Located just at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon, Ferguson Canyon can get some pretty great snow even with its relatively low elevation. If you get a few inches of fresh snow on the Wasatch benches, then head on up for a guaranteed good time. The trail is steep, but the scenery is awesome and the granite walls covered in snow are beautiful. It is close to town, so you can expect a good amount of people even in winter, but there is plenty of room for everyone, and its dog friendly, so you have no excuse not to go!
The trail is a straight shot up the canyon. Not too many variations are available, which makes the terrain easy to navigate. There may be some avalanche danger in heavy snows; it would take a pretty heavy dump for danger to exist, but always consult the Utah Avalanche Center before heading out. The number of people and the ease of the navigation make this an easy one to do with the trail covered up even if it's your first time here.
Check out the summer version of this trail here. Hiking to the clearing may not be feasible in deep snow, so the clearing above the main waterfall makes a good point to turn around. There is a cascading river here with steep canyon walls on both sides and a small natural shelter. It's a perfect place for a snack and some water before you head back down. Considering the pitch, there are plenty of opportunities to ski down the trail in your boots or snowshoes. Poles and gaiters are a good idea along with snowsnoes and microspikes. Just below the clearing and the main waterfall is the steepest section, which takes some concentration and endurance.
The trail is east-west facing, so early morning treks can be pretty chilly. Afternoon and into sunset is a great time here, and it is best on clear days. The low elevation does not get you out of the inversion on this hike. Head up Big Cottonwood Canyon on those gloomy winter days for better air quality.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.
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