The Living Room
Photo: Jay Dash
Distance and elevation gain: 4.4 miles, 967 feet
Trail type: Single track hiking
Trail uses: Hiking, trail running
Seasonality: Year-round. In winter, traction assistance (Yak-Trax, Ice Trekkers) are recommended.
Bathroom: Utah Museum of Natural History, Red Butte Garden Visitors Center
Pro Tip: If you plan on hiking at sunset, bring headlamps. Your phone flashlight is not sufficient for the down hike.
If there is one hike that nearly every Salt Laker can claim to have done, this is it. The 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.
The hike’s homey name comes from a set of rocks arranged into various seating configurations, creating a living room type arrangement (get it?). But the name is more than a cheeky reference to some creative vandals’ rock art. The top of this hike is truly a gathering space for Salt Lakers, who use the trail to get a quick workout on lunch breaks, or any break at all. At pretty much any hour of the day (and more so near sunset) you’ll find a genial group of your fellow hikers and trail runners, socializing at the top enjoying the view (most often with their canine best friends) and perhaps an adult beverage. That corkscrew on your Swiss Army knife might now come in handy.
The appeal is obvious. Ample parking along a roadway near the Natural History Museum of Utah, is your starting point. Things begin easy enough — a quick ramble through some shady scrub oak trees onto the bench where you’ll encounter a well-trafficked section of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST). There are a lot of spider-webbed trails that head into the foothills. Look for a large, well-trafficked path on the left. If you have doubts, ask. Don’t worry there will be plenty of folks on the trail who can point you the right way.
Once you’re on your way. You’ll head back into a draw where the climb gets steep. The trail will emerge out onto a bench where you’ll be able to see your destination across another draw before dipping back into the hillside for more climbing. Be sure to turn around and peek at your progress as you elevate towards the Living Room. Once there, if you want more climbing and even more view (and more privacy) there’s a trail that continues up to the peak above. For most however, the Living Room is sufficient and it’s time to take a load off and look out over, literally, the entire valley.
Nearest destination: Natural History Museum of Utah, Red Butte Garden Visitors Center
Trailhead parking: Living Room Trailhead, 383 Colorow Rd., Salt Lake City
Trailhead GPS coordinates:
Colorow Road (north access)
Colorow Road (south access)
Contributed by Jeremy Pugh