More Hiking Trails Near Salt Lake
Bonneville Shoreline Trail
Hiking in and around Salt Lake City is easy given the miles of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail system (BST) that line the city. This ancient shoreline (thousands of years ago the valley was under a large freshwater lake) is now a rolling trail system on the foothills behind the city. Several trailheads to BST are accessible within minutes of downtown, including City Creek Canyon, just three blocks from the city center. Hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers and folks with dogs on leashes share the shoreline, either sticking to the benches that run parallel to the valley or taking spurs up nearby trails and mountains, including the popular Ensign Peak or Living Room.
Millcreek Canyon’s easy accessibility and cooler summer temperatures make it a locals’ favorite for Salt Lake City hiking, mountain biking and trail running. The 5-mile Dog Lake trail is an easy couple of hours round-trip that is popular with dog owners. Desolation Overlook, with its view down Millcreek Canyon into the Salt Lake Valley, offers a scenic conclusion with views of the valley. The canyon always welcomes dogs but on odd-numbered days they may run off-leash, within the control of the owner. For mountain bikers, even-numbered days in Millcreek Canyon are all about the downhill. Access the Wasatch Crest from Big Cottonwood or Park City and be rewarded with endless alpine views and some excellent single-track into Millcreek.
Thirty minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport and downtown Salt Lake, Salt Lake's Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood canyons are one-stop destinations for Utah skiing at Alta, Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude. In the summer, the Cottonwood Canyons are safe havens for incredible climbing, bouldering, hiking among wildflowers, trail running, cycling and mountain biking. Filled with great vistas, alpine lakes, moose and wildflowers, these canyons have dozens of hikes. Check out a starter option:
- Maybird Lakes (Little Cottonwood Canyon): 7.8 miles. Maybird Lakes (there are three) sit at the top of Maybird Gulch at the base of the Pfeifferhorn, which towers 11,326 feet above. The trail takes you to the middle lake, where you can enjoy the surrounding effects of a steep gulch and a high-mountain lake.
- Mount Raymond (Big Cottonwood Canyon): 7.8 miles. This hike offers lush aspen forests, open views up Big Cottonwood Canyon, fun rock scrambling, 360-degree summit views, and the challenge of a vertical climb combined with strolling through an aspen grove. It’s a winning combination that takes you to a 10,241-foot peak.
- Wasatch Crest Trail (Big Cottonwood Canyon to Millcreek Canyon): 12.5 miles (car shuttle required). The Wasatch Crest trail is a daylong adventure filled with five-star scenery, dizzying heights and unparalleled vantage points. July and into August wildflowers add color to the alpine trailside, and the path into Millcreek Canyon provides a beautiful, green, packed trail through the trees.
Road Cycling Near Salt Lake
Emigration Canyon is a classic Salt Lake ride accessible right out of downtown or by parking in lots at the canyon's entrance, just past Utah's Hogle Zoo. Beyond the 8-mile ride to the summit of Little Mountain, Big Mountain and loop options await stronger cyclists. A stop at Ruth's Diner on the way back down is necessary no matter your level. For that matter, newbies might start out with the gentle 2-mile ride the mouth of the canyon to Ruth's Diner, fill up on Ruth's famous homemade biscuits, and still feel accomplished. City Creek Canyon is a cyclist favorite for its bicycle-only roadway from Memorial Day (last Monday in May) to Labor Day (first Monday in September). The rest of the year cyclists are allowed only on odd-numbered calendar days.