Best Hiking Near Salt Lake City

Updated: Sep 15

There is no shortage of great hiking near Salt Lake City, with so many canyons just a short drive from the city. But if you're looking for something a little closer without having to drive up the winding roads (maybe even the thought of Big Cottonwood's famous S-curve makes you a little queasy), there are actually some great options in the foothills. Peaks, reservoirs, waterfalls, a suspension bridge, fall colors, temples, you name it, it's on the list! You don't even have to leave the Salt Lake Valley to get to these fun trails plus there's nothing on our list over 2.5 miles, so they're all kid friendly and relatively easy.

Here are our 6 favorite hikes near Salt Lake City:

Hike Ensign Peak

The trailhead for Ensign Peak is in a residential area near downtown SLC and the trail itself is less than 1 mile roundtrip, making this the perfect hike if you're visiting downtown and just want something quick and easy. There's a monument to Brigham Young and the Mormon pioneers who climbed the peak to survey the valley and envision the city settlement they planned to build. Now it's a great place to view the Utah State Capitol, Salt Lake's Temple Square, the downtown cityscape, the Great Salt Lake, and basically the entire Salt Lake valley.

Rocky Mouth Falls

Brittany grew up just a few minutes from this trailhead in Sandy and introduced it to me when we were dating. Now we take our kids to hike it often, because it's such a conveniently located, easy trail. The parking lot is right off Wasatch Boulevard, then you walk up some stairs and a short trail in between your typical nice-but-too-big East Bench homes and within 10 minutes you're at the base of the falls. Even though it's more like a walk through the 'burbs, you still end up feeling secluded and it's a nice place to soak in the sights and sounds of the outdoors without a lot of effort.

Bells Canyon Reservoir & Lower Bell Canyon Falls

Are you team Bell Canyon or Bells Canyon? There's a fierce, ongoing debate at our house over the name of this popular trail and you'll find both online. AllTrails says it's Bell Canyon and Google Maps says it's Bells Canyon. Either way, this a great trail! If you want something a little easier and kid-friendly, try the 1.5 mile roundtrip hike to Lower Bell Canyon Reservoir via Boulders Trailhead. If you want a more strenuous hike, try the 4.6 miles roundtrip to Bell Canyon to Lower Falls. There are two trailheads - the Granite Trailhead at the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon and the Boulders Trailhead on Wasatch Boulevard.

Bear Canyon Suspension Bridge in Draper

Did you know there is a suspension bridge nestled in the foothills of Draper? It was built in 2015 along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. The easiest way to hike to it is from Orson Smith Park and it's about 2.3 miles round trip. You hike along part of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, which has some pretty awesome views of the Salt Lake Valley, then you take a few switchbacks up the mountain and all of a sudden you stumble across this mini-Golden Gate Bridge-looking bridge that spans a small canyon. It's a little on the long side for our small kids, but my son loved pretending to be a knight guarding the bridge from the bears. There are no bears that I'm aware of, but is called Bear Canyon, so his imagination ran wild. It's also a great place to see fall colors! We recommend hiking in the spring or fall when the temps are cooler, anyway. There is no shade along the trail, so hiking it in the summer with kids wouldn't be much fun.

Neff's Canyon

Even though Neff's Canyon is rated as a hard 7 miles, we still recommend it, even with kids - and that's because you don't have to hike the whole trail to enjoy it! It's one of our favorite places to see the fall leaves plus about a mile or less into the hike there's a fun spot to hang out and play in the stream, swing on a rope swing, and walk through some make-shift teepees made out of tree branches. We did this hike at sunset recently and were treated with some excellent valley views with the sun setting over the Great Salt Lake.

Corner Canyon Hiking Trails - Coyote Hollow

Corner Canyon is better known for its mountain biking trails but there are actually hiking trails as well. Near the Draper temple, navigate to the Coyote Hollow trailhead and park there. These trails are well-shaded by all the scrub oak and other trees, so it's a good one to do even in the summer heat. But this is another one of our favorite spots near Salt Lake for seeing fall colors. And it's another trail that you can just hike up until you feel like turning around or you can actually go up to the top of Suncrest. We usually just go to where we can view the Draper Temple and then turn around. It's a fun, easy hike with kids.

For more hiking trails and other ideas for adventures, download our free Utah Bucket List.

Happy trails! 🤘🏻