Although we hiked loads in 2017, 2018 was not nearly as exciting- we had too many of our routines thrown out of whack. So with school out during Winter Break I thought I’d try to make up for lost time and I took my kids up Big Cottonwood Canyon to snow shoe a trail that we have frequently done without the snow, Mill D North.
It’s across the road from Donut Falls (see our guest post here.) Round Trip would be anywhere from 4 miles to about 8 miles, it depends on where you are going- Dog Lake, Desolation Lake, Reynolds Peak, etc. Without kids I highly recommend going to any of those destination in snowshoes. (We suggest these for kids and these for adults)
The trail turns and curves and you see valleys and cabins and it’s all beautifully white. With small kids with small legs we just go as long as they let me take them. This is a good trail to do that with! There were places we could stop and sit and play in the snow.
The trail is steep at first but it is short lived. There is a small incline as you walk up the hill but my kids didn’t seem to mind too much, it could be because they are used to hiking up an incline but I remember days where something like this would have made me worried about hearing constant whining and complaining. The incline isn’t that bad, seriously, and it has an open view of the mountains and you see sledders down below too. It offers some nice winter sceneries!
My twins will turn 5 next month. They did pretty good, but I don't think they would have done very well this time last year. My 6 year old adventured on his own, and we went for a long time without seeing him, I began to wonder if I ever saw him start the trail with us.
There are skiers on this trail too and sometimes the trail gets kind of narrow, which makes getting 4 year old twins out of the way sometimes difficult.
Wherever you stop, it’s always pretty and even if you turn back after a half mile you still feel like you had some time in the mountains. I love this trail all year round, Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.
How to Get There
From the mouth of the canyon head up about 9.5 miles to where the road widens and flattens out briefly and you’ll see a parking lot on the left and right. Some call this Reynolds Flat. The trailhead to this place will be on the left, on the right will be a road that takes you to Donut Falls (it’s closed in the winter). However, people park here and go sledding in this area! I highly recommend it!
- Bathrooms: There are some across the street but I don't think they are functioning during the winter. You could drive up to Silver Fork lodge or just head back down the canyon to 7-11 at the mouth of the canyon.
- In the pictures you will see that my kids dont have gloves. We forgot them! So…. they survived the hiking without even gloves! It was a little chilly too.
- Dress in layers. Snowshoeing can be hard sweaty work, so make sure to be able to strip off some clothing.
- Rhiannon used these snowshoes for her kids.
- Dogs are not allowed. It’s a watershed after all.