Elevation gain: 3850 ft. Beautiful canyon road. Scenic. Abundant wildlife. Beautiful river and lake views. Easily accessible.

Big Cottonwood Canyon (BCC) is one of the longest rideable canyons in the Salt Lake City area, taking you from the base of the canyon to Brighton Ski Resort. Riders have the option to ride any length of the canyon, all of which will be visually rewarding.

There are 3 relatively steep sections in BCC. First, two miles up the canyon, you will climb to the Storm Mountain Camp Area. The ascent is only about a half mile, but the grade is 9-13%. Second, approximately 4 miles up from the mouth, you will approach the infamous "S" Curve. Beginning at the curve and continuing about 2 miles, the grade is relatively steep, thought not as steep as the Storm Mountain section. Following the 2nd steep section, you'll find yourself getting very comfortable on a stretch of very gradual climbing for about 5 miles to the Silver Fork Lodge, just before Solitude. This Solitude section is the last steep section and lasts about 2 miles, which will put you within eyesight of the Brighton Loop.

Elevation at the mouth of BCC is about 4,920 ft. After 14 miles of climbing, you'll reach Brighton at about 8,770 ft. Enjoy beautiful canyon and river views as you climb, and keep an eye out for wildlife. If you have the time, stop at Silver Lake on the west side of Brighton Loop once you reach the top.

If you've never done any climbing on your bike, don't start here. But if you've been riding a while, and enjoy a good climb, Big Cottonwood Canyon is a great ride.

Getting there: From the East I-215 belt route, take exit 6 for 6200 S, then travel east on 6200 S for approximately 1.8 miles to Big Cottonwood Canyon Rd. To increase the distance of your ride, start somewhere else in the valley. There is plenty of parking at the mouth of the canyon on the north side of the road.

Pack List

  • Bike
  • Helmet
  • Riding glasses
  • Water
  • Pump
  • Snack
  • Phone/camera
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Activities Cycling
Skill Level Advanced
Season Summer, Autumn
Features
Easy Parking
Forest
River
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Huge Scenic Climb

I live nearby and ride BCC a lot but I've only done the full ride to Brighton once. It's quite the climb but it's also beautiful. I've seen moose, especially at Silver Lake, along with other wildlife up the canyon. It's definitely worth the ride and not for beginners.


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