East Canyon State Park

East Canyon State Park
  • Weather: Mostly Clear, 90F

For history buffs, East Canyon offers the opportunity to retrace the footsteps of pioneers. Visitors can splash in the springs where the Donner party collected drinking water, hike beside Brigham Young’s wagon ruts, or mountain bike down the Pony Express route.

The rugged canyon, oozing of history, is a land of stark contrasts. Sagebrush gives to oak and then to cottonwood. Long expanses of dry dirt are suddenly punctuated by creek beds. In summer, when the temperature rises to 90 degrees, modern day travelers swim in East Canyon Reservoir below snow-capped peaks that last until July or later.

This diversity doesn't end with the landscape. No matter your interests, East Canyon State Park has something to attract you. Like fishing? Grab your fishing pole (and a Utah fishing license) — the reservoir is teeming with rainbow trout. Looking for a family outing? Pack up your kids, the tent, and a telescope. The park’s campgrounds offer prime stargazing.

Things To Do in East Canyon

The heart and soul of East Canyon State Park is the reservoir. When the temperatures soar in Salt Lake City, the snow-fed water of this mountain lake is both refreshing and peaceful. At the marina, visitors can rent a speedboat, jet ski or kayak. Children enjoy fishing from the dock and eating ice cream from the store.

If you prefer land-based activities, head several miles south to Mormon Flat. Here, you can picnic at one of the last Mormon pioneer camps, or head out on the historic Mormon Pioneer Trail. The trail climbs gradually toward Big Mountain Pass and provides expansive views for hikers and mountain bikers.

Although East Canyon State Park is close to the big city, the mountains provide a blockade for light pollution. At night, visitors are treated to an array of black skies and starry constellations. In fact, it's been certified by the International Dark-Sky Association as an official Dark Sky Park.

Where to Stay

East Canyon State Park and the surrounding area offer a wide variety of accommodations, from the rustic to the luxurious. Dixie Campground, the largest campground in the park, offers 33 full and partial-hookup campsites, as well as several yurts. Or, for a more unique experience, sleep under the stars in the 8-person hammock camping site at Big Rock campground. Advance camping reservations are recommended.

If you prefer to sleep indoors, rent a cabin. The rustic, but comfortable, log structures at East Canyon State Park sleep six people and have bunk beds, air conditioning, heat, lights, a microwave and refrigerator. For another step up, nearby East Canyon Resort offers a vacation experience with condo rentals, tennis courts and a swimming pool.

Visiting East Canyon State Park

The biggest draw of East Canyon State Park is its proximity to the Salt Lake City metro area. A mere 35 miles from Salt Lake, the park is a short, scenic drive from the city along I-80 and S.R. 65. The park is also easily accessible from the north. Driving from Ogden, the route takes about 45 minutes on I-84 to S.R. 66. 

East Canyon State Park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Day-use entry fee required, purchase in-person or online. The Annual Utah State Park Pass is accepted for park entry.

Note: Access to SR-65 via Mountain Dell in Parley's Canyon is closed during winter, typically from November to June. Click here for more information on road conditions throughout Utah.

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