Salt Lake City hiking is epic, as mountains and scenic views are plentiful in and around the Salt Lake Valley. To the near east of the Utah capital, the numerous peaks of the Wasatch Range rise thousands of feet into the sky, and there is no shortage of excellent trails winding their way through the 1.3-million-acre Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Hikes near Salt Lake City range from easy to difficult, and regardless of where you decide to do your trekking, beautiful views will likely abound.
Some of the best hiking trails in Salt Lake City can be found in the nearby canyons, including Little Cottonwood Canyon and Big Cottonwood Canyon. Some of the most popular trails in these canyons lead to scenic alpine lakes, such as the Lower and Upper Red Pine Lakes in Little Cottonwood Canyon. You can head to resort destinations like Alta and Brighton in these canyons to do some quality hiking, or you can park near a trailhead and see where the trail takes you. The canyons are extremely accessible from the city and require little more than a fifteen-minute drive. Once you are in a canyon, trailheads are around every corner.
One of the most popular hikes near Salt Lake City involves taking on Mount Olympus. This 9,026-foot mountain rises up on the east side of Utah's capital city, and should you make it to the top, the views of the Salt Lake Valley are usually very good. The wide trail on Mount Olympus gains 4,100 feet of elevation along its almost four-mile course, so it can present a hefty challenge if you hike at a good clip. Less advanced hikers should be able to handle the hike as long as they take it slow. Skiing might be the top activity in and around Salt Lake City in the winter, but it's worth noting that some people take on Mount Olympus even during the colder months. As is true of most hiking trails in Salt Lake City, however, this one is arguably best enjoyed in the summer and fall when the autumn leaves are at their peak.
One of the other most popular hiking trails that can be found in the Salt Lake City area is the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. This trail is still a work in progress, and when it is finished, it will stretch more than 250 miles from the Idaho Border on down to Nephi. Nephi is about an hour's drive south of Salt Lake City. For Salt Lake City visitors, the parts of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail that pass near the capital will understandably be the easiest to access, and these parts stretch from the nearby city of Farmington over to the Parley's Canyon area. While hiking the portion of the trail near the city, you will be rewarded with splendid city views, the opportunity for beautiful photos of the Great Salt Lake, and excellent mountain panoramas. Farmington, it is worth noting, can be found fewer than twenty miles northeast of Salt Lake City and is home to the Lagoon Amusement Park.
When hiking the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, you will encounter plenty of elevation changes, and depending on how much time you have, you might pick up some of the other trails in the area. Breaking off and heading into Parley's Canyon is a preferred option for many, as this canyon is a joy to explore by foot. When the Bonneville Shoreline Trail is ultimately finished, connections to all kinds of area trails will be available, only adding to the already splendid opportunities. Speaking of splendid hiking opportunities, those who are serious about Salt Lake City hiking will find that a trip to Antelope Island can be an ideal complement to hiking the Bonneville Shoreline and other Salt Lake City trails.
Antelope Island is a fantastic destination for a number of reasons. This largest island in the Great Salt Lake is mountainous and full of interesting wildlife. For hikers, there are numerous trails that can be enjoyed on the island, with one of the best being the trail that climbs to the top of Frary Peak. The highest point on all of Antelope Island, Frary Peak offers amazing views of the island itself, the surrounding Great Salt Lake, and the beautiful Wasatch Mountains to the east. As is true of some of the other hiking trails in Salt Lake City, dogs are not permitted on the Frary Peak trail due largely to the abundance of wildlife.
The Salt Lake City hiking opportunities are plentiful, and should you need some help finding ones that fit your wants and needs, there are plenty of good resources in and around town. For starters, the concierges at top-rated hotels like the Grand America can provide tourists with hiking tips, and even if your hotel doesn't have a concierge, the staff can usually provide some good recommendations. Sporting goods stores can be some of the best places to get Salt Lake City hiking tips, and you can also get trail info and maps at one of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest visitor centers or ranger district offices. The main Salt Lake City office can be found at 125 South State Street.
Image: Adam Barker