11 Awesome Hikes To Do In & Near Salt Lake City, Utah

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In Salt Lake City, hiking feels synonymous with breathing, it something you need to do. 

Yes, Salt Lake City is a place with wonderful establishments for eating, drinking, and relaxing. However, most Salt Lake City locals will agree that the nature surrounding the city is the main attraction. It’s prime landscape for mountain biking, climbing, running, and of course, hiking.

With so much incredible wilderness to explore just outside the city, it can be hard to decide where to start. To point you in the right direction of your next trailhead, here are 11 awesome hikes in the Salt Lake City area.

Ensign Peak

Length: 1.8 miles | Elevation gain: 374 ft. | Difficulty: Easy

For one of the best views of the city, Ensign Peak is a must. Short and sweet, Located right in Salt Lake City just above the Avenues neighborhood, this is a very convenient hike with a high reward. 

While short, the hike is steep!

Climbing 374 feet in less than a quarter mile is more challenging than it might sound, so come prepared.

In addition to an incredible view, you’ll pass by some lovely wild flowers if you’re in the right season.

I’d recommend hitting this hike early in the morning, or at dusk because of the lack of cover along the trail. You won’t regret peaking this trail at dusk and watching the city begin to glisten in the night! This is a great introduction hike to the Salt Lake City area.

Find more info here.

View from Ensign Peak by Daniel Hayes (IG: indecisive_travels)

Lake Blanche Trail

Length: 6.8 miles | Elevation gain: 2,808 ft. | Difficulty: Hard

Okay, this one may be more geared towards experienced hikers. It’s a gruelling 2,808 foot climb in just under 7 miles, so not for the faint of heart! However, it’s one of the most rewarding hikes I’ve ever done. The trailhead is located in gorgeous Cottonwood Canyon, which is worth the drive itself. 

You’ll hike along a lovely river for most of this hike, enjoying an increasingly beautiful view behind you as you go. Be sure to turn around during your rest so you can admire the surroundings while you try and ignore your burning calves. At the top, you’re greeted with an incredible alpine lake with sweeping views over the canyon. 

Also, this is a great place to find moose. While it’s super exciting to be lucky enough to cross paths with one, be careful! These guys are notoriously grumpy and can be very dangerous. Keep that distance. 

Find more info here.

View from hike in salt lake city

Lake Blanche by Daniel Hayes (IG: indecisive_travels)

Bell Canyon Trail

Length: 4.6 miles | Elevation gain: 1,453 ft. | Difficulty: Moderate

Let’s head on over to another canyon, Bell Canyon.

Tip: you actually don’t need hiking boots here because you essentially just float up this magical place. Kidding, of course, bring boots. Located south of Salt Lake City proper in a town called Sandy, this trail is easy to get to and is definitely one of the most beautiful areas to visit in the SLC area.

We took the Bell Canyon Trail to the lower falls, but you have options here!

On the way to the falls, you can just cut it short and chill at the reservoir on the way. Or you can continue past the lower falls and do the 10 miles route to the upper falls if you’re up for the challenge!

Somewhere in the middle of those options is the lower falls destination. This trail will trick you for the first half or so, and the climb to the falls at the end can beat you up. Nonetheless, it’s well worth a beatdown to hang out and watch that water blast.

Find more info here.

View from hike in salt lake city

Walking along Bell Canyon trail by Daniel Hayes (IG: indecisive_travels)

Grandeur Peak Trail

Length: 4.4 miles | Elevation gain: 3,238 ft. | Difficulty: Hard

The name says it all.

By Utah standards, this is one of the “easier” summits in the Salt Lake City area. However, 3,238 ft in 4.4 miles is nothing to yawn at.

This place will offer you sweeping views of the Salt Lake City Valley and is a great place to go bird viewing. On our hike, we were almost carried away by a glorious Golden Eagle that swooped right over our heads.

The grassy hills and wild flowers blowing in the wind towards the summit are well worth the effort and in no time, you’ll be spinning around singing songs from The Sound of Music.

There are several ways to access this trail as well and summit Grandeur Peak. But, to get to this trailhead, take exit 128 off I-80 E onto I-215 S/Belt Route, followed by exit 3 for Wasatch Boulevard.

Be prepared for an uphill battle! If you’ve been yearning for a punishing cardio and glute workout, this is the place for you.

Find more info here.

View from hike in salt lake city

View from Grandeur Peak Trail by Daniel Hayes (IG: indecisive_travels)

Buffalo Point Trail

Length: 1 mile | Elevation gain: 219 ft. | Difficulty: Easy

This one is easy peasy. I’m not blowing away any hikers looking for their next back-country excursion, but I felt compelled to put it because if you’re looking for places to hike and explore while in Salt Lake City, Antelope Island is a must. 

This hike will give you a great view of Salt Lake as well a great opportunity to see some of the awesome wildlife that lives on the island. You can find mule deer, pronghorn, and of course, bison roaming free in this area.

It can be about 1.5 – 2 hours drive from the heart of SLC, but the trip is well worth it. While there are many hiking trails on the island for all skill levels, Buffalo Point Trail is the perfect introduction.

One thing! Don’t forget bug spray!

Find more info here.

View from hike in salt lake city

Bison on Antelope Island by Daniel Hayes (IG: indecisive_travels)

Silver Lake Loop Trail

Length: 0.9 miles | Elevation gain: 55 ft. | Difficulty: Easy

By far the easiest trail on the list. This trail is mostly boardwalk circling a lovely little marsh near Solitude, Utah. Perfect for families and highly accessible, I placed this trail on the list for those looking for some beautiful scenery for a very leisurely walk. I also like this trail for its wildlife viewing. We saw moose, eagles, and elk on our adventure here. 

If you do need more of a challenge, there a several off-shoots to longer hikes available here. This particular trail is great for a chill day in the mountains. Enjoy the stunning drive up the mountain from Salt Lake City, take in the fresh air, and bring a camera for the critters!

Find more info here.

View from hike in salt lake city

Walking along Silver Lake Loop trail by Daniel Hayes (IG: indecisive_travels)

Bonneville Shoreline Trail

Length: Varies | Elevation gain: varies | Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

This one is an interesting trail. While it must have a max length you could hike, it’s likely extremely long and most people tend to just do sections of this trail at a time. It’s a fascinating outline of the Salt Lake City Valley, once the shoreline of an ancient lake that would swallow up present day Salt Lake City. 

This trail is so close to the edge of the city, my wife and I accidentally walked onto a portion of this trail while exploring Salt Lake City one day. Its ease of access, pleasant and well-maintained trails, and lovely scenery make this trail worth exploring. We hopped on by City Creek Natural Area and were greeted by some splendid views.

Find more info here.

View from hike in salt lake city

View from Bonneville Shoreline by Daniel Hayes (IG: indecisive_travels)

Living Room Lookout Trail

Length: 2.4 miles | Elevation gain: 928 ft. | Difficulty: Moderate

What sounds better than hiking into a living room? Located right near the Natural History Museum of Utah is the Living Room Lookout trailhead. It may be the hardest you’ve ever worked to sit on a couch, but it’s worth it. Kick back on a loveseat made of stone and enjoy the view, you earned it.

This is a very popular hike in the SLC area, mainly because when you get to the top you’ll find not only an incredible view of the valley below, but big slabs of rock organized as furniture by someone out there who really likes sitting.

It’s a quirky and fun hike to do while in SLC and very accessible. However, don’t underestimate the climb! Particularly near the top.

Find more info here.

Donut Falls Trail

Length: 3.3 miles | Elevation gain: 538 ft. | Difficulty: Moderate

With a name as sweet as “Donut Falls”, it should come as no surprise that this is one of the most popular hikes in the Salt Lake City area. Like something from a movie, this trail takes you through the a beautiful forest to a mystical waterfall flowing through donut shaped holed in the mountain rock. 

From inside the cave-like rock structure, it appears as though you’ve found a portal to another world. Or, conversely, someone from another world found a portal to our world and is going to come through that hole any second.

What’s great about this hike besides its beauty, is the fact that this hike is doable for people of all ages and skill levels. The accessibility is what makes this place so popular, so plan accordingly!

Find more info here.

View from hike in salt lake city

Donut Falls by Chris An on UnSplash

Cecret Lake Trail

Length: 1.8 miles | Elevation gain: 465 ft. | Difficulty: Easy

Located about 30 miles into the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Cecret Lake is one of the most popular Salt Lake City hikes for a reason. Short and relatively easy, this gorgeous trail leads you to the an equally gorgeous lake that will take your breath away.

Not only is it family friendly, its a great place to see wildlife such as eagles and one of my favorites, moose.

For the best wildlife viewing, go early in the morning! I’d recommend getting out there early and beating the crowds. Enjoy a thermos full of coffee and some snacks in the morning while you listen to the forest animals stretch and get ready for the day. The perfect way to start a day. 

Find more info here.

Moose by Daniel Hayes (IG: indecisive_travels)

Neffs Canyon Trail

Length: 7 miles | Elevation gain: 3,559 ft. | Difficulty: Hard

This is a very challenging hike to complete, but even you just do as much as you can and turn around before the end, it’s worth the time and effort. This one is a steep leg-burner that takes you through streams, forests, and some sweeping meadows. Once you’ve gotten far enough, you’ll begin to be greeted by incredible views of the canyon and city below. 

If you plan to take this hike on all the way to the summit, plan to make a day of it. Take lots of breaks and drink lots of water. As one of the toughest Salt Lake City hikes, once you get through this trail you’ll feel like you can take on the world.

Find more info here.

View from hike in salt lake city

Neff’s Canyon by Michael Hart on UnSplash

Did we miss any of your favorite hikes in & near Salt Lake City, Utah?

Let us know in the comments if there are anymore in & near Salt Lake City, Utah you’d like to see on our list!

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