The Best Places to Hike in Salt Lake & Utah County

Utah is full of incredible places to take in Mother Nature’s beauty. Now that spring is here, we’re taking the challenge to get our buns off the couch and go outside into the world! We hope you’ll take the challenge with us and check out some of these greats trails all over Salt Lake and Utah County. We’ve ordered them by location, and then from least difficult to most…so whether you’re an experienced hiker or just getting started, there is definitely an option here to get you moving.

 

SALT LAKE COUNTY

Ensign Peak

1 mile round trip

It is believed the peak of this small hill is the viewpoint from which Brigham Young and several other LDS church leaders looked down over the Salt Lake valley and planned the framework for a new city. It’s a great easy walk, perfect for after work or a Sunday afternoon, and only takes about 15 minutes up and 15 minutes back down. The best way to take in this view is with a picnic basket in hand.

Donut Falls, Big Cottonwood Canyon

3.5 mile round trip

This hike is perfect for a short evening walk or a casual weekend outing for the family. There is about ½ mile from parking to the trailhead, but it doesn’t get too steep and has an incredible view at the end. The last 100 yards to the cave can get slick, so if you’d like to go up that high you may want hiking boots with spikes in the late winter/early spring.

Desolation Trail, Salt Lake Overlook

3.5 mile round trip

Set in Millcreek Canyon, this pleasant short trail elevates to an idyllic spot for viewing sunsets overlooking the Salt Lake valley. The trail begins just east of the Millcreek Inn Restaurant. It climbs approximately 1,250 feet up long and steady switchbacks. The scenery all along the way is vibrant with colorful flowers and wildlife, so take your time and appreciate the opportunity to make your Instagram feed look amazing.

Lower Bells, Bell Canyon

4 mile round trip

This is a more difficult trail and will not be for the faint of heart. Though she be but little, she is fierce. Weather on this trail is generally good this time of year, however it is common for the snowpack to still be melting, so hiking boots with spikes are recommended. The incline to the top is steady and gradual, but continuous. The last 100 yards to the falls may be icy, as the water is often still frozen in March. However the bluish-white hue of the falls when they are still partially frozen is noted by many as one of the greatest attractions of this trail. It also is a great family trail and feasible for small children 5 years old and older.

White Pine Lake, Little Cottonwood Canyon

10 mile round trip

Located approximately 5 ½ miles into Little Cottonwood Canyon and ¾ of a mile before Snowbird the trailhead is marked with a sign, information center, and small vault restroom. This favorite trail of Little Cottonwood has been beloved for years due to its valley beauty. The ridges carved from early glaciers that swoop down to clear cold lakes is a breathtaking vista. The trail is not too difficult, as much of it follows an abandoned road. There is a short section before the end of more difficult switchbacks, however they are not too long.The payoff of the lake’s beauty is so much sweeter after a short bout of hard work.

 

UTAH COUNTY

Cascade Springs, Provo Canyon

1 mile round trip

This small, beautiful nature walk goes along several natural springs and is suitable for all ages, including those with ADA needs. Wooden boardwalks surround all the springs and give the young and young at heart a sweet view into nature’s wonders. It is fun and easy and a great option for anyone looking to get out of the house for a short while.

Timpanogos Cave

3 mile round trip

The trail is paved and begins right beside the Visitor Center. The incline is a bit steep, but virtually anyone in good health will be able to walk this path, so long as time and care is taken for all members of your party. This portion goes 1 ½ miles up and then 1 ½ back down. The view is beautiful, and you can get some great photos outside the cave at this point.

Should you choose to go farther, there are many tours through the caves which are scheduled in advance and planned for groups of approximately 20 people. Ticket prices range from FREE to $8.00 per person, varying by age. These walks through the caves are led by a guide and are full of fascinating geological and historical information.

Julie Andrews Meadow, American Fork Canyon

3.5 mile round trip

Located in American Fork Canyon, this quirky area was named for its peculiar resemblance to a well-known scene in The Sound of Music. The field is along the Timpooneke Trail, also known as Chris’ Flat Trail. Lush green grass, flowers in bloom, and just a bit of snow scattered along the Timpanogos ridge in the background create a beautiful early-spring view. Enjoy it with the family and a picnic. You’ll be sure to have a great time.

Mount Nebo

8.5 mile round trip

It is a common misconception among many Utahns that Mount Timpanogos is the highest peak along the Wasatch front, however the truth is Mount Nebo is 179 feet higher than Timp…making it the true “papa bear” in the Wasatch range.  The hike will take a full day to be sure, but is not terribly crowded most of the time and is riddled with stunning views. It is a moderate to difficult trail with certain sections being quite vertical on a rocky ridge. However, if you don’t mind adding a little more length to the hike there are some loop-arounds and switchbacks that decrease the time your elevation will be steep. Thunderstorms tend to come and go quickly, especially in the spring, so be prepared for this hike with a good rain jacket, hiking boots, food, and water.

 

We hope you enjoyed this list of great hikes across the Wasatch front. Let us know in the comments which ones you have done and any details about them we may have missed! Do you have any other favorites we didn’t list here? We’d love to hear. Enjoy the spring and get outside!

Katie Porter

Author Katie Porter

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