Head out from Salt Lake City and Walk along These Great Outdoor Trails
Few cities in the world can boast of having modern amenities to go with amazing outdoor activities, something of which Utah natives are rightfully proud. If you’re visiting Salt Lake City, whether you’re in the city center or suburbs like Holladay, there will be trails nearby, leading to your next great adventure. Just remember to follow trail rules, maintain hikers’ etiquette, and don’t over-exert yourself, or you’ll be calling on a chiropractor sooner than you think.
Here are seven ways to start walking from within the city.
City Creek Canyon
With its trailhead just behind the Capitol Building, this popular local trail best captures the essence of Salt Lake City’s access to both a modern metropolitan lifestyle and world-class outdoor attractions. Within minutes of heading along its 5.9-mile length, you’ll enjoy the sense of leaving behind the bustling city and entering the canyon’s peaceful foothills and meadows.
Another popular site for hikers and campers, Lake Blanche, is one of the most beautiful areas in the Wasatch Mountains. Start at the Mill B South Fork trailhead halfway up Big Cottonwood Canyon and follow the moderate trail for about 3.5 miles until you abruptly arrive at the lake itself. Bring your best photography gear; the scenery is dramatic. For an extra challenge and even better photos, you can go for the climb up Sundial Peak.
Offering a superior vantage point from which to view the surrounding valley and sunset if you time it right, Grandeur Peak is accessible through two different trails. The eastern access from Church Fork in Millcreek Canyon is longer, with an easier elevation gain for a moderate hike. The western access from the Wasatch Boulevard trailhead is much more difficult – go for it if you’re in good condition and need the extra workout.
Red Pine Lake
Locals love this high-mountain lake for its summer wildflower blooms and birdwatching opportunities. There are two lakes – upper and lower. To get there, follow the White Pine trailhead from Little Cottonwood Canyon, and after a strenuous but steady trek of about 3.4 miles, you’ll be at the lower lake. Note that while camping is permitted, campfires, swimming, and wading are not.
Looming 4,000 feet over Salt Lake City, the summit of Mount Olympus promises some of the best-unobstructed views in the area. Many locals consider it a rite of passage as one of the toughest trails around. The trailhead is on Wasatch Boulevard. Go slow and steady, and time it for sunrise if possible – there’s hardly any shade, so it can get hot later on, but you’ll also enjoy sweeping views all along the way.
A hidden gem, this granite canyon starts with a trailhead off Wasatch Boulevard in Sandy and shortly takes you to the Bell Canyon Reservoir. After that, the trail becomes more difficult, but a series of waterfalls presents the highlight of the hike. Going further, you’ll reach the upper reservoir – good if you’re up for the difficulty as fewer people make it this far.
Parks and gardens
Even if you’re not up for a few miles’ walk – or thousands of feet of elevation gain – Salt Lake City offers excellent green spaces, with 125 parks across the city. If you’ve got companions who aren’t as fit or want to bring your dog along for the walk, you won’t have any shortage of options.
These are just a handful of outdoor activities you can start from right within the city. Head out now and explore at your own pace.