Scott Hill is the highest point along the ridge dividing the Solitutde-Brighton area of Big Cottonwood Canyon and the Park City-Canyons area to the east of the Wasatch Crest. While the mountain is not located on the main Wasatch crest, it is still remarkably high at 10,116 feet. Even though Scott Hill is quite high, it is still easily accessible any time of the year. It makes for a wonderful after work or school hike during the warm months and a very rewarding snowshoe during the winter. The view from the top is the best part. All of the Central Wasatch Range is visible as well as much of the Northern Wasatch and Western Uintas.
What makes the mountain unique is that, in spite of its elevation, the terrain on the approach is quite mellow, making a winter ascent possible even when other backcountry locations are inaccessible due to avalanche conditions (though you should still ALWAYS exercise caution). While Scott Hill is enjoyable during any season, the winter is probably the best time to visit.
The route to the top of the mountain is not officially groomed, but it follows highway 152 toward Guardsman Pass for about a mile before branching off onto a segment of the Great Western Trail. The highway is not plowed or groomed during the winter, but snowmobile traffic is heavy enough that it might as well be. There is also a great deal of traffic along the Great Western Trail segment to the summit, so you’ll usually find a well-worn and obvious trail the entire way. Snowmobiles are not allowed off the highway, so once you leave that behind you’ll find a quiet route all the way to the top.
During the winter, parking at the end of the plowed road can be tight and crowded, so make sure to get there early. During the summer it can still be crowded, but there are more places available to park. While it may look crowded at the parking area, the trail and the summit are usually not very crowded at all. Note that the winter route is about a mile longer and adds 200 to 300 feet of elevation gain. During the summer you can park right where the Great Western Trail leaves the highway at a tight switchback and hike from there.
There are numerous campgrounds in Big Cottonwood Canyon and plenty of lodging at either Brighton or Solitude nearby.
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.