Rattlesnake Gulch is a quick and fun winter hike located near the mouth of Millcreek Canyon. The views from the last third of the trail are breathtaking, and there is a healthy incline on the way up to get your heart pumping, as is the case with most Wasatch hikes. The trailhead is a short distance up-canyon, so you won't have to drive too far; on the other hand, this hike does not get you out of the inversion, so head further up the canyon when the air quality conditions are bad. To catch this hike with some deep snow you'll need arrive following a big storm. The trail is exposed and it faces south, so the snow melts fast. Deep days could require full snowshoes, but most days are packed down and perfect for microspikes. Be careful when walking along the thin face of the final stretch because there is some danger of falling if you misstep.
The views from the lookout are really what makes this hike so great. You'll enjoy 320-degree panoramas in the daylight, and sunset and evening views would be spectacular. You can see Mount Olympus and Antelope Island really well along with downtown Salt Lake and the rest of the valley.
There is only a small avalanche danger thanks to the area's low elevation and aspect. Nevertheless, it doesn't hurt to check Utah Avalanche Center before you go of course. Dogs are allowed on any Millcreek hikes and can even go off leash on odd numbered days (i.e the 5th, the 7th, the 21st etc.)
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.