City Creek to Dry Creek
Information on hiking in Salt Lake City, Utah. Get City Creek to Dry Creek hike trail info, maps and resources.
Emigration Canyon Road Cycling and Miner's Trail
Information on hiking and road cycling in Salt Lake City, Utah. Get Emigration Canyon Road Cycling and Miner's Trail hike info, maps and resources.
Looking out across the land, it’s easy to see why this was the spot Brigham and his cohort chose to make their early plans. It is possible to see to the valley’s southern terminus, known as Point of the Mountain, and to where the Great Salt Lake and Oquirrh Mountain Range mark the western boundary.
Hiking City Creek Canyon
When Salt Lakers boast of Utah’s closeness to the mountains, City Creek Canyon is top of mind.
Millcreek Canyon's Desolation Overlook
Next to City Creek, Millcreek is Salt Lake’s most well-trafficked urban canyon, entrance requires a small fee but the canyon accesses some of Salt Lake’s best trails and is a lovely scenic drive in and of itself. The Desolation Overlook trailhead is easy to find.
If Salt Lake City hikers were all in a college fraternity, Mount Olympus would be considered a hazing ritual. This hike is no joke — a quad-wrenching climb of nearly 4,800 feet in elevation over 3.3 miles.
Road Cycling City Creek Canyon
One of Utah’s best biking roads runs the length of City Creek Canyon. This moderate road bike trail offers cyclists a scenic SLC ride through a nature preserve.
The Living Room
This relatively steep but short hike to a perch on the foothills above the Natural History Museum of Utah is uniquely rewarding with both the quick workout and panoramic view of the Salt Lake Valley.
Bonneville Shoreline Trail
Hiking Salt Lake City is easy given the miles of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail system (BSL) 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 BSL 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.
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.
Mill Creek Canyon
Mill Creek Canyon’s easy accessibility and cooler summer temperatures make it a locals’ favorite for Salt Lake City hiking, mountain biking and trail running. Bring $3.00 to get in, bring your doggo and make a day of it. 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 Mill Creek 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 control of the owner. For mountain bikers, even-numbered days in Mill Creek 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 Mill Creek.
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, there are dozens of hikes in these canyons. 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 Mill Creek 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 Mill Creek Canyon provides a beautiful, green, packed trail through the trees.
Views of the Great Salt Lake
The Great Salt Lake can be seen in the distance of many of these Salt Lake area hikes, but a visit to Antelope Island State Park or other northern destinations affords some of the best views of this giant remnant of an even more gigantic prehistoric lake.
- Frary Peak (Antelope Island): 6.6 miles. Frary Peak is the highest point on Antelope Island — a thoroughly original state park that sits in the Great Salt Lake (second saltiest body of water in the world) west of Salt Lake City.
- Mueller Park to Elephant Rock (Bountiful): 7 miles. Mueller Park is popular and used by mountain bikers, families, dog walkers, and trail runners as well as hikers. Elephant Rock has a bench perfectly situated for watching the sunset over the Great Salt Lake.
Start planning today to personalize your Utah outdoor adventure with these fantastic hikes near Salt Lake City.