Places to Snowshoe in Utah
When you think winter in Utah, most people think skiing at one of Utah’s 13 world class ski resorts. However, for those searching for a more affordable way to enjoy the “Greatest Snow on Earth” we recommend snowshoeing.
Snowshoeing in Utah is second-to-none. It allows you to explore new locations or simply get a fresh perspective on familiar hiking trails. The beauty and solitude of a winter hike through Utah’s backcountry cannot be duplicated. Of course, any discussion of backcountry exploration should include avalanche safety.
According to statistics from the Utah Avalanche Center, more people in Utah die in avalanches each year than by any other natural events. Nearly all of these avalanche victims are backcountry sport participants like snowshoers, skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers.
Before you head into the mountains to enjoy any of these winter sports, check the current avalanche conditions. If you plan to snowshoe in avalanche prone areas, one small safety device you or anyone in your group should carry is an avalanche beacon (also known as an avalanche transceiver.) These beacons emit a radio signal that rescuers can use to locate a victim following an avalanche. Of course, in order for beacons to do their job, the buried person must be wearing one and at least one of the searchers must have one as well.
Here’s how it works. When you set out into the backcountry, you and everyone in your group should all be wearing beacons. Your beacons will be on “transmit” mode so they’re emitting a signal. If an avalanche occurs and a member of your party gets buried, their beacon would continue to send out a signal. This makes it much easier for rescuers to locate the avalanche victims.
Whether you choose to use a beacon or not, always be aware of the current conditions and avoid situations that could put yourself in peril. With that in mind, here’s a list of some excellent places to go snowshoeing this winter:
Snowshoeing is allowed on the Summer Road at the Alta Ski Resort. The summer road starts near the east end of the parking lot and features a gradual groomed slope up into the Grizzly Gulch area of Little Cottonwood Canyon. Snowshoe rentals are available at the Alta Ski Shop located next to the ticket windows in the Wildcat Building near the Collins Lift.
The Solitude Nordic Center is located up Big Cottonwood Canyon just as you enter the Brighton Ski Resort parking lot. This is the Silver Lake area which is a very popular summer destination. Visitors can enjoy 10K of groomed snowshoe trails that meander their way from the Nordic Center to the Solitude Village. Snowshoe rentals are available at the center.
Located at the Sundance Ski Resort visitors can enjoy 10K of dedicated snowshoe trails that meander through the nearby woods providing spectacular scenery and solitude. Snowshoe rentals are available at the Nordic Center Yurt.
Snowshoe rentals are available at the visitors center. Non-Groomed summer trails are available in the winter for snowshoeing opportunities. The Wasatch Mountain State Park is located in Midway Utah.
Another Midway favorite, Soldier Hollow provides groomed trails and stunning views. This is a former Olympic venue with lots of amazing and family friendly terrain to explore. Snowshoeing is available along the edges of the groomed trail network. Snowshoe rentals are available on site. The Soldier Hollow Nordic Center is located in Midway Utah.
The North Fork Park is a groomed premier cross country skiing destination. There are 20K of groomed trails with many of them open to snowshoeing. Snowshoe rentals are available on-site.
The Spruces Campground is a very popular summer camping destination. In the winter the campground becomes an excellent place to strap on some snowshoes and go exploring with the family. For those looking to explore some more, we recommend snowshoeing the Days Fork Trail, which begins at the southwest corner of the campground parking lot. Please remember if you choose to snowshoe the Days Fork Trail you’re entering Utah’s Backcountry. Come prepared with the proper gear and check the avalanche conditions.
Snowshoeing offers a unique way to connect with the beauty of Bryce Canyon and the surrounding national forest. Ruby’s Inn is a great starting point to enjoy the many snowshoeing opportunities around the Bryce Canyon National Park. Trail maps and Snowshoe rentals are available at Ruby’s Inn Bryce Canyon.
If you have a favorite snowshoeing location you would like to share, please add them in the comment section below.
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