My Go-To Winter Mountain Locations Near SLC, Utah:
It can be pretty difficult to narrow down your location options in Utah! Especially because each season changes the way a location looks pretty drastically. Here's a list of my top locations I go to all the time for photoshoots in and around Salt Lake City, Utah when my clients want SNOW, MOUNTAINS, and VIEWS.
This list embraces adventure, long drives up canyons, and deep snow. For a list of my favorite EASIEST locations during winter instead, check out this post.
Neff's Canyon, Millcreek
Neff's Canyon might be my favorite option out of all of these because it's kind of the best of all the worlds! It's only 20 minutes from downtown SLC, has huge views of the mountains, a parking lot, and is the easiest to get to. It feels like you're in a canyon without being in a canyon.
Bonus - it's dog friendly! They can be off-leash.
This Is The Place Heritage Park, Salt Lake City
This Is The Place Heritage Park is highly underrated, in my opinion. Its wide open spaces are great for big groups and offer lots of awesome native Utah shrubs. It was foggy this day, but other days you can see views of the Wasatch Mountains in the background. It's near the mouth of Emigration Canyon. It has really cute fencing and some historic wooden structures.
McPolin Farm, Park City
If your family is up for a 30-40 minute drive up Parley's Canyon, the McPolin Farm and Barn is truly and iconic Park City location. There are wide open spaces with mountain views, an historic barn, and tons of fencing. The city maintains the property so snow removal and parking are great. It can be easy to forget about those kinds of things when you're looking at purely BEAUTIFUL places, but they're imporant when you factor in how your family will get around in snow.
Jordan Pines, Big Cottonwood Canyon
A truly majestic 40 minute drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon leads you right to the Jordan Pines trailhead. It is probably the most popular canyon spot near SLC because of its views. I mean, they're spectacular! It's usually very busy so I always recomment trying for a morning session or a weeknight. There's tons of parking, tons of mature pine trees, and beautiful views of mountains surrounding you.
No dogs allowed here at all.
Spruces Campground, Big Cottonwood Canyon
The Spruces Campground is right near Jordan Pines, but offers a more close-feeling session where you're IN the trees rather than in front of them. There are fun pathways and clearings, and tons and tons of snow! It is much less crowded than it's neighbor Jordan Pines. There is a clearing at the upper parking lot that works great for big groups.
No dogs allowed here at all, so your buddy can't come.
Park City Main Street + Town Lift
Historic Main Street in Park City is such a fun adventure! In winter months because of ski season, I'd plan for 45-60 minutes of travel each way, plus time for parking. But once you're there you won't want to leave! So I suggest making a day of it. There are dozens of quaint storefronts, bridges, and alcoves for photo moments, and it's rich with ski-culture charm. At one end of the street you'll find the old Town Lift and a fun sledding slope that's great for photos off the busy street. I can recommend activities and restaurants if you want to extend your trip!
Knudsen Park, Cottonwood Heights
This neighborhood park at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon is my secret weapon! It's got loads of trees, and a view of the Wasatch Mountains without the drive up a canyon. It gets lots of snow, being so close to the canyon, but is easily accessible right off the freeway and has a parking lot. It is 20 minutes from downtown SLC and very central in the SL valley. It's great for all family sizes. It was hard to choose which photos to share of this place because it has a lot to offer!
Hidden Valley Park, Draper/Sandy
Hidden Valley Park is one of my favorite East Bench spots that puts you ON the mountain without being IN the mountains. You won't need 4 wheel drive to get here! You'll find a wide open space with lush Utah shrubs and ground plants, surrounded by mountains. It's sunny and fun!
Mueller Park, Bountiful
Mueller Park is a terrific place for my Davis County and northern SLC friends. It is north of downtown SLC by about 20 minutes. Sunset is early here because you're pretty deep in a little canyon dense with pines and a variety of trees. Luckily, Bountiful is a more suburban/city drive, so you won't have to go far into the canyon to get to this trailhead. And there isn't much need to walk far once you get there!
I absolultely love going up the southern point of the mountain to Potato Hill. This range of mountains splits the Salt Lake Valley from the Utah County Valley so you can see very far, even out to the Great Salt Lake on clear days. This trailhead is the perfect size for young families who want to walk around in nature, look at views, and run around in snow. There's good parking, and easy to get to.