Big Cottonwood Canyon has been a scenic gathering place since pioneer days. Currently, visitors number around 2 Million annually.  It's the largest watershed in Salt Lake Valley, covering 50 sq. miles, and furnishing about 18% of the valley's water.  Sparkling mountain water reaches home faucets in 24 hours, with no intermediate storage reservoir.  Some water storeage is provided by snow...about 500 inches each year, which yields 27 inches of water (the valley gets about 16 inches of water yearly).  It's the cleanest water of any source in the area, and canyon water companies have won several BEST WATER IN UTAH awards.  The U.S. Forest Service supervises 80% of the land in the canyon; 20% is private land stretching back to pioneer homesteads and old mining claims.  There are about 800 homes, with 80% being seasonal cabins.   Two favorite ski resorts, Brighton and Solitude, provide a casual, family-friendly flavor to the canyon.