This is an intermediate length and technical trail that is great for days when it's hot out. You'll cross through the creek 4 times (or carry your bike across a log bridge) and pedal through the woods, providing much-needed coverage from the heat of the sun throughout the vast majority of the ride.
To get there, follow South Cottonwood Road out of town and take a left onto Cottonwood Canyon Road (dirt road) for about two miles to the trailhead, which will be on your right. There is a small parking lot that can hold about 10-15 cars; if this fills up, you can simply park along the road.
Start at the parking lot trailhead and make your way up the switchbacks and through the woods. The first 2.5 miles to the first junction (with the Wheeler Gulch
Trail) is highly used by hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers alike so is best utilized during off-peak times. The singletrack is wide and non-technical for this part.
After the first junction (continue straight to stay on the South Cottonwood Creek Trail), the next 3.5 miles has rocky sections, especially around the 4-4.5-mile mark, but then opens up again to smooth singletrack in and out through the woods and fields of flowers.
The trail eventually ends at a split where two trails (Storm Castle Ridge Trail and Blackmore Trail) diverge into different drainages.