Top Day Hikes Near Salt Lake City

The heart of Salt Lake City beats with business, culture, education, traffic, and all the accoutrements of metropolitan living. But unlike most other metropolitan areas, lush, beautiful mountains and canyons sit on the very borders of the city and offer hiking opportunities within minutes of its hustle and bustle. The outdoor lifestyle available near Salt Lake City draws many people to the area, whether to live or just to visit.

These Salt Lake City hikes lead into the depths of the glorious, green mountains and the respite they offer. Being able to take a quick hike after work is but one of the reasons the outdoor lifestyle thrives in Utah. City Creek Canyon, for example, is just east of Capitol Hill, and only a few minutes from downtown. Hikers, cyclists and mountain bikers all enjoy City Creek Canyon, which accesses multiple trailheads to the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest and the extensive Bonneville Shoreline Trail, a trail system extending the length of the valley (and the former shoreline of the ancient Lake Bonneville).

City Sampler

Easy: Ensign Peak is an easy, 1-mile-round-trip hike up an historic hill to a panoramic view south over SLC and west over the Great Salt Lake.

Moderate: The Living Room is a locals' favorite on the East Bench near Red Butte Garden. It is a moderate round-trip hike covering four miles and lots of elevation.

Strenuous: To find even more elevation over Salt Lake, head for the Little Black Mountain trailhead in the Avenues neighborhood of the city. The 7.4-mile, round-trip excursion picks up more than 2,400 feet (with a strenuous scramble over some scree near the end of the hike) but rewards with a stunning view across the canyons of the Wasatch Front.

Greater Salt Lake

Each of the trails described below lies within an hour of Salt Lake City, some much closer. This is but a small selection of the fantastic hiking opportunities in the Salt Lake County area, but it’s plenty to get you started, and these five Salt Lake City hikes offer something for everyone a short distance from town.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

Make plans to try some of these prime hiking routes next time you travel through the Salt Lake City area!

What's Nearby

Salt Lake City

Experience the vibrant culture, local dining and "backyard" outdoor adventure of Utah's largest city

Read More

Ogden, Utah

The lively and historic Ogden is an outdoor recreation mecca 45 minutes north of Salt Lake City, minutes from three ski resorts and infinite summer recreation.

Read More

Antelope Island State Park

Antelope Island offers some of the best recreation, wildlife watching and camping in Northern Utah.

Read More