Big Cottonwood is home to two of the best ski resorts in the world, Brighton and Solitude. Located just under 30 miles from downtown Salt Lake City, these resorts are among the most accessible ski resorts in the world. Founded in 1936, Brighton Ski Resort was the first ski resort in Utah and one of the first in the United States. Solitude was first developed in 1956 by a mining tycoon after being denied access to the restrooms at Alta, which were reserved for invited guests only.
Big Cottonwood Canyon is named after the mammoth sized cottonwood trees that grew near the creek bottoms before heavy logging took place. In fact, by 1910 most of the forest had disappeared. The newly organized Forest Service then stepped in and planted over 250,000 seedlings throughout the canyon, adding to the beauty and rich biodiversity found in the canyon today.