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Exploring: Big Cottonwood Canyon

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The Big Cottonwood Canyon is a quick but popular escape for folks attempting to avoid the valley heat. There are a number of picnic areas and two campgrounds.  

Most of the picnic areas are located low in the canyon. The Dogwood PicnicMaybe you'll see a site like this! Area is the first you will encounter, this area is located approximately 1.1 miles past the electronic sign at the base of the canyon. The Dogwood crag is located nearby, many people pack a lunch and a rope. Group day use sites are available for reservation.

Ledgemere is up next, 1.4 miles past the sign. A number of picnic tables and grills cozy up next to the river. The Penetentiary crag is located just up the hill a bit.

The Birches picnic area is 1.7 miles from the sign, another area that cozies up next to the river.

Storm Mountain Island is probably the most developed picnic area in the Big Cottonwood Canyon. Picnic areas, playgrounds and sporting fields all abound.  There is some pretty good climbing located nearby as well. Located about 2.6 miles past the sign.  Group day use sites are reservable.

Moss Ledge is the highest of the picnic areas, located 4.9 miles past the sign. There are several nice hiking trails located nearby.

All of these picnic areas fill up rather quickly, expect to be eating your lunch with quite a few other people.

The two campsites in the canyon are both located at high elevation. Spruces is the lowest of the two, it sits at an altitude of 7100 feet, 9.4 miles from the sign. It can get a little chilly even in the summertime. Featuring 97 individual sites and 9 group sites, this is a pretty big campground. The sites vary from close together little plots to spaced out plantations. About half of the sites are reservable. Small tributaries of the creek wander throughout the campground. Nearby hiking trails lead off to Donut Hole Falls. Each individual site is $14.00 per vehicle, additional vehicles are $5.00.

The other campground in the canyon is probably the best. Redman campground is located 12.7 miles from the electronic sign, it sits at an altitude of 8100 feet. There are 39 sites available, don't believe the numbering. A few sites were taken out when they installed new bathrooms, not a bad tradeoff. The sites in the bottom loop of the campground are definitely better spaced, site #25 is the plum. Site #25 is located near the river segregated away from the rest of the loop.  Redman sites are $14 as well. 

The reservable sites in both of these campgrounds are usually taken well in advance. You've got to be there on a Thursday to ensure a "first come first served" site for the weekend. As I've said, this area is pretty popular with the valley folks.

Nearby Area: Little Cottonwood Canyon




Wasatch Front/Strawberry Valley Trail Map

Wasatch Front/Strawberry Valley Trail Map

More than just a map - National Geographic Trails Illustrated topographic maps are designed to take you into the wilderness and back. Printed on durable tear-resistant waterproof material this map can go anywhere you do! Each map is based on exact reproductions of USGS topographic map information updated customized and enhanced to meet the unique features of each area. Folded and printed on plastic for durability.

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