If you’re planning a trip to Solitude, you’ve no doubt heard of Honeycomb Canyon.
If your skills are up for it, this is the one part of the mountain you don’t want to miss.
So, whether you’re an intermediate wondering if you’re capable of skiing the terrain or an expert looking for the most technical chutes, here’s everything you need to know about Solitude’s Honeycomb Canyon!
- What is Honeycomb Canyon at Solitude?
- How to Get to Honeycomb Canyon
- Choose Your Adventure: Three Different Options / Traverses
- How difficult is Honeycomb Canyon?
- Misc FAQs:
What is Honeycomb Canyon at Solitude?
Honeycomb Canyon is Solitude Mountain’s extremely unique, side country-like terrain.
The 300 acre, 1.5 mile long area sits completely to the the side of the rest of the resort. The canyon runs all the way from the mountain’s summit to its base, between two ridges that range from black to double black steepness.
But the most interesting part? There’s basically no lifts back here.
Sure, once at the bottom of the canyon, skiers can get back to the main resort by taking the Honeycomb Chairlift (or otherwise skiing a long, cat-track like blue all the way around) but neither option allows for serious lapping of the canyon.
The result is that the whole area has a truly remote, almost backcountry feel, and yet it’s still fully patrolled terrain located wholly inside a major ski resort!
For adventurous skiers, it’s an absolute paradise of great snow and untracked lines to discover.
(True to its reputation, I was blown away by this part of the mountain on my first visit, and to this day, it’s still my favorite part about Solitude.)
Trail Map of Honeycomb Canyon
How to Get to Honeycomb Canyon
To get to Honeycomb Canyon, you basically have two options:
- You can access it via the gates at the top of the Summit Express chairlift. This gives you the full length of the canyon, plus the most options for black diamond runs.
- Through the woods off the Powderhorn Chairlift / Eagle Ridge run. This grants the quickest access to the last half of the canyon, but be warned: This is legitimate double black terrain, with tight trees and several obstacles along the way.
For this reason, the most popular way to enter Honeycomb is through the gates off Summit Express.
Choose Your Adventure: Three Different Options / Traverses
If entering through the gates off Summit Express, the Canyon greets you with three possible ways down.
If your skills allow it, I highly recommend you try out each option! Here’s what to expect from each one.
Option 1: Woodlawn
If you head directly down, this is the long run that stretches the entire length of the Canyon floor.
If you were wondering how long Honeycomb Canyon is, Woodlawn has your most direct answer: it’s over 1.5 miles long!
Woodlawn is often groomed, although there’s usually some surprise pockets of variable terrain. Catch it early in the day, and it’s a fantastic off-piste cruiser!
Option 2: The Bowl Side
I have no idea if any of the locals actually call it this, but I think they should!
This is the most obvious traverse to skier’s left as you enter the Canyon. This route takes you to the area’s more wide open bowl lines such as Voltaire, Prince of Wales, and Boundary Chutes.
I absolutely love this side of Honeycomb for its wide open skiing and deep snow.
Option 3: The Tree Side
This is the option if you traverse towards the woods (skier’s right) as you enter the Canyon. The trail map rates these tree runs as black diamonds, although in my opinion their steepness and density is leaning towards double black territory.
(Buckeye Junior is probably the easiest on this side, whereas Black Forest and Memorial Chutes seem to get noticeably steeper.)
In any case, these trees are amazing with some fresh snow.
P.S. – No matter which route you take, don’t forget to look up! The views of Solitude’s peaks from the canyon floor are nothing short of stunning!
How difficult is Honeycomb Canyon?
This is a question often asked by intermediate skiers, since the entire canyon is classified black diamond or higher. So, let’s start there…
Honeycomb Canyon for Intermediates
Intermediates will probably want to stick to the Woodlawn run, with some upfront warnings.
- The canyon is long, and there’s no way out except down.
- They’ll need to be confident skiing moguls, since portions of even the easiest paths tend to get bumped up.
If they can get past those two hurdles, then I’d say confident intermediates would enjoy Honeycomb Canyon.
If taking Woodlawn (most recommended) then you can expect to find moderate steepness and variable terrain, depending on the day’s conditions. Woodlawn is usually groomed, but that doesn’t mean always! There’s often a few surprise bumps 3/4 of the way down.
I’ve heard the Woodlawn run described as a “double blue” or “dark blue/light black” and I think that’s a pretty fair description.
Honeycomb Canyon for Advanced Skiers
Honeycomb Canyon is an absolute playground for advanced skiers/riders. They’ll have their choice of amazing and less trafficked black diamonds, with my personal favorites being Voltaire, Prince of Wales, and Boundary Chutes.
The canyon really comes alive for those who use the traverse to find interesting bowl/tree terrain!
Honeycomb Canyon for Experts
Not to be outclassed, Honeycomb Canyon also offers some of the most extreme in bounds terrain in the Wasatch mountains.
The expert terrain in Honeycomb starts with Fantasy Ridge – a serious hike-to area which requires avalanche gear and a check in with ski patrol. This area is no joke – the steep hike in includes ladders, cables, and all sorts of wild, technical goodies.
Likewise, when they’re open, the Honeycomb Chutes are some of the most hardcore chutes in the area. Expert skiers can expect to find cornices, narrow rock bands, and seriously extreme steepness.
When does Honeycomb Canyon usually open?
That all depends on Mother Nature! Honeycomb Canyon needs enough base to cover the various rocks and downed trees in the area.
Usually, this happens sometime around late December or January.
Honeycomb Canyon opened for the season today. 🤗
📸: Brendan Ladd pic.twitter.com/LoGuC5GYi1
— Solitude Mountain Resort (@SolitudeMTN) January 5, 2022
What is the history of Honeycomb Canyon?
From Solitude’s opening in 1957 until 2002, Honeycomb Canyon had no lift access and was considered true side-country terrain. Following an extensive environmental inspection period, Solitude opened the Honeycomb Return Chairlift in 2002, which put the terrain fully within the ski resort’s boundaries.