We’ve gotta say: Salt Lake is a great place to be a dog. It’s also a great place to be a person who has a dog. Our four-legged family members force us to slow down a little, spend some time at the park, throw a stick on the hiking trail, sip just one more round of drinks on a sunny restaurant porch, or take a quiet stroll down the nearest nature path at dusk. All with our most loyal friends in tow.
Busy doggies-about-town enjoy getting to know our fair city’s parks, paths, trails, and patios. So supply your pup with the following list and start making your way through.
Memory Grove Park
Right at the edge of downtown Salt Lake, at the mouth of City Creek Canyon, the incredibly picturesque Memory Grove Park is a quiet, peaceful haven from the city bustle. Quiet and peaceful, that is, other than the exuberant splashes and celebratory barks of all the dogs frolicking around. City Creek stream runs through the park and feeds a pretty pond—perfect for a game of fetch involving canine cannonballs.
City Creek Canyon
Leave your car at Memory Grove Park (or just walk or pedal there if you’re close) and head up the main City Creek Canyon road or the dirt trail that parallels it on the opposite side of the canyon stream. Dogs are not only allowed here but are welcome. They just need to stay on leash (which is wise, as road cyclists can come zooming down the paved canyon road). The canyon road (and its parallel trail) continues for miles and gets quieter and quieter as you continue up.
The Bonneville Shoreline Trail
A gem of the Salt Lake Valley, the Bonneville Shoreline winds for miles and miles along the foothills of the city. Countless spurs and off-shoot trails give you and your dog endless terrain to explore, with constant breathtaking views of the city and the mountains that you both can appreciate. You can find a map of the entire trail network online and choose one of the many trailheads where you can hop on. While the wide-open space means you need to keep a close eye on your doggo (lest they wander too far chasing some interesting scent), it’s a super stimulating environment for them and fun for people too. Just be cautious to give mountain bikers a wide berth, as biking is popular on this trail network.
Tanner Dog Park
If dogs invented heaven, it would look like Tanner Dog Park. Nestled near the mouth of Parley’s Canyon, Tanner’s is an expansive gulley full of nature paths, a stream, and plenty of fellow doggies your pup can socialize with. You can spend an entire afternoon wandering here. Just use caution when the winter snowmelt’s runoff has the stream blasting at top speed (which usually happens during late spring and early summer). When the stream’s flowing this strongly, it’s not a safe place for puppers.
The Pipeline Trail
An easily accessible, miles-long trail just inside the Millcreek Canyon toll gate, the Pipeline is a tried-and-true dog walking destination with plenty of appealing scenery and all the convenience in the world. There are a few items of note: dogs are allowed every day in Millcreek, but can only be off leash on odd-numbered days. (On even-numbered days, mountain bikers take to the trails, which is fine if your dog is on leash and less fine if the bikers are trying to wobble around your dog.) Also, keep a sharp eye out for snakes in the warmer months. You may want to consider a rattlesnake-aversion class for your dog before setting out.
At the top of Millcreek Canyon, you’ll find the Dog Lake Trailhead. A few miles up that trail, you’ll find Doggie Nirvana. A wooded wonderland, high enough elevation to feel nice and cool on a summer day, with a lake at the top. (Not a large lake, but a lake nonetheless.) Dogs have a ball, quite literally, here, and it’s a perfect picnic spot for their people, too.
Relatively little-known for how darn amazing it is for dogs, Killyon Canyon sits in the higher reaches of Emmigration Canyon. While you’re not allowed to park right at the start of the Killyon trail, you can park a short ways downhill. You can aimlessly wander and explore the entire network of side-trails and pathways within the Killyon area. Plenty of water crossings keep pups nice and cool during the summer months. And maybe a bit muddy on the drive home.
Jordan River Parkway
Right within the urban heart of Salt Lake Valley, a pretty landscaped nature path follows the Jordan River, which drains into the Great Salt Lake. The path stretches a whopping 45 miles long, all the way from the north end of the city to Utah Lake. The walking path is not only pretty and well used, but dogs are allowed on leash. So take your pup for a walk on the riverwalk and see what you can see.
This well loved canyon isn’t as vast as some of the Wasatch’s better-known canyons, but it sure makes up for that with dramatic scenery and dog friendliness. Perched above the Olympus Cove neighborhood, the Neff’s trailhead heads generally eastward along a dirt service road and, eventually, on a nice singletrack trail. Keep the walk short and sweet, playing in the canyon stream near the mouth of Neff’s, or take your dog all the way to the meadow three miles up. Just keep an eye out for rattlers on sunny summer days. (Simply keeping your dog on leash can really lower the risk of a snake altercation—and/or having your dog attend a snake aversion class!)
Your local pup-friendly bar, brewery, or restaurant patio
The delicious truth: not every dog outing has to involve a workout. And if they’ve already gotten their miles in on one of the aforementioned trails, they’ve surely earned a sunny nap on the patio of a welcoming bar or eatery. There are a couple dozen establishments around town that allow dogs (Salt Lake Magazine’s most recent list is here). Campfire Lounge in Sugarhouse is a crowd favorite, as are Fisher Brewing, Roots Cafe, T.F. Brewing, and Caputo’s on 15th. Keep in mind that this is a warmer-months undertaking only—because as of now, dogs aren’t allowed inside any restaurants, so these ones all open their patios up for four-legged guests. Some prefer that they have all their tags on to prove immunizations and such, so come prepared. And enjoy.