hikes in Salt Lake City
Right on the doorstep of the Wasatch Mountains, Salt Lake City is the ideal jumping-off point for some truly fantastic hikes. This fascinating, beautiful corner of Utah is known for its impressive craggy peaks, and particularly for the brilliant skiing opportunities in the winter months. However, come to Salt Lake City in summer, when the skies are blue and the mountains call to all avid hikers.
As the locals will tell you, Salt Lake City’s proximity to some beautiful natural spots is what makes it a wonderful place to live and visit. With trails that begin right where the city ends, and stunning wilderness areas just a short drive away, this is a fantastic place to experience the beauty of the great outdoors. With dramatic canyons, picturesque streams and lakes, and imposing mountain peaks, there’s no shortage of wonderful hiking trails, just waiting to be discovered.
The Wasatch Mountains are particularly known for their canyons, and many of the trails listed here will take you close to Big Cottonwood Canyon, Little Cottonwood Canyon, or Mill Creek Canyon. Hiking in this terrain is a thrilling experience, with plenty of diversity to keep you entertained on the trail, and some really epic views.
Salt Lake City offers year-round adventures, with fantastic hiking and backpacking in the summer months, and superior skiing in the winter. To give you a little inspiration for your next trip, we’ve put together a guide to our favorite hikes in the region, together with some top tips on how to enjoy your trip. Sit back, relax, and start dreaming of your next adventure!
Types Of Hiking In Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City offers a whole host of wonderful hiking opportunities, with trails to suit all levels of ability and experience. The Wasatch Mountains offer some satisfying challenges for serious hikers, with trails that rise steeply up to towering summits. You’ll need plenty of energy to tackle some of these longer hikes, but there are rewards in abundance once you reach the top. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something a little easier, or travelling with family, you’ll find plenty of lower elevation trails with lots of interesting sights to keep younger hikers happy. With cascading waterfalls and pristine mountain lakes, there are lots of places to cool off on hot days, and plenty of beautiful picnic areas where you can relax and enjoy the view!
Easy Hikes In Salt Lake City
Cecret Lake Hike: This easy hike makes the most of the Alta ski lift access road to get you high into the alpine without having to expend much energy. Right from the start of the trail you’ll enjoy wonderful views, passing through alpine meadows until you come to a beautiful, serene lake. This is a wonderful place for a picnic and a tranquil moment amidst the magnificent scenery.
Family Hikes In Salt Lake City
Donut Falls Hike: The route to Donut Falls, deep in the heart of Big Cottonwood Canyon, is a classic family hike in Salt Lake City. It’s a short climb with spectacular views, and kids will love the sights and sounds of the huge cascading waterfall. Don’t forget to bring a change of socks as you may get wet feet on this fun, family hike!
Day Hikes In Salt Lake City
Red Pine Lake and Pfeifferhorn Ridge Hike: The route up to Red Pine Lake and further on to the Pfeifferhorn Ridge is one of the best day hikes in Salt Lake City, offering a magnificent panorama over the surrounding peaks. You’ll need to use your hands and there is some scrambling required at different points along the trail, but this is a really fun route for experienced, confident hikers.
Challenging Hikes In Salt Lake City
Box Elder Peak Hike: Hikers beware! This route up to Box Elder Peak is not for the faint of heart, with a steep, long climb all the way to the summit. However, if you’ve got the energy, the views from the top are simply sensational. You’ll see the Pfeifferhorn Ridge, Mount Timpanogos, and all the surrounding peaks, with views down as far as Salt Lake. This is an unmissable adventure if you’re a keen hiker.
Best Hikes In Salt Lake City
Clayton Peak Hike: The short, steep hike up to Clayton Peak is a surprisingly manageable route that offers some incredible views. As the ascent is relatively short, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the panorama from the summit, taking in the Wasatch Mountains, the Uintas, Mount Timpanogos and Box Elder. This is one of the best hikes in Salt Lake City if you want a short hiker that’s big on views.
Silver Lake Hike: Relatively few hikers make the journey to Silver Lake, but this quiet trail offers many delights. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow and the easy switchbacks mean that you’ll barely notice the elevation gain. This lake itself is beautiful, surrounded by imposing gray cliffs that create an incredible ambience. Cool off in the crisp waters of the lake, or take a picnic and simply admire the view.
Sunset Peak Hike: The route up to Sunset Peak passes by four stunning alpine lakes: Dog Lake, Lake Mary, Lake Martha and Lake Catherine. The views along the way are lovely, with plenty of places to stop and enjoy the water and the scenery. However, once you ascend Sunset Peak things move up a level, with a magnificent outlook into both the Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons, and a wonderful mountain panorama.
Mount Raymond Hike: The route up to the summit of Mount Raymond requires some relatively significant elevation gain over a short period, meaning that many hikers don’t include it on their Salt Lake City itinerary. We think this is a huge mistake as the Mount Raymond hike is an incredible trek with unique views into the heart of the Wasatch. Enjoy the solitary summit and the majesty of these grand peaks.
Lake Blanche Hike: Lake Blanche is the destination for an extremely popular hike in Salt Lake City, and it’s not hard to see why. The climb to the lake is steep, and will definitely get your legs working, but the views as you near the top are magnificent. This exceptionally pretty alpine lake is the perfect place for a picnic, where you can get your breath back after the stiff climb.
Mount Aire Hike: This fun trail offers plenty of variation and wonderful scenery, passing through forests and wildflower meadows before finally emerging at the summit. With few switchbacks, this trail is steep and fairly arduous, but if you’re looking for a good workout, it’s a great choice. The views from the top extend into the rolling foothills of the Wasatch, and all the way to Mount Raymond and Gobbler’s Knob.
When Is The Best Time To Hike In Salt Lake City?
The hiking season in Salt Lake City runs from May to October, although snow can linger on high ground well into May, and you may see early flurries in October. The summer months can be very hot, with temperatures rising to an average high of 32 degrees Celsius. The spring months are cooler, but you will find the trails very muddy at this time of year, due to the high rainfall and large volume of snowmelt. As a result, we think the best time to hike in Salt Lake City is September, when you can expect cool, comfortable temperatures for hiking, and there are far fewer hikers out on the trails. What’s more, at this time of year the turning leaves create some fabulous photo opportunities! In winter, snows render many trails inaccessible, but you’ll still have the chance to go snowshoeing, skiing or snowboarding.
Other Outdoor Activities In Salt Lake City
Although hiking is undoubtedly popular with visitors and locals alike, there are plenty of other wonderful outdoor activities in Salt Lake City! With endless miles of beautiful hiking trails, this is a great place for a backpacking trip, getting out into the wild for some backcountry camping. What’s more, you can also enjoy rock climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and road biking, all in beautiful countryside just a stone’s throw from the city. Salt Lake City also has a stellar reputation as a winter sports destination, and when the snows hit expect to enjoy both downhill and cross country skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing.
How To Plan A Trip To Salt Lake City
If you’re thinking of making Salt Lake City your next hiking destination, we’ve got all the information you’ll need to make your trip a success. Check out our comprehensive guide to planning a trip to Salt Lake City, complete with recommendations for where to stay, what to do, and insider tips to maximize your time in this part of Utah. If you need even more inspiration, or want to go even further afield, take a look at our list of all the top hikes in Utah. Whichever trail you choose, we’re sure you won’t be disappointed!Read More
The best hikes in Salt Lake City
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