Home
 View all rides
 Getting started?
The rides
 General Info
 GPS track logs
»Top Rated Rides
Big Cottonwood Canyon
Little Cottonwood Canyon
Around the valley
Bikes for Kids Utah, 2006
Lake Tahoe
Southeast Benches
Sego Lilly
Josie Johnson Memorial ride 2006
Alpine Loop
City Creek Canyon
Millcreek Canyon
Suncrest
Wasatch Blvd
Emigration Canyon
Bear Lake
Emigration Canyon II
Heber Century 06
West Benches
Heber City
Sego Lilly to Creek Road
More stuff
Riding in Salt Lake
 Safety
 Getting started
 Advocacy
GPS info
 My choice
 Settings
 Complaints
Software
 MapSource
 TopoFusion
 CycliStats
Equipment
 Bikes
 HR Monitor
 Repair kit

Little Cottonwood Canyon

      Average rating:
Rating details         Rate this ride

Description: Start at the parking lot and go east.
Comments: Depending on your perspective, this is about the best or the worst that Salt Lake has to offer. Average grade is 9.2%. To put this ride in perspective, you've heard of Alp D' Huez? You know, the brutal Tour De France climb? Well Little Cottonwood is almost exactly the same profile - distance and grade - just without all the switchbacks.
Distance: 8.38 miles (one way)
GPS track log: Here (right click and select "Save Target As")
Total Elevation Gain: 3472 feet
Elevation Profile:
ride elevation profile

Interactive route map: (colors indicate relative elevation): legend

User Ratings


This is one awesome ride. Love it or hate it, but at least respect it.
Posted Sep. 25, 2006 by Joe


I'm reluctant to give one the full five stars because the descent side of the road does not have a very good shoulder - it goes from good to non-existent. An experienced rider will be able to stay on the road and keep a good 40+ pace down hill. Beginning or intermediate riders should avoid this climb unless they have a shuttle at the top. There are simply too many curves that will place your life at risk if you are new to road riding. The curves also mean lots of braking for cars; the smell of asbestos can get pretty overwhelming at times. I do this climb because it is, for me, the most difficult climb in Salt Lake. Sure there are steeper ones (Suncrest has a 1.5 mile 10% section; Guardsman's Pass has a 100-200 year 15% section). However, none of those climbs grinds away at you like this one. A great test piece. And there is one section on the descent in which you get a great view of the valley.
Posted Oct. 05, 2006 by 514Climber


This is easily the most difficult ride I have ever done in my entire life; only 8 1/2 miles and it took me at least 90 minutes, if not longer. A climber I will never be, and the descent is sketchy. Would prefer a wider, cleaner shoulder.
Posted Mar. 26, 2007 by Flahute


I am giving a lower rating because of the road conditions. There is absolutely no shoulder for 98% of the ride. Traffic is often very heavy as well. You should be comfortable riding at 40mph for the descent or else bring an extra set of brake pads with you. As far as the ride, it is insanely brutal. I kept thinking once I got over this next hill it would ease up, but it never did! Hardest ride I have done. Steep the entire way with no breaks.
Posted Nov. 10, 2007 by Taylor


Good road conditions and beautiful scenery, net this ride 5 stars. This ride is a grind, but worth the challenge. Hang in there until you pass Tanner's Flat, as the road levels somewhat. The descent is fast (40+ MPH), but worth the sum total of all the suffering ascending.
Posted Jul. 01, 2007 by TrekGuy


This is the monster. This ride gets ride to the point; climbing. The section near Tanner's Flat is the most difficult, sustained climb. Here's a hint: coming back down you'll do over fifty mph down that stretch if you don't brake. The five stars are for the sense of accomplishment once you conquer this beast. Some of the other canyons are more scenic, but none is more challenging.
Posted Jun. 13, 2007 by kbg


This is a brute. If you get tired of cars, a lot of it can be done on the dirt path by Little Cottonwood creek. The ride down is pure joy, but curves and loose sand should be treated with respect.
Posted Jul. 12, 2008 by fred


This is what it is...steep and challenging and a test of mental/phsical stamina. How can one complain? If you don't like it tough, go to Emigration. Also stay off the road on holidays...too many cars.
Posted Jul. 29, 2008 by Ms EMZ


Come on babies--poor road conditions, a narrow shoulder, and the death defying decent are what makes this grind awesome!!! In fact, give it an extra star just for these reasons.
Posted Jul. 31, 2009 by Tom


Yes this is a beast, yes the road conditions are poor, yes the scenery is amazing.... What more could you ask for in a good climb.... I did this for the first time yesterday and I plan to do it again next weekend and hopefully many more times to come. we are very lucky to have gems like this around to enjoy and challenge our selves as cyclist. Once you get past tanner flat you're pretty much home free.
Posted Aug. 17, 2009 by Mitch I.


Love the never-ending grind, love the no-shoulder, love the scenery going up, love the view at Alta. You might hate it the first time you do it, but if you really love to climb you'll keep coming back.
Posted Aug. 14, 2009 by Sarah


What a DOOZY! This was an awesome ride. I went on a Friday (yesterday), and there wasn't much traffic. The "no shoulder" factor didn't feel like an issue. What a beautiful canyon, and the cruise down was freezing, but rocking out to Franz Ferdinand "Do you Wanna" Definitely helped the simple feeling of accomplishment. Definitely a ride one should respect.
Posted Nov. 07, 2009 by kc4new


Holy Shit. I biked up steamboat's storm peak on the switchback's to the top, and to date thought that was the hardest thing I've done...UNTIL! I moved to Utah, decided, oh, that would be fun, and took almost two hours to get to the top. Most of the time I wanted to ride over the cliff to end my pain. (Honestly, brutal but I'm exaggerating a bit). LOVED IT!!!!!!
Posted Apr. 21, 2010 by Heidi H


I've been planning on doing this ride for a couple years now and finally got up the guts today. While it was still a steady and steep climb, it was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Just go at a reasonable pace, get some training in beforehand and you'll be fine! The feeling at the top is indescribable. Bring a camera, it is BEAUTIFUL!
Posted Jun. 30, 2010 by Jaycie V


Most concerns about the narrow shoulder have been beautifully addressed by UDOT. The lower third of the canyon has been repaved with a 4-5 foot shoulder of smooth asphalt. Higher up, the shoulder has been improved. This is a classic climb and a beautiful ride. Not to be missed.
Posted Aug. 15, 2010 by CHAINTATTOO


DID THIS RIDE YESTERDAY AROUND 1800. TOOK 60 MINUTES TO GET FROM BOTTOM TO ALTA. MAP MY RIDE SHOWED 8 MILES WITH 3100 FEET OF TOTAL CLIMBING. RIDE UP IS AWESOME BUT VERY CHALLENGING. IF YOUR NOT USED TO TOUGH CLIMBS YOU WILL LIKELY NEED A TRIPLE CRANKSET BUT THIS CAN BE DONE USING DOUBLE/COMPACT CRANKSET. FIRST 3.5 TO 4 MILES ARE MOST CHALLENGING. DOWNHILL IS LOADS OF FUN AND YOU WILL COAST AT 35+ EASILY. WATCH FOR JUST A FEW AREAS WITH GRAVEL ON THE SHOULDER/LANES THAT STILL POSE A RISK. HOEPFULLY THIS WILL BE SWEPT UP SOME TIME SOON.
Posted Sep. 17, 2010 by Scott


I'd recently been advised to switch to an OG Red 11-28 cassette and I did the climb in a little under two hours and never hit my limit, and that's with a standard crank. I'm also over two hundred pounds, so it's a grind getting myself up to Alta. I hit 50+ mph for a few stretches on the descent with 68mm EDGE wheels, but I don't advise anything wider as the crosswinds can get sketchy at speed. Fun ride, but not for beginners.
Posted Jul. 17, 2011 by Sergio


I started cycling earlier this year and one of my goals for the year was to do this ride. I rode it this morning - conditions were almost perfect, cool but not cold, although pretty windy on the lower half. Tough climb up to Tanner's Flat and then it eases a bit, but still difficult. Descent was a bit tricky as you have to shed speed going into the many corners. I'll do this again, but not tomorrow! For what its worth - my bike is an Orbea Opal with 12/25 cassette.
Posted Aug. 24, 2011 by Pete


I started cycling earlier this year and one of my goals for the year was to do this ride. I rode it this morning - conditions were almost perfect, cool but not cold, although pretty windy on the lower half. Tough climb up to Tanner's Flat and then it eases a bit, but still difficult. Descent was a bit tricky as you have to shed speed going into the many corners. I'll do this again, but not tomorrow! For what its worth - my bike is an Orbea Opal with 12/25 cassette.
Posted Aug. 24, 2011 by Pete


I did this climb yesterday on my mountain bike, had to drop down to the lowest gear for about 1/3 of the time, but otherwise stayed in the second lowest gear for most of the rest of the time. Go to the top in 1 hour and 40 minutes, and descended in 20 minutes. Good, hard, workout ... but great fun.
Posted Nov. 01, 2011 by Keith



Warning: extract() expects parameter 1 to be array, boolean given in /home/jskehan/saltlakecycling.com/rateform.php on line 50

Rate this ride

Please only rate rides that you've ridden. Comments should be relevant to this ride only: inappropriate comments may be removed. Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your rating and comments.

Your name as you would like it displayed on the rating (required):

Your email address (required for verification, will not be displayed):

Your rating:
Add your comments: