Big Cottonwood Canyon

Big Cottonwood Canyon

Big Cottonwood Canyon in Utah’s Wasatch-Cache National Forest offers some spectacular views. This picture was taken on a hiking trail at Brighton Ski Resort. The Big Cottonwood Canyon Scenic Byway (State Route 190) is well worth the drive if you are ever in the Salt Lake City or Park City areas.

One challenge to photography here can be that the air is so dry there isn’t cloud to be found, leaving only bright blue skis. While it is spectacular to see in real life, these skies can lead to not so interesting pictures. In this case I tried to use the trees in the foreground with the mountains in the background to create interest on one of these blue sky days. Without the trees, the mountains looked washed out with all the bright sunlight, and the picture wasn’t very interesting. Some storm clouds coming in behind the mountains (but not a completely cloudy sky) is what I really wanted for a picture, but the beautiful sunny weather in the cool mountain air was perfect for hiking so I can’t really complain.

A bonus tip for road cyclists: Big Cottonwood Canyon along with the neighboring Little Cottonwood Canyon are two of my all time favorite rides. The two canyons are right next to each other so both can be ridden in one day is you are ready for A LOT of climbing at altitude. The temperature change from the bottom of the canyon to the top can be pretty big so make sure to be prepared with layers. I have had rides where I started off hot at the bottom with temperatures in the high 70’s , only to be freezing when I started back down with temperatures in the low 40’s.

Big Cottonwood Canyon Information

  • Taken By: Paul
  • Date Taken: 2-JUL-2012
  • Camera: Canon EOS REBEL T1i
  • Lens: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
  • Exposure: 1/200 sec at f/7.1
  • Focal Length: 21 mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Flash: Did not fire

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