Looking at Superior from about halfway up
Coyotes are allowed in Little Cottonwood Canyon
Within minutes we had warmed up and I had to delayer, then shortly thereafter putting on my arm warmers for an optimal outfit. The trail covers a lot of ground via long switchbacks; because of all the switchbacks it is never really steep although you do gain ground steadily. They put a lot of work into this trail, augmenting it with plank bridges and smoothly bermed corners. It was good to walk on too, with not too many rocky sections. I had been a little concerned about re-acclimating to the Wasatch after a week at sea level but the gradual ascent made it easy.
After we got above the mid-mountain Mid-Gad lodge, the trees opened up and we were traversing an open bowl. There were tons of deer hoofprints everywhere, in the dirt/mud/snow, but we didn't seen any of those critters. We did, however, see a coyote. S/he saw us too, stopping to stare for a moment before continuing on down the mountain. After that sighting, we saw its pawprints along the trail as well - all the animals take advantage of the human-installed trails, it seems.
Atop Hidden Peak
The Big Mountain Trail comes out under the last tram tower, with the steepest portion being that final short push to the top. We had only seen five hikers on our way up but there were lots of folks milling about at the summit, having taken advantage of the "free" tram ride. One guy asked us if we'd come up all the way from the bottom and then told us "good job!" when we confirmed that we had. He asked us how long a hike it was and when we told him 7+ miles, he seemed markedly less interested in going down that way. Hike stats: 7.2 miles (all up); 2,500 feet elevation gain; about 3.5 hours because we weren't trying to break any speed records, plus we had to watch that coyote for a while.
* PS - This is what fall near my family's house looks like: