Trail Run Project Logo

Little Cottonwood Creek Trail #001



3.4 mile 5.4 kilometer point to point
89% Runnable


Ascent: 1,218' 371 m
Descent: 0' 0 m
High: 6,655' 2,029 m
Low: 5,437' 1,657 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 14% (8°)


No Dogs
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Tomsen Reed

A nice, steady incline following Little Cottonwood Creek.

Tomsen Reed

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views

Need to Know

All of the creek crossings are facilitated by bridges, so you don't need to get your feet too wet. There are some spur roads and trails at times along this route, including some onto private property (like around the Wasatch Resort) so just make sure you stick to the main trail.


This trail starts out at the Temple Quarry trailhead, basically across the highway from the Little Cottonwood Park and Ride (this can be used as an overflow parking area if all the spots are filled up at the Temple Quarry trailhead, which can happen on busy days).

The trail starts out as a wide, pretty smooth doubletrack that makes the first mile or so a nice section (going up and especially coming down). After a little over half a mile, the trail passes through the Wasatch Resort properties, so you have to run a little bit on a paved road. At this point, where the trail goes up onto the paved road, stay to the left on the paved portion, but then after that take your first right onto the dirt road that goes past a power plant and associated structures built on the creek. Stay on the dirt road, pass the power plant on the left through an opening in a gate, and then the trail should be pretty easy to follow from there.

After about a mile, the trail crosses the creek, which in springtime (May, June) can be a spectacular sight, as all the runoff from Little Cottonwood Canyon channels through this raging creek. At other times of the year, it can be less impressive, but this is still a nice spot to take a look around and enjoy the scenery. After this creek crossing, the trail starts to get a little steeper, and a bit more rocky, but it's still pretty manageable and is good for running. This portion runs through a more forested section, which is at times away from the creek, but there are still cool things to see along the way, like enormous granite boulders and ruins of old buildings. After two miles, the trail crosses over a small tributary stream on a fun little footbridge, and then continues through a nice, smooth section that's really fun for running on the way down.

After about 2.5 miles, the trail crosses the creek again, and this is another fun spot to stop and enjoy the power and beauty of the creek. About a half mile after that the trail splits, with a spur trail heading up to the left, which ends up at a parking area off the side of the highway, and the main Little Cottonwood Creek Trail heading to the right. Pretty soon the trail goes around a locked gate and continues up along the creek, past some old remnants of old power-generating structures alongside the creekm, until the official trail ends across the creek from the remnants of an old building associated with the power-generating activities.

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Photos, Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes


Rate This Trail

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Trail

Check In


Aug 12, 2019
James Dillon
Aug 11, 2019
James Dillon
Jun 18, 2018
Kate McDermott

Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 2 votes


  3.0 from 2 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Trail Rankings


in Utah


57 Views Last Month
924 Since Apr 2, 2018



Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running