If you can walk, you can snowshoe. Really! There is nothing technical about it, the equipment is not too
expensive or complicated (basically just oversized webbed-feet) and most of the easy hiking trails in our
wonderful Wasatch Mountains are still great for walking when they are covered with snow.
Depending on your skills and energy level, just about any trail will do. But here are a few favorites
to get you started.
- Solitude Nordic Center
Sometimes it's easier (and safer – remember to always be conscious of avalanche danger when venturing out into t
he trees) to go somewhere where you know you will not be alone. The Solitude Nordic Center rents equipment and
offers trail maps and posted signs. Stay on the flat trail around the lake, or venture up higher into the
wilderness for a more strenuous walk. The center is almost at the end of the Big Cottonwood Canyon road, just
after the road becomes a one-way loop and just before Brighton Ski Resort.
- Mill Creek Canyon
Closed to vehicles part way during the winter months, this trail is popular for dog walking (only on certain days),
cross country skiing and easy snowshoeing. Since the trail is simply a snow-covered (and groomed) road, this walk
will be very easy and a good one to try to see if this snowshoe walking is the thing for you. Just hit the road
and go up as far as you want to.
- Dog Lake
The easier or Mill Creek Canyon trailhead is several miles past where the road is closed to vehicles, so if
you want to hike to this frozen-over and snow-covered lake, you will have to go the Big Cottonwood Canyon side.
The round trip is about 2 1/2 miles and takes off about 9 miles into Big Cottonwood Canyon , designated
as "Mill D North" trailhead. The first part is gentle but gets kind of steep for the last half mile.
- Little Cottonwood Canyon Trail
This is another nice and easy trail that starts just behind the electronic sign at the mouth of Little Cottonwood
Canyon. It is a gradual climb that parallels the road and Little Cottonwood Creek. Ice formations along this trail
should be fantastic.
- Scott's Pass
The trailhead starts at the gated end of the Guardsman's Pass road just before Brighton Ski Resort. You'll
have to share the first part of the journey as this is also a popular snowmobile area.
These are all great suggestions for getting started in this sport. For more advanced routes, you could
check out www.SnowShoeUtah.com.
IF you don't have your own equipment, there are several places where you can rent:
- Solitude Nordic Center (http://www.skisolitude.com/winter/nordic_center.php)
- Utah REI Stores: (2 locations in Utah : REI.com )
- Canyon Sports (5 locations in Utah : http://www.canyonsports.com )
- Soldier Hollow (http://www.soldierhollow.com/snow_shoeing.php)
And, as with any snow sport, be sure to be aware of the weather conditions before heading out, take appropriate
gear and water for the trail you decide on, and don't go into the backcountry alone.