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.

Due to ongoing reconstruction of the City Creek Canyon Water Treatment Plant, access to the canyon will be very limited through January 2027. Visit for more information.

Trail Guide

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 11.8 miles, out and back

Elevation gain: 777 feet

Trail type: Paved road

Trail uses: Walking, hiking, running, biking 

Dogs: Allowed, on leash below Site #16.

Fees: None

Seasonality: Due to ongoing construction, the canyon will be closed Monday to Friday from November 2023 to January 2027.

Bathroom: Bathrooms are closed.

Pro Tip: Cyclists will not be able to reach Rotary Park, as access past site #16 will be closed even on weekends and holidays.


Photo: Sandra Salvas

Photo: Sandra Salvas

Trail Description

Easily one of Salt Lake City’s most popular canyon rides (with hiking options, too), City Creek is a quick road bike trail ride easily accessed from the city’s center. The appeal for cyclists is obvious:

  • City Creek Canyon was set aside by early LDS Leaders as a nature preserve.
  •   It is now protected as a watershed area.
  • A paved road runs the entire the length of the canyon but it is essentially car free.
  • Signage segregates foot traffic to one side of the roadway allowing a clear shot for your ride up and down.

The road is only used by city utility trucks and occasional day users who have reserved one of the organized picnic areas.

Starting from the gatehouse trail head, you’ll begin climbing into a shady lane emerging periodically into wide meadows. The nearby city falls out of mind quickly as you begin to grind up this magnificent road bike trail. And it is a grind. City Creek’s accessibility belies its unrelenting climb and while the grade is not grueling, it is steady with little respite. The ride is full of false summits — hills you’ve thought you’ve conquered but then reveal yet another push around the bend making it one of Salt Lake City’s best biking roads. Salt Lake-area cyclists prize the roadway for its reliable climb and blissful car free status. It is not, however, entirely traffic free so remain alert. Walkers and joggers often stray across the roadway and although dogs are required to be kept on short leashes, keep an eye out for long leashes and ranging canines across the trail, especially on your descent. And about that descent: It is fast and full of quick turns so stay on your brakes and abide by the posted 15 mph speed limit that is easy to overtake if you’re not careful. During winter, the roadway can be icy so if you chose to brave this road during the cold season, use extreme caution.

If there was one classic Salt Lake ride, this is it and the journey can include numerous options to extend the miles. For example, you can take Salt Lake City’s bike-friendly streets to work your way over to the area below the University of Utah (1300 East) and then use Virginia Street to climb up into the Avenues (steep but short). Cruise along bike friendly 11th Avenue above the city for excellent views and hit Bonneville Loop Boulevard to East Capitol Boulevard, which has one lane dedicated to walkers and cyclists to access the spur that leads to the gate house trail head. After you dogleg the canyon itself, continue along Bonneville and emerge behind the Utah State Capitol building, where you can sit on the grand steps and watch the sunset.

Find It

Nearest destinations: Utah State Capitol, Memory Grove, Temple Square and Downtown Salt Lake City

Trailhead parking: At gatehouse trail head, the State Capitol and atop Virginia Street

Trailhead GPS coordinates:

City Creek Canyon
40.7901163, -111.8790134

Bonneville Boulevard (near the Utah Capitol)
40.7796673, -111.8855008

Bonneville Boulevard (11th Avenue and B Street)
40.7819339, -111.8819925


Contributed by Jeremy Pugh

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