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15 Best Salt Lake City Hiking Trails

The best salt lake city hiking trails

During our trip to Salt Lake City in April, I was blown away by just how many hiking trails Salt Lake City had to offer! There are plenty of easy Salt Lake City hiking trails, but this list will include a variety of difficulty levels because some of the views are definitely worth the hike! This isn’t a comprehensive list of all hiking trails near Salt Lake City, but these hikes should definitely be on top of your to-do list if you’re visiting Salt Lake City.

Easy Salt Lake City Hiking Trails

You don’t have to climb a mountain to see some amazing views of the city and nearby mountains! These easy hikes near Salt Lake City can be done in a few hours and won’t require a ton of energy expenditure.

1. Donut Falls Hiking Trail

Easy hiking trails in Salt Lake City

Let’s start with the first hike I did in Salt Lake City. Donut Falls is an incredible feat of nature that would have been so epic for photos, but unfortunately, it was still covered in snow when we went, so I wasn’t able to get photos of the waterfall. Donut Falls gets its name because the waterfalls through a donut-shaped hole in the side of the mountain. The combination of the water and light coming through the hole makes for stunning photos. The trail is about is only about 1.5 miles long, so it’s a great starter hike if you’re visiting Salt Lake City.

2. Cecret Lake Hiking Trail

best easy hikes in salt lake city

The Cecret Lake hiking trail near Salt Lake City is another 1.5-mile trail that is perfect for those just starting to get into hiking or if you want to experience nature without having to spend the entire day trekking up the mountainside. This Salt Lake City hiking trail looks like the perfect place for a summer picnic when the wildflowers are in bloom in June or July!

3. Bonneville Shoreline Hiking Trail

One of the things that surprised me was that dogs are prohibited on several of the best hiking trails in Salt Lake City. One of our favorite things to do is to take our pup, Grace, with us when we get in nature. Luckily if you are visiting Salt Lake City with your furry friend, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail is a great option for hiking in Salt Lake City with your dog! In total, the trail stretches 10.5 miles, but there are several places to hop on the path. You get views of the city, the Great Salt Lake, and the mountains in the distance. The views of the sunset here are also incredible.

4. Willow Lake Hiking Trail

One of the easier Big Cottonwood Canyon Hikes. this easy trail will take you just a couple hours to complete. At 2 miles out and back you’ll be able to check out more than one Salt Lake City hiking trail if you wanted to. The hike has beautiful colors, an alpine lake, and even a chance to see wildlife like deer and moose.

Moderate Salt Lake City Hiking Trails

These three Salt Lake City hiking trails are a little more challenging than the three above but are still easy enough that just about everyone should be able to complete them. It may just take some people a little longer than others to get to the end of the trail.

5. Desolation Trail to Salt Lake Overlook Hiking Trail

Another great hiking trail in Salt Lake City that allows dogs is the Desolation Trail to Salt Lake Overlook. At 4.1 miles in length and about 1,300 ft of elevation gain, you will have to walk a little further than the easy hikes. This trail has views of the city and is a great spot when the wildflowers are in bloom!

6. The Living Room Trail

A short, but steep hike is an easy to get to hiking trail in Salt Lake City. Its called the Living Room because of the sandstone “sofas” at the end of the trail where you can rest after the 1.5 miles and nearly 1000 ft of elevation gain hike. Being so close to downtown Salt Lake City this trail is heavily trafficked, so you probably won’t have the sofa to yourself.

7. Lake Mary Trail

Lake Mary Salt Lake City Utah Hiking Trails

There is something about alpine lakes with the big pine tree and mountains in the distance that is just too beautiful to put into words. A lot of the nearby alpine lakes require a longer, steeper hike, but Lake Mary hiking trail in Salt Lake City is a relatively easy 2.2 mile out and back hike. It isn’t too steep with about 700 feet of elevation gain either, and the views are great in the spring and summer.

8. Bell Canyon Hiking Trail

Salt Lake City Hiking Trails
Image by David Winne

The Bell Canyon Trail starts just as you enter Little Cottonwood Canyon. This moderately difficult 4 mile, 1,500 feet of elevation gained hike will reward you with spectacular views of Salt Lake City and a beautiful waterfall at the top end of the trail. Begin this hike mid-afternoon to be treated to a spectacular view of the sun setting over the city.

9. Brighton Lakes Trail

The Brighton Lakes Trail consists has three lakes along its path. Lake Mary (which I recommend above is the easiest and most popular Big Cottonwood Canyon Hikes. If you want to get away from the crowds, I suggest you keep taking the trail up to Lake Martha or Lake Catherine to have a quiet secluded picnic or just enjoy the beautiful scenery this Salt Lake City Hiking Trail has to offer!

10. Lofty Lake Trail

This one is probably on the higher end of moderate since the entire trail is above 10,000 feet of elevation. Located in the Unita Mountain Range about 40 miles from downtown Salt Lake City this beautiful trail runs through forest, meadows and ends at a stunning alpine lake. This Salt Lake City hiking trail is the perfect way to spend a summer or fall afternoon.

Difficult Salt Lake City Hiking Trails

Now, these trails are some of the more difficult hiking in Salt Lake City. When you make it to the top of these trails you’re rewarded with spectacular views that are well worth the effort to get to the top.

11. Red Pine Lake Trail

best difficult salt lake city hiking trails

I had my mindset that I was going to complete one of these difficult hikes while I was in Utah and get that perfect mountain Instagram shot, but while I did make it to the top, the lake was still frozen and covered in snow. The trail was still entirely covered in snow, and there were a few places I sunk in well past my knees. The scenery was stunning, and I was happy I did it, but the narrow trail was a bit sketchy at times due to the slippery melting snow. It’s about 10 miles round-trip and is quite steep at almost 2500 feet of elevation gain. I’d love to go back during the summer and experience this little cottonwood canyon trail while it wasn’t snow-covered

12. White Pine Lake Trail

Difficult Salt Lake City Hiking Trails: White Pine Canyon
Image by Brandon Rasmussen

Another difficult Salt Lake City hiking trail that you can find in Little Cottonwood Canyon is the White Pine Lake Trail. You can begin the White Pine Lake Trail from the same parking area as the Red Pine Lake Trail. Very similar in length and elevation gain as the Red Pine Lake Trail this 10.5 mile, 2800 ft of elevation gain makes for a great all-day hike or an overnight backpacking trip. Since this trail is in a protected watershed there is no swimming in the lake and dogs are not allowed.

13. Lake Blanche Trail 

best difficult salt lake city hikes

The photos of this hike on AllTrails are just amazing. A challenging Salt Lake City hiking trail that features an alpine lake, waterfall, and plenty of wildlife. If we go back to Salt Lake City in the summer months, this is a hike that I need to do because it looks so beautiful!

14. Mount Olympus Trail

Best salt lake city hiking trails

Now this one is a doozy. Just 6 miles out and back, but with over 4100 feet of elevation gain. You need to come prepared if you plan on hitting the Mount Olympus trail. When you make it to the summit, you will be rewarded with some absolutely stunning views.

15. Mount Timpanogos Aspen Grove Hiking Trail

Best hikes near salt lake city utah

About 35 miles outside of Salt Lake City sits Mount Timpanogos. At just shy of 11,800 ft of elevation this is a serious, full-day hike for even a seasoned hiker. This difficult Salt Lake City hiking trail is about 16 miles out and back with 5,500 feet of elevation gain. You’ll get just about every type of landscape a Utah hike could offer from meadows of wildflowers and waterfalls to lakes and a glacial bowl. You are almost guaranteed to see mountain goats and keep an eye out for other wildlife too. Dogs and camping are allowed, so if you want to break up this hike into a couple of days you are able to.

The Best Hikes in Salt Lake City Bonus

best hikes near salt lake city

Utah hiking is some of the best in the country. From the Salt Lake City hiking trails mentioned above to the national parks in Southern Utah. The best hikes in Salt Lake City are the perfect afternoon activity whether you’re just visiting Salt Lake City like we were, or if you’ve lived there for years! A bonus tip if you have some free time we recommend driving down to the Pony Express Route in Toole County where you may have the opportunity to spot some of Utah’s wild horses! It was a cool drive full of a bunch of varying terrains, and would also have some great spots for short hikes.

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Utah hiking is some of the best in the country. From the Salt Lake City hiking trails to the national parks in Southern Utah there are trails suitable for everyone.

1 Comment

  1. […] amazing places like this who wouldn’t want to go for a hike?! This photo was taken mid-April just outside of Salt Lake City. We were there because Mallory was attending a conference, so I spent most days out hiking while she […]

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