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Just half an hour’s drive from the Salt Lake City airport lies one of the most beautiful destinations in the state of Utah: Big Cottonwood Canyon. This 24-kilometre-long canyon is paradise for active travellers, hikers and nature lovers. In winter the area offers skiing, and in summer you can camp, fish and climb. Always surrounded by unique flora and fauna.
This vast empty canyon offers numerous attractions. There are 2 top ski resorts, Solitude and Brighton, as well as legendary climbing routes, mountain biking trails and plenty of delightful spots for a summer picnic. You will find hiking trails for all ages and levels of fitness, including excellent facilities for travellers with disabilities. The area also boasts beautiful lakes that attract sports fishers and water sports fans.
At the end of the 19th century, several hydroelectric power stations were built in Big Cottonwood Canyon to meet the growing energy demand of Salt Lake City. The Granite Power Station was originally built to supply power to the city’s new streetcar system. The Stairs Station Hydroelectric Power Plant provided electricity for the construction of the railway. Today, these power stations with their old-fashioned generators, substations and dams, have been designated historic monuments. They provide visitors with a great impression of Utah during the Industrial Revolution.
Even a short visit to the canyon is worthwhile. It only takes an hour to drive the Big Cottonwood Canyon Scenic Byway. If you have more time, we highly recommend stopping at the popular Storm Mountain picnic ground. Note the small amphitheatre dating from the 1930s that still hosts concerts. Or take a 5-kilometre walk to beautiful Lake Blanche, through green meadows and tree-covered hills. As the name says, the Solitude Ski and Summer Resort is open year-round.