Little Cottonwood Trail

Sandy, UT
Length: 6.00 mi.
Type: Out & Back

About This Trail

[Total: 3    Average: 4.7/5]

The Little Cottonwood Trail is a lot of fun. It’s on the long side at 6 miles roundtrip, but you can hike as far or as little as you or your kids will handle. While it is uphill the whole way into the canyon, it’s a very gradual climb. It’s not very scenic for the first half-mile, but it gets more and more beautiful the further you go into the canyon. It crosses over the creek in a few spots too, lots of fun for kids. There are wildflowers in the summer, beautiful foliage in the fall, and it’s really fun to hike in the snow; usually doable without snowshoes.

There is a somewhat steep drop-off in one section, but the trail is nice and wide.

If you choose to hike all the way to the end (and there is a clear end), there is a little open space next to the creek that’s perfect for a snack. Just across the creek are the remains of a 100+ year old hydroelectric mill.

Another route you can take is to turn left where the trail splits (before the end) and head up toward Little Cottonwood Canyon Road. Just across the road is the trailhead to Lisa Falls.

Even if you choose to only hike 1 mile in, there’s a big bridge there that’s fun for kids to walk across. When the water is low enough, sometimes a small beach forms too.

This trail is also popular for mountain bikers. They are required to yield to hikers, but it’s still wise to pay attention.

All of Little Cottonwood Canyon is a watershed, so no dogs are allowed.

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Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, Summer, and Winter
Surface type Dirt
Elevation gain 1,000 ft.
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains No
Bathrooms Yes
Cell reception Spotty
Pet friendly No
Nearby convenience store Yes
Camping Nearby No
Emergency support
within 5 miles

Trail highlights

Creek / River, Shaded Hike, and Wildlife Viewing

A large portion of this trail is in the shade.

There are three bridges to cross.

A very short section puts you through a quiet, residential neighborhood, but it’s all trail after that.

We’ve seen deer on this trail a few times, and lots of interesting animal tracks in the snow.

All of Little Cottonwood Canyon is a watershed, so no dogs are allowed.

Fee & Parking Details

Fee : $0.00

The parking lot is shared with the Temple Quarry Path. It’s decently large and there are restrooms there. The restrooms are closed in the winter.

At seemingly random times, the gate to the Temple Quarry parking lot may be closed (usually in winter, but sometimes in the spring and summer, I haven’t figured out why yet). If the gate is closed, there’s a big parking lot across the street for the park & ride.

Trail Contributor

[Total: 3    Average: 4.7/5]

Alex is an artist and graphic designer who runs her own little business from home while she’s momming it with her two school-aged boys. She’s a California native and transplant to the Salt Lake Valley where she’s completely fallen in love with living so close to the mountains. She loves hiking, camping, travel, soccer, photography and cooking. She geeks out over history, especially art history, loves getting lost in a great novel, and she started practicing taekwondo the year she turned 40. She’s also a Lifetime Girl Scout and she loves sharing her love for travel and the outdoors with her kids.


Trail Map

Getting There

From I-15 take the exit for 9000 S and head east. The road will make a big S-curve and turn into 9400 S. Continue on 9400 S until it turns into Little Cottonwood Rd. Just before the stop sign at the intersection of Little Cottonwood Rd and Little Cottonwood Canyon Rd (yes, I know that’s confusing), you’ll see a little road on the right side and a marker for the Temple Quarry. That’s the lot. If it’s closed, proceed across the road at the stop sign to the Park & Ride lot.