Little Cottonwood Canyon lies just a few miles south of Big Cottonwood Canyon. While Little Cottonwood is a bit smaller than its big brother Big Cottonwood, there are still a lot of great hikes for families. We love exploring this beautiful canyon in Salt Lake in Spring, Summer or Fall (and sometimes winter).
Here are 7 hikes in Little Cottonwood Canyon that we have done with our family. Read more about each of these hikes by clicking on the individual links. They have our ratings and tips for each hike.
Temple Quarry Trail
Temple Quarry Trail is right at the bottom of Little Cottonwood Canyon. This simple trail is paved and easy, so it’s perfect for all families. The tall granite mountains are where stone was cut for the Salt Lake Temple, and there are signs that tell part of that story. We love visiting here in the Fall because the leaves are beautiful colors. It also makes a great stop on Pioneer Day.
This is the hike we recommend most to people because the trail is so short. It’s only 10 minutes to the waterfall. The hike is easy but still feels like a hike, and the waterfall is unique because it comes down the mountain sideways. We love visiting Lisa Falls and have done this hike in all seasons, even winter.
Cecret Lake is a beautiful clear lake at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon, but it is also the busiest hike in the canyon. There is limited parking, too, so go early to get a spot, or be prepared to wait for a spot. We always spot salamanders in the little lake, and we’ve seen plenty of wildlife along the trail.
Observation Point Trail at Snowbird
This trail used to be called Barrier Free Trail, but it got a new name. Observation Point begins behind the Snowbird activity center. It is paved and easy, and ends at an observation deck that overlooks the canyon. We have seen moose and deer on this hike, as well as squirrels and a few species of birds.
Gloria Falls is a beautiful hidden waterfall. This trail is uphill, but doable for families. There is also a little bushwhacking involved to find the waterfall, so make sure to read the directions on our post because this waterfall is worth seeing.
Little Cottonwood Trail
We enjoyed hiking Little Cottonwood Canyon Trail in winter. This trail begins at the Temple Quarry Trailhead and heads up the canyon to the Tanner Flats Campground. There are a few spots you can hop on and off along the canyon road, and one is by Lisa Falls. Though the trail is quite long, there are many short sections that are beautiful.
Bell Canyon Reservoir
Bell Canyon Reservoir lies near the bottom of Little Cottonwood Canyon, and so it’s not quite inside the canyon. This is definitely a popular place to hike, and the reservoir is so pretty. The trail climbs a little at the beginning, but most families could make this hike pretty easily.
We will keep sharing our favorite hikes in Little Cottonwood Canyon as we explore more trails. We have a list of our favorite trails in Big Cottonwood Canyon, too.