Big Cottonwood Canyon – Jordan Pines Cross Country Skiing – Utah

We visited Salt Lake City, Utah twice this winter. On our first strip, we went cross country skiing at Mountain Dell. On our second trip, we went cross country skiing at Jordan Pines campground. Jordan Pines campground is located about 30 minutes outside Salt Lake City in Big Cottonwood Canyon on UT-190 and is a part of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. In the winter, primary activities include cross country skiing, snow sledding, snowshoeing, and adhoc snowboarding. Dogs, horses, and other animals are not allowed at the campground because the Wasatch Front Watershed is the primary source of water for Salt Lake City residents. Further, it is preferred to use the on-site restrooms, to carry out all trash, and to bury human feces six inches deep and 200 feet from water. Parking was free but motorized vehicles are not allowed in the park. Water was not available and cell phone service was intermittent while in the park. The following Google Map shows an estimate of the paths we followed.

Cross Country Skiing to Jordan Pines Campground

The elevation was just under 7,400 feet during the following winter adventure. From the parking lot, we walked several hundred feet on South Roynolds Gulch Road until we reached an access point in the snow that had been created by previous visitors. We started by heading south towards the Jordan Pines Campground. Heading south meant that we needed to go uphill for a short distance which caused us problems since we are newbie cross country skiers.

Based on Google Maps Satellite mode, it looks like the cross country ski trail runs on top of what is a paved campground road in summer. We followed the trail until it we reached a small loop, at which time we followed the trail back to where we started for total of 0.7 miles of skiing.

Cross Country Skiing Towards Spruces Campground

The following picture shows the starting point of both mini-excursions. Families were snow sledding down the hills seen in the foreground and background of the following picture. We skied (i.e., crashed our way) down the hill and to the left (i.e., southeast) towards Big Cottonwood Creek.

We cross country skied about 0.4 miles between the Big Cottonwood Creek and the tree line. The trail was flat and easy for us to manage which was good since this was only our second time on cross country skis.

We followed the trail into the woods and stopped near Spruces campground. The following picture shows us heading back towards the parking lot.

In sum, Jordan Pines campground provided us with an easy, newbie-friendly cross country ski experience with clear views of the mountains in Big Cottonwood Canyon. In addition, it looked like families were having fun snow sledding on the hills that were easy to access from the parking lot.


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