Throughout the pandemic, Utahns have found an escape from social distancing, working from home and remote learning — terms that have come to define our lives — in the beautiful natural environment we are so lucky to live in. Whether it’s a stroll through Sugarhouse Park or a strenuous trek in the Uintas, there’s never been a more important time to get out and get moving — for your physical and mental health.
With snow now accentuating the peaks of the Wasatch Front, it’s time to put those fat tires on your mountain bike and dust off the snowshoes and crampons for some winter adventuring. In this edition, Utah Stories brings you six trails to explore just outside of Salt Lake City. Hike on!
For sweeping views of the mountains and valley below, climb 8,299 feet to summit Grandeur Peak this winter. With crampons or snowshoes after a powder dump, start your trek from Church Fork picnic area in Millcreek Canyon for a 6-mile out-and-back trek. For a shorter-but-steeper route, begin your journey up the west face on a 4.4-mile loop trail accessed from Wasatch Boulevard. This hike is popular given its close proximity to the city and has breathtaking views. Trekking poles are helpful due to the steepness of the trail, and dogs are welcome.
Choose your own fat-tire adventure while riding along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail for roughly 9 miles, point-to-point, from the trailhead across from Hogle Zoo on Emigration Canyon Road to City Creek. Take in the skyline of Salt Lake while cruising along the single- and double-track trail while gaining 1,466 feet of elevation.
For a fat tire adventure, head up to Park City for a ride on Lost Prospector, with smooth descents, moderate climbs, and views of the mountain town and resorts below. After parking on Aerie Drive, hit the well-used trail, which can be ridden as an out-and-back for six miles of singletrack, or taken as a loop with a return on the Rail Trail. With several other connecting trails in the area, you can easily make a game-time decision to extend the fun.
Whether June or January, the Millcreek Pipeline is a mountain biker’s haven (on even days of the week, that is). Starting Nov. 1, the canyon is gated about 4 miles up the road. After peddling the remainder of the road to the Rattlesnake Gulch trailhead, ride as much of the 14-mile, out-and-back trail as you’re up for while taking in views of the valley.
Located up Big Cottonwood Canyon, the trek to Donut Falls is a popular summer hike. In the winter, trekkers don microspikes when it’s packed down, or snowshoes after a big storm to get to the waterfall cascading through the large hole in the cave. Depending on the conditions, the falls may be entirely frozen.
To get there, drive roughly 9 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon Road and turn right toward the Pines Campground and Mill D Trailhead. In the winter, the gate is closed, so you’ll walk a little less than a mile to the trailhead for the roughly 3 mile out-and-back hike to the falls.
Glide through a winter wonderland on cross country skis or snowshoes at Solitude’s Nordic Center, which has nearly 13 miles of maintained trails crisscrossing the mountainous landscape. Take in views of Mount Wolverine, Peak 10420, and USA Bowl before ducking into an aspen grove. Snowshoes are available to rent, making this a great option for beginners who aren’t ready to commit to the equipment just yet.
Download the AllTrails app to get up-to-date trail conditions from other users, photos, directions to the trailhead, and a map of the route. Before venturing out into the mountains after a big storm, check here for avalanche conditions.