Salt Lake City is synonymous with outdoor adventure. With the Wasatch Mountain range providing a surreal backdrop, it’s easy to see why hiking is so popular among visitors and locals alike. Whether hitting the trails right outside downtown or driving further up the range to experience the overwhelming beauty of the canyons above town, we have hiking options for every skill level.
City Accessible Trailheads
A great place to start your Salt Lake City hiking adventures is City Creek Canyon. Visitors can access the trail from downtown, through serene Memory Grove, or from access points on either side of the canyon, such as near the visitor center at Council Hall, just south of the Utah Capitol. An easy hike, City Creek Canyon features both a paved road and a parallel singletrack hiking trail.
Another spot nearby is Ensign Peak. It’s accessible from downtown and the perfect short, easy hike for the entire family with some mild uphill sections. After 25 minutes, you’ll reach the top to soak in the unreal views of the city and the Great Salt Lake.
Set your sights on Neff’s Canyon for a moderate hike, which is easily accessible from SLC’s East Bench. On this dog-friendly trail, you’ll cross a charming stream before reaching a meadow decorated with lovely wildflowers. The hike is seven miles round trip, providing great exercise for the body and therapeutic scenery for the mind.
For a more challenging trek, Mt. Olympus is calling your name. The trail is steep and unshaded, so if you’re making the journey in the warmer months, make sure to bring plenty of water and get an early start to take advantage of the morning shade. The trail gains quickly in altitude, treating you to far-reaching city views along the way. After 3.75 miles, you’ll hit a summit 4,000 feet over the city, where you’ll truly feel on top of the world.
Experience a waterfall and captivating reservoir on the challenging Bell’s Canyon Trail. There are scenic outlooks and a nice stream that parallels the trail to keep you company. Hike two miles to the picturesque waterfall or stomp another three to the upper reservoir, which could easily pass for a natural lake below the Lone Peak summit.
Canyon Trails Further Above SLC
For Salt Lake hiking trails in the canyons above town, start with the easy, family-friendly Lake Mary, Martha, and Catherine Trail. To reach this four-mile round trip adventure, park in the Brighton Ski Resort lot and follow the signs for Lake Mary. Two miles later, say hello to this stunning body of mountain water. If you’re up for it, continue on to experience the grandeur of Martha and Catherine, two more unforgettable alpine lakes.
Visit one of the most enchanting spots in the Wasatch Mountains on the moderate 6.9-mile round trip Lake Blanche hike. After three vigorous uphill miles, the trail veers into a side canyon that leads to a lake with a transcendent backdrop of soaring mountain peaks. Once there, take in the sparkling waters and otherworldly vibe of the scene.
The easy to moderate Grizzly Gulch hike is a great way to beat the heat and enjoy the cool mountain air. Cross a lovely stream, spend time among the wildflowers, and take some extra time to enjoy the impressive views of Little Cottonwood Canyon.
With plenty of trails to explore, Salt Lake is not only the perfect place for hikers, but bikers as well. Check out the region’s biking trails here.