Tucked in the Little Cottonwood Canyon a few miles southeast of Salt Lake City, Snowbird is renown for its steep terrain and powdery snow – but the mountains are well worth a summertime visit as well. The canyon is a glacially carved U-shaped valley. With numerous mountains rising to over 11,000 feet, the mountains rise about 3000 feet above the canyon floor, and over 6000 feet above the nearby Salt Lake Valley. The July landscape was surprisingly lush, featuring abundant wildflowers and attendant bees, butterflies, and birds of numerous species.
The hike up Hidden Peak from the Snowbird resort was vastly overblown in it’s difficulty and danger, it took little more than an hour to summit from a broad ridge. The views, while spectacular, were largely occluded by the terminus of the Snowbird Tram, which brought with it an incessant hum. While both beautiful and accessible, this mountain feels like little more than a high-elevation shopping mall.
The contrast with Mount Superior could not be greater. Sitting just across the canyon to the north, Superior proved to be an arduous and rewarding scramble, necessitating the use of hands, feet, and improvisational route finding in order to summit.