Hiking Gloria Falls in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah

The Beta

This hike is fun in early spring. With snowmelt crashing down into the many streams and main river, there’s plenty of white noise to block out any road sounds. This hike is 2.2 miles long with just over 540 feet of elevation gain. It sits near Snowbird Ski Resort and lies on a north-facing slope. If you’re attempting this hike in May or early June, there will likely be snow on the trail. If you can deal with a little sliding around, this hike is totally worth doing to see the thundering falls!

Quick Beta

  • Mileage: 2.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 540 ft
  • Highest Point: 8203 ft
  • Best time to visit: Late May through mid-October
  • Total hiking time: 1 hour, maybe more if you decide to stop
  • Number of Lakes: 0, but plenty of streams
  • Kid-friendly: Yes.
  • Dog-friendly: No, watershed rules apply.
  • Gear I brought: backpack, water, sunscreen, a few snacks, hiking boots, sunglasses, water filter
Most of the snow is gone, but there are remnants on the trial and in sheltered chutes.

The hike

Depending on the season, this hike is rated as easy to easy-with-a-twist. I wouldn’t ever really rate it as moderate, but hiking over deep snow, post-holing, and sliding around on top of slick snowy surfaces is a little challenging at times! It starts out at the White Pine trailhead in Little Cottonwood Canyon and crosses the LCC river. In springtime, this crossing it a little hairy, so expect to get a little wet! From there, the trail rises steadily through a decently wide trail through the first. As you climb, there are some pretty views of Little Cottonwood Canyon and the Salt Lake basin.

There are two trail junctions to be wary of – make sure you head towards “Red Pine Lake Trail” and then turn off at a small junction just past a short creek crossing. From there, you’ll ascend another 50-80 feet and arrive at the base of the falls!

Your view of Gloria Falls as it appears on the trial!
I experimented with long exposure when taking these shots. I actually didn’t take any other types of photos of the falls. Oops!

Need to Know

This trail passes through avalanche terrain. In springtime, there is little danger from avalanches, but you may encounter debris from the previous season. Be wary of it, and take it into account when you’re planning your hike.

Spikes and poles are great to bring in early to late spring, but they weren’t necessary for most of the trail. Use these at your own discretion.

Route finding can be difficult since snow blocks the last portion of the trail. Use a GPS or other device to make sure you stay on the path!

I did see a few snakes on the trail. Watch where you step! Also, be aware that this is Cougar Country. Be prepared for any wildlife on the trail! I didn’t see a cougar or see any signs of one, but I have seen remnants of meals and cougar tracks in early spring. Just be on the lookout as we enter their territory.

The roar of spring snowmelt makes a peaceful environment.
This waterfall is gorgeous! Also, peep the snow on the sides. There’s lots on this north-facing slope!

Justin’s Suggestion

Bring a little food, a beer, and a friend and take in the falls with a view! I always bring food, no matter how long the trail is. There’s something so peaceful about eating a snack at the end of your hike, no matter how long it is. I easily could’ve done this trail without water or food (or a backpack), but there’s always that little voice in the back of my head saying “you never knowwww!” So, bring the backpack. Just do it!

The view about 500 feet down the trail from the falls.

Take A Hike!

Have fun on this trail! Waterfall hikes are my favorite to do in early spring. They’re the fullest, they roar with water, and they’re just so darn cool. Make sure you get out and do a few waterfall hikes in your region! If you’re looking for more waterfall hikes in spring, check out Hidden Falls and Lisa Falls!

Parting shot:

I might have to revisit this one in a few weeks to see the water levels!

Next blog: More hiking. Ready?

5 thoughts on “Hiking Gloria Falls in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah

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