Snowshoeing is my favorite snowy sport. There are no high speeds, you aren’t likely to end up in the hospital, little kids can manage it, and the only equipment required is snowshoes, which are much cheaper to rent or buy than skis. This probably doesn’t sound super exciting to everyone, but check out our favorite places to snowshoe around Salt Lake City, and you might change your mind.
The still peace of white-tipped trees overhead and nothing but the quiet crunch of snow beneath your feet (and maybe a squeal or two from a small child)…that’s what we’re looking for.
Whether you are looking for a great snowshoe trail in Salt Lake City or just a good place to try your hand at snowshoeing, here are our votes for the best places to snowshoe around Salt Lake City.
This is our easy-peasy way to get kids on some snow. Millcreek Canyon is located on the east bench of Salt Lake City. In winter, the road up the canyon is closed and after a fresh snowstorm it will be covered in white fluff. It’s not flat, but it’s not terribly steep either. The summer road becomes a winter trail that is wide and pretty and tree-lined and perfect for kids.
This waterfall glitters with snow and ice in the winter, making it well worth the trek. This is a very popular summer hike in Big Cottonwood Canyon, but you’ll encounter fewer crowds in the snow.
In winter, the gate at the main canyon road leading to the Donut Falls trailhead is closed, meaning you’ll hike an extra mile more than you would in summer — but that extra mile is also very flat, creating a good practice trail if you are new to snowshoeing. If you make it all the way to the waterfall and back, Donut Falls is a 3.2-mile hike.
This lovely trail to Willow Lake is 2.4 miles out and back, but even if you don’t go the entire way, it’s a gorgeous trek through aspen groves. It’s as pretty in summer as it is winter, when you’ll share the trail with cross-country skiers. The trailhead for Willow Heights is located across from Solitude Ski Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon.
Soldier Hollow Nordic Center
Located in Midway, this former Olympic venue isn’t exactly in Salt Lake City, but it’s a great place to learn to snowshoe or cross country ski. There’s a groomed network of trails at Soldier Hollow Nordic Center, plus you can rent gear on-site.
Utah State Parks
It’s worth checking out Utah State Parks in your snowshoes. After all, you can pretty much snowshoe anywhere there’s enough snow, you know you won’t get lost, and you are aware of your avalanche danger. In particular, Wasatch Mountain State Park in Midway prides itself on its alpine trails that are appropriate for snowshoeing. After a snowstorm, Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake is another popular spot for snowshoeing.
If you are visiting a ski resort anyway, be aware that many of them have dedicated trails for snowshoers and cross-country skiers. Solitude Mountain Resort, Alta Ski Area, Snowbasin Mountain Resort, Park City Mountain Resort, and Sundance Mountain Resort all have dedicated trails. Usually their trails are reserved for guests of the resort or charge a fee. Solitude Nordic Center has easy trails around Silver Lake, but they charge a day pass fee.
Where to Rent Snowshoes in Salt Lake City
Like any gear, snowshoes run the gamut in price and quality, from the equivalent of a platinum Tiffany-cut engagement ring way down to that plastic ring you get out of the machine for a quarter. You probably don’t want to make that kind of investment before doing some research. If you just want to try out the sport, you can rent snowshoes at the following places:
- The University of Utah Outdoor Adventures Rental Shop — one of the least expensive options in town, if you have any friends or family that are students at or employees of the university.
- Canyon Sports
- A Nordic Center: Soldier Hollow or Solitude. You’ll usually pay a premium if you arrive here without gear.
- Some state parks. Wasatch Mountain State Park in Midway rents snowshoes at their Visitors Center, and they’re cheap.