Hiking in Salt Lake City

After my couple of days in Spokane I visited Salt Lake City and Tuscarora, NV with my mom (who lives in DC). That was a great trip and I’ll write about Tuscarora in a future blog post.

I was more impressed with Salt Lake City than I expected to be. The city itself wasn’t too attractive to me, with huge superblocks downtown and a what seemed like car centric shopping areas that we farther than walking distance from most housing (even in the Sugar House District). It was flat and compact though, which would make it great for bike based life.

What I was really impressed with was the complete lack of suburbs because the city is literally right next to the mountains. In 10 minutes I could drive from the Sugar House District to Mill Creek Canyon (which appeared to offer the closest hiking)and get in a hike. My flight out was hours later than my mother’s, so on my last day I did exactly that.I bid farewell to my mom after breakfast and headed east towards the mountains. I parked the car around 10am.

Peek-a-boo views across Mill Creek from Thaynes Canyon with patches of snow in front.

I did a loop where I started going up Thaynes Canyon. The hike up was in moderately dense forest right up a canyon. Not much in the way of views, but lots of climbing and it felt good to be exerting myself after a few days in the car. When I hit snow (yes, I hiked to the snow line 15 minutes from downtown SLC in June) I turned around and took a spur trail trying to find better views.

Looking across Mill Creek to the other side.  Great views for 15 minutes from downtown SLC!

The spur that I found hit the jackpot. There were great views across Mill Canyon to the mountains on the other side. I hooked up with Desolation Trail and was able to take that all the way back to the car.

By 12:30 I was back in town eating lunch and enjoying a beer. At 2pm I was at the airport getting ready to fly back to Seattle.

I’m always jealous of my friends in Olympia and Spokane because they have great rural road cycling just minutes (by bicycle!) from their urban houses. Now I’m jealous of Salt Lake City for having great hiking and mountain biking so close into town as well.


  1. mike says:

    SLC is a fine town for playing outside… in 30-40 minutes you can be in Park City or Alta for skiing. You can also head up the Cottonwood canyons – cycling, hiking… etc.

    I debated relocating or timesharing there as part of a project for work – I had the same thoughts as you – relatively flat – a few cool neighborhoods – and playtime within a short drive or ride.

  2. Russ Norvell says:

    Hi Alex-

    I know of you from the BOB list. SLC is a great place to be, hike, trail run, and cycle tis” true -if you”re in town again, give a shout. Heck, there’’s still skiing at Alta. Thanes is a nice option when the sun is hot, but not so great for views (and unrelentingly steep at the top). Glad you discovered the side trails. FYI, a traditional airport layover stop is the Red Iguana, one of SLC’’s best mexican places. Don”t miss the killer moles!