Salt Lake City, Utah, is the perfect hub for wintertime adventures. With a major airport and the epic Wasatch Mountains — along with their chart-topping snowfall — less than an hour away, Salt Lake is becoming a go-to for outdoor enthusiasts wanting to make the most of a few days in nature, particularly during the colder months. These images show some of the incredible experiences you can have near Salt Lake City in the winter.


We arrive in Salt Lake ready to explore. Our first activity begins just 15 minutes from the airport. We decide to explore the City Creek Center, a space right in downtown Salt Lake City filled with open architecture, shops, and restaurants. The four of us are impressed by the open-air architecture and mixed-use space.


We drive right outside of the city to begin our snowy adventures, driving southeast from Salt Lake into Little Cottonwood Canyon. Winter often gets a bad wrap for traveling because folks are intimidated by the cold, but great gear can keep you comfortable in all temperatures. We brought the Rumpl Travel Blanket, which packs down to the size of a Nalgene and kept us cozy on the plane, when we’d bundle up to hop out of the car for some sightseeing, and later when we were camping.


At Little Cottonwood Canyon is one of the many canyons that make Salt Lake such an incredible hub for outdoor adventure. We are ready to make our way into the woods. We pile snacks and water into our packs, strap on snowshoes, and venture on the White Pine Lake Trail into aspens surrounded by a blanket of fresh snow. Snowshoeing is similar to hiking, but the large flat area under your feet disperses your weight to keep you from sinking into the snow.


Winter camping is intimidating to many people, but by following a few tips it can be a super way to enjoy the outdoors in winter. We made sure to bring gear that would keep us cozy throughout the night. Warm sleeping bags and sleeping pads are a must, and a Nalgene full of boiling water keeps our toes warm until we fall asleep. Cozy in our tents, we fall asleep ready for the adventures the next day has in store.


Our first full day begins with a summit of Toledo Peak. Touring into the backcountry consists of putting skins, or strips of material that create friction, on the bottom of your skis to enable you to travel upward. It’s incredibly important to be safe when traveling in the backcountry due to avalanche risk. Not only did we come in having taken avalanche courses, but we hired guides from The Backcountry Pros. It’s vital to hire guides who are certified and come with years of experience, as well as guides who make you feel comfortable. Our guide, Alex, pictured above, taught us about snow science and safety on our tour. He ensured we were safe and kept us laughing, all while beating us up the skin track.


Many folks backcountry ski in the Wasatch Mountains, the range right outside of Salt Lake City. If you’d like to take your tour a step further, you can look into hiring a guide to make it even more interesting and add climbing. We hired The Backcountry Pros to help us summit Toledo Peak, a peak across from the Alta Ski Area, via a ridgeline. This required gear like crampons (traction devices), rope, harnesses, and placing trad gear (climbing devices that help protect you against falls). Safe to say, we were grateful to have an experienced guide.


After hours of skinning up and climbing, we finally reached the 10,530-foot summit of Toledo Peak. The views of the surrounding mountains were incredible, and it made us realize how breathtaking the Wasatch Range is. You don’t need to climb Toledo Peak to have views like this, either. The Wasatch has hiking trails that make views like this accessible to anyone. Again, make sure you are properly equipped and know what to do in order to safely travel through avalanche terrain.


After a day of exhausting adventure, we make our way to The Cliff Lodge, where we are staying for the night. The Cliff Lodge is unlike any hotel we’ve stayed at. It’s situated in a canyon at Snowbird, surrounded by epic, snow-covered mountains. The rooftop pool and hot tub at the Cliff Spa have views that take our breath away. We relax our sore muscles in warm water while taking in the views.


We have a reservation at SeventyOne and are grateful that there is such a delicious restaurant right at the hotel. SeventyOne looks out over the Snowbird resort, so we dig into Moscow mules and such satisfying meals as roasted salmon while we observe the pistes we will be skiing the next day.


We get a good night's sleep but don’t go out skiing right away. Instead, we head out early to drive metal sticks into ice. As we’ve mentioned, it’s important to go with guides you trust. We rehire The Backcountry Pros to take us ice climbing, and we get to try our hand at a sport that isn’t as scary as it may seem. It’s key to have the right knowledge and clothes for winter activities. We recommend opting for gear made to withstand wind and water, like the Bertagen Eco-Shell Trousers pictured above.


With just enough time to get a few powder runs in, we head back to Snowbird after a morning of scaling walls of frozen water. We cannot believe how deep the powder is for being in a resort. Then again, with 500 inches of average annual snowfall, Snowbird is one of the snowiest resorts in the country, and we are grateful to be skiing there. The snow is light, fluffy, and plentiful. It’s no wonder Utah claims to have the greatest snow on Earth, and why people flock to Salt Lake City in the winter.