Summits to Bag in Salt Lake City
The Wasatch Mountains tower over Salt Lake City, beckoning those of us who attend Outdoor Retailer to come hike and ski for the past two decades. They’re rugged and spectacular and offer a reprieve from the busyness that exists inside Salt Palace.
With this being the final #ORshow in Salt Lake City, give the town a proper farewell with a muscle-searing summit from our book 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Salt Lake City. Trust us—you won’t regret it.
CITY CREEK CANYON
Length: 2-9 miles round-trip
Elevation gain: 300–740′
If you don’t have a lot of time or you’re not up for a strenuous hike, City Creek Canyon and the neighboring Bonneville Shoreline Trail are for you! With the 26-story LDS Church office building to your back and the Utah state capitol in front of you, follow a creek through a city park, quickly leaving the city behind. Within 2 miles you’ll be walking in a national forest and nature preserve shared with elk, moose, and mountain lions. Continue on the trail and you’ll get a beautiful bird’s-eye view of downtown.
Directions: It seems strange to refer to one of the busiest intersections in downtown Salt Lake City as a trailhead. Yet the hike starts at the northeast corner of State Street (US 89) and North Temple, just a block from Temple Square and convenient to downtown hotels and shopping. The most difficult part of getting to the trailhead will be finding a place to park. Use one of the public or commercial lots nearby—most street parking in the vicinity is limited to 2 hours.
Length: 13.6 miles round-trip
Elevation gain: 4,860
Mount Timpanogos, or “Timp” as the locals lovingly call it, is a leg- and lung-burner of a summit. It’s also arguably the best mountain hike in Utah, and certainly a classic that everyone should experience while at Outdoor Retailer. Summit success favors those who get an early start; if you sacrifice some sleep, then you can catch a dazzlingly breathtaking sunrise while ascending the mountain.
Directions: From Salt Lake City, go south on I-15 to Orem 800 North (Exit 272). At the bottom of the ramp, turn left and proceed east on 800 North (UT 52) toward the mouth of Provo Canyon for 3.7 miles. Take the left ramp onto East Provo Canyon Road (US 189). Continue up the canyon for 7 miles to UT 92, the first left after the tunnel. Continue up UT 92, passing Sundance and the Aspen Grove Family Camp. Pass the Forest Service fee booth at 4.6 miles and enter the trailhead parking lot immediately on the left.
Length: 4.4 miles round-trip
Elevation gain: 3,106′
This popular summit offers great views in all directions, but the most memorable sight will be of the wildflowers that fill Alexander Basin in spring and summer. The steep hike offers some easy scrambling and route-finding up a glacial cirque to the ridge, followed by a short jaunt to the summit.
Directions: From I-215 on Salt Lake City’s east side, take the 3300 South/3900 South turnoff (Exit 4). Turn left onto Wasatch Boulevard and go north 1 block to 3800 South. Turn right on 3800 South and continue toward the mouth of Mill Creek Canyon. Pass the toll booth at 0.7 mile and continue another 7 miles to the Alexander Basin trailhead (#010). Trailhead parking is on the south side of the road.
Length: 8 miles round-trip
Elevation gain: 3,071′
Admittedly, neighboring Gobbler’s Knob is 5 feet higher in elevation and has a more interesting name, but Mount Raymond is the more interesting hike. Groves of aspen blanket the lower trail, and a variety of conifers clings to a rocky knife-ridge leading to the summit. You’ll have great views in all directions.
Directions: From Salt Lake City’s east side, take I-215 south to 6200 South (Exit 6). At the off-ramp, turn left and proceed south 1.7 miles, as 6200 South changes to Wasatch Boulevard (UT 190). Turn left at the signal, staying on UT 190, and continue 8.2 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon to the small parking area on the left side of the road.