Best Hikes in Salt Lake City
One of the best things about the state of Utah is the gorgeous scenery. In fact, we might even go so far as to say Utah is one of our very favorite places to admire the works of Mother Nature. Of course, the best way to really soak in the beauty of the great outdoors is through hiking.
As you might imagine, Utah has plenty of absolutely incredible hiking opportunities. Many of these are near Salt Lake City, making this Utah town an even better place to visit.
Wondering where to find the best hikes in Salt Lake City? Check out our list of Salt Lake City-area hiking opportunities. We’ve included descriptions, the length and difficulty of each trail, and even links to Salt Lake City hiking trails map files, so you can choose the option that’s best for you and your hiking party.
Best Salt Lake City Hiking Trails for Beginners
Need an easy hike that even a brand new beginner can accomplish? Easy Salt Lake City hiking trails are perfect for young children, senior hikers, and those who are just getting their feet wet. They offer the wonderful views everyone wants from a hike without the strenuous exercise, meaning you can finish with plenty of energy for even more Salt Lake City sightseeing.
Below are the best Salt Lake City hiking trails for beginners:
Ensign Peak Trail and Overlook
A super popular out-and-back trail located in Memory Grove Park, Ensign Peak Trail is ideal for beginners of all ages. The bird watching here is fantastic, and mountain biking is an option as well. Additionally, dogs are allowed as long as they are leashed.
The view at the end of this trail is surprisingly beautiful considering how short the hike is, making this a very rewarding hike.
Silver Lake Loop Trail
A lovely loop that circles Silver Lake, this trail is wheelchair- and stroller-friendly, making it perfect for parties of all ages and abilities. It should be noted however that dogs are not allowed on this trail.
We love that this trail features nice views and a good breeze from the water. We also appreciate the bridges along the trail, as well as the wildflowers that often grow here.
Mill B South Trail
Mill B South Trail is an easy out-and-back hike located in Big Cottonwood Canyon. It is wheelchair- and stroller-accessible and 100% kid friendly. That said, dogs are not allowed on this trail.
During your hike along this trail you will come across a waterfall. Additionally, you may see wildflowers, native birds, and other small animals. The interesting sights and the fact that it’s easy and short make this the ideal hike for little ones.
Best Medium Hiking Trails in Salt Lake City
Those looking for something a bit more difficult than the easy Salt Lake City hiking options listed above should look into moderate-level hiking opportunities. Fortunately, some of the best hiking trails in Salt Lake City are rated “moderate”, meaning you’ll have lots of wonderful trails to choose from.
In our opinion, these are the best medium hiking trails in Salt Lake City:
The Living Room Lookout Trail
A super well-known hike, The Living Room Lookout Trail is tons of fun. At 2.3 miles long, it is a bit longer than the trails listed above, but still very doable. Dogs are allowed on this hike, and it is pretty kid friendly.
The view of the city offered by this trail is incredible, making it worth the climb. That said, the hike doesn’t offer much in the way of shade, making it a better cool-weather, morning, or nighttime hike.
Lake Mary Trail
Located in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, this trail is an absolutely beautiful option. It is easy enough that most kids will be able to participate, but still offers a bit of a workout. Fishing is available along the trail, which is next to a lake. Snowshoeing is also an option during the winter months. That said, dogs and swimming are both prohibited.
We love the wildflowers found along this trail during the summer and the soft snow that covers the trail in the colder months. The forest is lovely, and the lake is gorgeous.
Salt Lake Overlook via Desolation Trail
Desolation Trail is a dog- and kid-friendly trail in Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. It is a bit of a workout, but nothing most elementary aged children couldn’t handle. That said, there are some pretty intense drop-offs along the way.
This trail offers some of the best views in the area. It also features a pretty river and plenty of birds, making it a great bird-watching location.
Willow Lake Trail
This is a pretty loop trail that offers year-round hiking opportunities. It is good for kids, but doesn’t allow dogs. Be prepared for little to no shade, some steep spots, and a couple of river crossings with makeshift bridges.
We love that this hike features so much water. We also appreciate the abundance of wildlife often found along the trail. Ducks and deer are just some of the animals people tend to see while visiting. Of course, the gorgeous views are quite nice as well.
Best Advanced Hiking Trails in Salt Lake City
Last but not least, there are the hard Salt Lake City, Utah hiking options. These more challenging trails are not for the faint of heart. They require more skill and endurance and are best for more experienced individuals who are in good shape. That said, each trail does reward the hiker with some pretty epic views.
Below we’ve listed the best advanced Salt Lake City hiking trails.
Mount Olympus Trail
Mount Olympus Trail is located in Mount Olympus Wilderness. It’s a much longer and more strenuous trail that is best for experienced hikers. Expect a steep incline with some areas where scrambling is necessary. Fortunately, the effort to get to the top is rewarded with a fantastic view.
Dogs are allowed on this trail, but some dogs may not be able to make it to the top thanks to the steep incline. Younger kids and those who haven’t hiked much may find this particular trail a bit too difficult.
Grandeur Peak East Trail from Church Fork
Another long and difficult trail, Grandeur Peak East Trail is perfect for the experienced hiker looking for a bit of a challenge. Again, there is quite a bit of climbing involved. Shade is available in spots, but there are areas with hardly any shade at all.
This trail features a lovely waterfall, pretty flowers and greenery, and some amazing views. Snakes, lizards, deer, and birds are all seen frequently, making the hike even more interesting.
Neffs Canyon Trail
Neffs Canyon Trail is slightly shorter than the other two difficult trails listed. Still, it is pretty strenuous and likely not a trail for very young children or adults who aren’t in decent shape.
There are lots of streams on the trail, meaning you will want to wear boots. There is also snow on part of the trail for the vast majority of the year, which is beautiful but can make seeing the trail a bit difficult. Be prepared to get on your hands and knees to scramble here and there, and do know that some areas are quite steep.
Not to worry though! All of your work will be rewarded with some seriously awesome views.
Tips for Hiking in the Salt Lake City Summers
Hiking in Salt Lake City during the summer months is a challenge. Utah summers are hot and dry, and that means it’s extremely easy to become dehydrated while out hiking. Additionally, summertime hiking in Salt Lake City area can lead to sunburn.
Fortunately, there are ways around the issues that come with summer hiking in Utah. Below are our top tips.
Wear a Hat
A hat can work wonders when it comes to shading your face and shoulders, and ensuring your eyes aren’t damaged by sunlight. Always wear one when hiking in the bright sunshine to protect yourself from UV rays.
Slather on Sunscreen
Sunscreen is another thing you’ll always want to wear for sun protection. Invest in high quality, waterproof sunscreen, and reapply it often throughout your hike. After all, nobody wants to go home with a sunburn as a souvenir.
Pack Plenty of Water
Because hiking near Salt Lake City, UT in summer is a hot and dry experience, you will need to take plenty of water along in order to stay hydrated. We recommend purchasing a water pack to wear on your back and sip on throughout your hike.
Bring a Water Filter
While many Salt Lake City hiking trails will be completely void of natural water sources, others may pass by a stream or two. In those cases, a portable water filter of some sort is good to have just in case you run out of the water you packed.
Keep a Compass and Map
Getting lost while hiking in the heat of the summer can be extremely dangerous. Help ensure this doesn’t happen by always packing a map of the trail you’ll be hiking as well as the surrounding area. Additionally, a compass is a good thing to have on hand in case you get turned around.
Go Early or Stay Late
Some of the best hikes near Salt Lake City are ideal when experienced in the early morning or at night. Going during these times allows you to enjoy the sunrise or sunset and keeps you nice and cool. Additionally, staying out after dark is a unique experience that can lead to some fantastic discoveries.
Hiking Trails in Salt Lake City FAQ
Still have questions about hiking near Salt Lake City? In this section, we will cover some of the most-asked questions so you can head out with confidence when hiking around Salt Lake City.
How many hiking trails are in Salt Lake City?
With nearly 200 hiking trails, the Salt Lake City area has plenty of amazing opportunities to get out and experience the wonders of nature. The nearby national forest is home to many of these trails. Meanwhile, the Mount Olympus Wilderness has some of the most ideal mountains to hike in Salt Lake City.
Where can I hike in Salt Lake City?
As mentioned above, Mount Olympus Wilderness has multiple hiking trails. Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest is another fabulous option with many of the best north Salt Lake City hiking trails. Other places to look for hiking include Red Butte Canyon Research Natural Area, Memory Grove Park, and Twin Peaks Wilderness.
Where can I hike at night in Salt Lake City?
There are several night trails in Salt Lake City, UT. Finding out whether or not a trail can be hiked at night is as simple as visiting the website of the park or recreation area the trail is located in. In some cases, you may have to call.
Below are some of our favorite trails to hike around sunset and just after. Each one offers lovely views of the sunset and an interesting night hike on the way back. Just make sure to take a good flashlight!
- The Living Room Lookout Trail in Red Butte Research Natural Area
- Desolation Trail in Millcreek Canyon
- Burch Hollow Trail in Millcreek Canyon
Hiking in Salt Lake City is wonderful, but it’s even better when you have a comfortable place to return to after a long journey through the Utah wilderness. This is where an RV rental can come into play.
Utah is the perfect place for RVing, and with a rental from RVshare and a reservation at one of our favorite Utah campgrounds, you can experience all the state has to offer the campers and hikers of the world.