Hike-in Required
ADA accessible
Guided tours
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Scenic Highway 190, otherwise known as Big Cottonwood Canyon Drive, is a major corridor for outdoor recreation in Utah in all seasons. Once in the canyon you will have access a plethora of hikes, campgrounds and ski resorts. The road is most crowded in the autumn, when hundreds of tourists and locals drive up everyday to Guardsman's Pass to check out the changing aspen. At the pass, many turn around and head back to Salt Lake City, but you can actually continue on and head to Deer Valley in Park City or go to the charming Swiss-themed town of Midway. Trailheads for hikes such as Lake Blanche, Donut Falls, and Butler Fork are located just along the road, and Brighton and Solitude Ski Resorts are packed with enthusiasts in the winter. The Silver Fork Lodge is a great place to stop and have lunch, and there are many homes in the canyon that are available to rent if you want get to know the area on a more personal level.

World-class rock climbing also can be found along this road, and this is also a great place to try and spot some moose. The river has many marshy sections along the road that are perfect for large game in the canyon. Unlike Little Cottonwood, which was carved by a glacier, Big Cottonwood was carved by a river; this means the canyon walls are less steep and host better habitat for large wildlife. While the canyon road is open year round, you may not pass over Guardsman's during the winter. Keep in mind there are no dogs allowed in Big Cottonwood without a permit.

Whether you are just driving through or scaling a 10,000-foot peak, the scenic drive on Highway 190/Big Cottonwood Canyon Drive is a premiere route for anyone looking to be surrounded by some fantastic natural beauty.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Amazing views. Great fall colors. Wildlife viewing. Wildflowers in summer.


Crowded. Not many places to pull over. Slippery road condtions at times. Avalanche concerns.

Pets allowed

Not Allowed


Big vistas
Geologically significant


Nearby Adventures

Central Wasatch Mountains, Utah
Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest

Nearby Lodging + Camping


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