Skip to Content

14 Best Hikes Near Salt Lake City to get Fit!

14 Best Hikes Near Salt Lake City to get Fit!

Looking for the best hikes near Salt Lake City?

Trail enthusiasts from all around the world travel to Utah to experience all the thrills it has to offer. With year-round outdoor recreation, stunning natural landscapes, and plenty of city life to enjoy along the way, Utah is an underrated travel destination that always over-delivers.

Utah’s state capital and most popular city attraction, Salt Lake City, boasts a wide variety of activities for both travelers and in-state residents. From Temple Square and The Tabernacle to Clark Planetarium and the Natural History Museum, SLC welcomes thousands of visitors each year seeking meaningful religious and recreational experiences.

Whether you’re planning to visit Salt Lake City or you already live nearby, there’s always an exciting new trail to discover. Since hiking is one of the top activities in the state of Utah, it’s helpful to know where the nearest hike is — and the most thrilling.

To help you plan your next adventure into nature, we’ve put together a guide on some of the best hiking trails in Salt Lake City. Most of these hikes are free to access unless otherwise noted, and range in difficulty from easy to hard. Going Hiking in SLC has never been easier!

Read on to learn about the best hiking options around SLC, for beginners and advanced outdoor athletes alike!

14 Best Hikes Near Salt Lake City

1. Broads Fork Trail

Only a 30-minute drive from downtown Salt Lake City, Broads Fork Trail is a challenging and heavily trafficked hike that can be explored for an entire day. The 5-mile out-and-back trail is open all four seasons of the year, offering beautiful sights and unique experiences each time. It’s one of the best hikes in Utah near Salt Lake City, especially during the spring.

You can expect steep grades and a bit of rocky paths on your way to the endpoint. You’ll follow a flowing river along this trail. The river can rage heavily after consistent rains and snow melt. During winter, parts of the trail can be considered avalanche territory, so winter hikes are only recommended to experienced mountain hikers. Alternatively, this trail receives a good amount of shade, which is ideal for anyone seeking an enjoyable summer hike.

The endpoint reveals a steep valley and a large pond, making it a good place to rest and enjoy the scenery after a long hike.

No dogs are allowed on this trail. Additionally, since this is a rather technical and difficult trek, be cautious of bringing young children along. For sure some of the best hiking near Salt Lake City.

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Length: 5 miles
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 2,109 feet
  • Location: Twin Peaks Wilderness
fork-twin-peaks hiking trails salt lake city

Credit: Reddit

2. Ogden Waterfall Canyon Trail

Looking for hiking trails with waterfalls near Salt Lake City? The Ogden Waterfall Canyon Trail will surely not disappoint. If you’re up for the steep trek, this 2.4-mile rocky trail ends with a misty, 200-foot waterfall between two towering valleys. It’s about a 40-minute drive from Salt Lake City to the trailhead.

Whether you love hiking, mountain biking, trail running, or snowshoeing, this trail is an excellent and scenic route to explore. Expect vibrant color-changing trees along the trail during the fall and a rushing stream to cross during spring. Many hikers love to swim in the waterfall at the end, so it’s highly recommended you bring clothes that you don’t mind getting wet!

Dogs are allowed on this trail, but they must be kept on a leash. Bringing children is not recommended unless they are capable of scrambling over large rocks and rugged terrain. Avoid climbing the waterfall rocks, as they’re slippery (and potentially fatal). In the summer, beware of rattlesnakes.

One of the best free things to do in Salt Lake City and one of the top SLC hikes in our opinion.

Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

Length: 2.4 miles

Time: 3 hours

Elevation Gain: 1,105 feet

Location: Ogden


3. Sardine Peak Ogden Overlook Trail

To enjoy one of the more popular day hikes near Salt Lake City — about an hour’s drive away — visit Sardine Peak Ogden Lookout. This almost nine-mile loop trail is challenging, but not too advanced to be reserved by gatekeepers. The overall climb is gradual with several flat switchbacks.

Known for abundant seasonal wildflowers and amazing forest views, this loop is loved among mountain bikers and hikers. If you take the trail loop clockwise, you’ll hit Ogden Overlook as the first lookout point, which gives you incredible views of the entire canyon as well as a place to rest. Then, at Sardine Peak, you’ll enjoy expansive views of Pineview Reservoir. If the view from the peak is covered by tree overgrowth, you can still get a view of the reservoir as you continue the trail.

Dogs are allowed off-leash on this trail, so bring your four-legged adventure buddy! One of the highest rated hikes around Salt Lake City.

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: 8.6 miles

Time: 4.5 hours

Elevation Gain: 1,528

Location: Cache National Forest (near Huntsville)


4. Circle All Peak

Just a thirty-minute drive from Salt Lake City, Circle All Peak seems like a fairly short trail at first glance. Don’t let the distance fool you — this is a hike for anyone who’s up for a challenge. The out-and-back, 3.4-mile hike is very steep, with absolutely stunning views at the peak to make up for the physical exhaustion.

Along the route, hikers enjoy lush vegetation and evergreen trees. In the spring and summer, there are plenty of wildflowers. Begin at the Butler Fork Trail and then follow along the Mill A Basin Trail, which is steep. This trail is ideal for training, as it’s straightforward and requires endurance.

No dogs are allowed on this trail. Hikers in the summer have noted an abundance of bugs when it’s hot, so be sure to bring your bug repellent.

Difficulty: Hard

Length: 3.4 miles

Time: 3 hours

Elevation Gain: 1,555 feet

Location: Mounthaven

5. Lake Blanche Trail

Lake Blanche is a 7-mile, out-and-back hiking trail only 30 minutes from SLC. It’s an iconic trail that’s known as one of the best summit hikes near Salt Lake City.

This difficult, steep hike attracts hikers from all over the region, so it’s naturally a crowded trail. Don’t let the crowd deter you though. It’s worth the experience any time of year. This trail leads to a clear lake that’s surrounded by beautiful mountains, red rocks, and alpine views.

The trail begins on a paved path for about a quarter of a mile. The paved path will lead you to the main trail on the right, where you’ll notice a steady incline. Make sure you don’t race to the peak, as there are plenty of beautiful sights to enjoy along the entire trail.

No dogs are allowed on this trail. And while it may look refreshing, the lake at the end of the hike is not for swimming. This body of water is part of a watershed preservation.

Difficulty: Hard

Length: 6.8 miles

Time: 5+ hours

Elevation Gain: 2,811 feet

Location: Mounthaven


6. Lake Solitude Trail

The trail to Lake Solitude, Utah is about an hour’s drive outside of Salt Lake City. It’s a very popular trail in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Specifically, it’s known for hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing during the winter months. Don’t confuse its name with the Lake Solitude in Wyoming, as it can be tricky to find on the map.

Like many hikes near the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, you might approach avalanche territory on this route. Be sure to stay alert and use caution, especially during the winter. Pay attention to the trails because there are several sections where other trails branch off. You don’t want to veer off the wrong path, especially since there have been plenty of moose sightings along this trail.

No dogs are allowed on this trail. Conditions can change suddenly along the route, so always check the weather forecast before planning your hike. One of the best dog friendly hikes in salt lake city to bring your furry friends on.

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: 3.2 miles

Time: 1.5 hours

Elevation Gain: 445 feet

Location: Base of Brighton Ski Resort


7. Living Room Lookout Trail

Living Room Lookout Trail, or “Living Room Hike” can be accessed just 15 minutes from Salt Lake City. If you want to enjoy a moderate hike with a mixture of natural and city landscape views at the top, this is your opportunity.

This trail gets the name Living Room Lookout because of the interesting rock formations that resemble couches and living room furniture. The climb can get quite steep, but there are plenty of options to rest at the top. It’s perfect for a sunset hike!

Although only 2.4 miles long, there are some challenging spots along the trail. Expect some loose rocks and gravel.

Fortunately, this is one of the best dog-friendly hikes near Salt Lake City. Dogs are allowed if they’re kept on a leash. Find the trailhead just off of Colorow Rd, where there’s plenty of street parking. There are several other trails you’ll run into on this hike, so pay attention as you navigate the hills.

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: 2.4 miles

Time: 2 hours

Elevation Gain: 970 feet

Location: Salt Lake City


8. Donut Falls Trail

Donut Falls Trail is about 40 minutes outside of Salt Lake City. It is considered by many as one of the best hikes in Salt Lake City. The out-and-back trail is rated easy and can be completed within 45 minutes, even with small children. Expect some muddy areas, though, and use caution when near the boulders.

While you won’t be rewarded with fresh donuts at the end, Donut Falls gets its name from the enjoyable waterfall that pours through a rock shaped like a donut. You might need some water shoes or at least hiking boots that are slip-resistant, as accessing the waterfall requires traversing over slippery rocks.

It’s important to note there’s a summer trailhead and a separate winter trailhead to get to Donut Falls. The summer entrance can be easily found via Google Maps (off of South Cardiff Fork Rd). To get to the trailhead during winter, find parking at the Mill D trailhead. This will add up to two miles to your route. You can also use this winter trailhead during summer if the first parking lot gets full.

Dogs are not allowed on this trail. Because part of this route crosses private land, make sure everyone in your group follows posted signs. Stay on the path and respect local laws.

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Length: 2.3 miles

Time: 45 minutes

Elevation Gain: 538 feet

Location: Salt Lake City


9. Gloria Falls Trail

If you’re a fan of the best fall hikes near Salt Lake City, Gloria Falls Trail is a great place to visit. Just 30 minutes from the city, Gloria Falls Trail has a little bit of everything. You’ll enjoy lush greenery, lively waterfalls, mountain views, and spring wildflowers along the route.

This trail is a family-friendly, out-and-back route that’s especially popular in the warmer months. At the end of the trail, you’ll enjoy a strong cascading waterfall along layers of historical rock. If you want to see another nearby waterfall, Lisa Falls is only a short quarter-mile distance along the route. Keep an eye out for the offshoot.

While rated as easy, this trail can get moderately challenging during certain times of the year. The trail can get muddy and strewn with large tree branches, which can be challenging to maneuver depending on your ability level.

No dogs are allowed on this trail.

Difficulty: Easy (One of the best easy hikes in Salt Lake City)

Length: 2.2 miles

Time: 45 minutes

Elevation Gain: 534 feet

Location: Sandy


10. Cecret Lake Trail via Albion Basin

Cecret Lake Trail (pronounced “secret”), about 50 minutes from Salt Lake City, is a gorgeous out-and-back hike featuring an alpine lake.

You can also shorten this hike, beginning at the Alta Ski Resort and paying $5 to ride the shuttle up to the trailhead. This will make your trek about 1.8 miles with 460 feet of elevation gain, typically taking about an hour to complete.

For the longer, more challenging route, enter through the Albion Basin Meadows to get to the trail. Parking at the Wildcat Base lot is $8.00 per vehicle. This route allows you to enjoy the sights of Albion Basin and get a better workout in.

No dogs are allowed on this trail. Check the local weather conditions before going. Remember, this trail exists in avalanche territory, so be extra cautious during winter. Children can hike this trail with their parents’ help over the steep, rocky terrain areas.

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: 4.5 miles

Time: 3 hours

Elevation Gain: 1,213 feet

Location: Alta


11. Ensign Peak Trail

Ensign Peak Trail is a classic local favorite that’s only 10 quick minutes from Salt Lake City. In fact, if you live in SLC, you’ve likely hiked this trail multiple times. It’s one of the few short hikes near Salt Lake City but provides a beautiful overlook of the city and the Great Salt Lake.

This trail is also a historical site where much of the city was initially planned out, pioneered by the LDS church leader, Brigham Young. You can read all about it via the signs and the landmark tower at the top of the trail. Today, this is a popular sunset viewpoint for all, and is open year-round.

Dogs are allowed on a leash on this trail. Use caution during winter because the hill can become snowy and icy.

Difficulty: Easy

Length: 0.8 miles

Time: 45 minutes

Elevation Gain: 374 feet

Location: Salt Lake City


12. Silver Lake Loop Trail

Loved among naturalists and outdoor enthusiasts, Silver Lake Loop is a short hike that highlights plenty of biodiversity. About 45 minutes from Salt Lake City, Silver Lake Loop is featured in Big Cottonwood Canyon where many locals share natural stewardship and environmental education.

This route takes you on a stroll around the beautiful Silver Lake. If you’re not much of a hill-lover (or if you have young children), this is a beautiful spot to walk around leisurely and explore. It’s also fairly accessible, featuring a wooden boardwalk and smooth natural terrain.

No dogs are allowed on this trail. During construction, the loop may be closed, requiring a shorter out-and-back hike. There is a parking lot with plenty of parking available. Check your local forecast before hiking to avoid dangerous conditions and avalanche risks.

Difficulty: Easy

Length: 0.9 miles

Time: 25 minutes

Elevation Gain: 55 feet

Location: Salt Lake City


13. Scout Falls Trail

Scout Falls is a very popular out-and-back hike with trickling waterfalls. It’s about an hour from Salt Lake City. There are plenty of wildflowers, vegetation, and wildlife during the spring and summer.

For the moderate version of this hike, enter through the Timpooneke Trailhead. You’ll follow the trail toward Mt. Timpanogos, which is easy to see with plenty of signage.

About 1.5 miles into the trail, look for the Scout Falls turnoff. It’s marked clearly and hard to miss — just don’t miss it, or you’ll start heading up the 7.5 miles to the top of the mountain. Follow the rest of the trail to the falls. You can enjoy the refreshing waterfall runoff once you arrive!

If you’re able, many hikers recommend scrambling up the trail’s end to the lookout point. You’ll have to climb up a slippery tree root system, but it offers stunning views at the top. Throughout this hike, expect to experience mud, rocks, and some scrambling.

There’s a parking fee that can be purchased for $6.00 (card only) in the Alpine lot. Some hikers claim the parking situation has changed and now requires a permit before 1:00 p.m., so check the website beforehand to come prepared.

Dogs are allowed off-leash on this trail. Restrooms are available at the trailhead near the parking lot. Brings lots of water as there is little shade.

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: 3 miles

Time: 2 hours

Elevation Gain: 833 feet

Location: Cedar Hills

14. Lake Mary Trail

As part of the well-known Brighton Ski Resort, the Lake Mary Trail is located 45 minutes from Salt Lake City. The route brings you to a beautiful alpine lake surrounded by large boulders, evergreen trees, and occasional wildlife.

There are several steep grades and rocky spots along this trail, rating it moderate in difficulty. Know that Lake Mary is the first of three nearby lakes that surround Brighton Ski Resort, which is a popular area year-round for skiing and hiking.

Of course, you have the option to hike further along the slightly more difficult trails to Lake Martha and Lake Catherine. The entire Brighton Lakes Loop — which includes all three lakes and is ranked as hard — takes about four hours to complete. The entire loop is 7 miles long with 1,807 feet of elevation gain.

No dogs are allowed on this trail. Swimming is not allowed in the lakes because it’s part of a protected area. If you want to hike this trail during winter, beware: there are risks of avalanches. That said, Lake Mary and its sister lakes are known as some of the best winter hikes near Salt Lake City.

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: 2.3 miles

Time: 1.5 hours

Elevation Gain: 803 feet

Location: Brighton Ski Resort (one of the best ski resorts in Utah!)


Find the Best Salt Lake City Hiking Spots

One of the greatest things about Utah is that there are endless nature trails to explore. If you’re a mountain lover, there’s no shortage of summits to climb. Luckily for city folks and tourists, there are plenty of hiking trails in Salt Lake City and nearby.

Whether you’re looking for a quick family hike or an all-day outdoor excursion, SLC is a wonderful starting point. After your route ends, return to the city to enjoy the many SLC restaurants and nightlife events happening.

Travelers and locals alike deserve the best experiences that SLC has to offer. If you have a favorite hike that didn’t make this list, let us know!

Leave us a comment to share your favorite Salt Lake City hiking spot.


See more Utah fun:


Author: Lindsey Blackmore enjoys taking road trips with her partner through Utah. Together they enjoyed the State’s best hot springs, local scenic routes, as well as some great restaurants in Salt Lake City.