Fun Guide

Ogden’s Happy Trails: More than Just Places to Walk

The Ogden area has a broad trail network suitable for hiking, jogging, cycling, and climbing. The movement to expand available trails in the area was started in 1995 by three community activists.


With February comes Groundhog Day, when a toothy rodent emerges from his subterranean home to forecast the onset of spring. Regardless of the prediction, however, sunshine and warmth inevitably arrive in spite of the furry soothsayer’s most pessimistic prognostication. 

But the very idea of relief from winter’s dreary days motivates many folks to get outside and start moving their limbs. And the Ogden area is well prepared to oblige with a broad trail network suitable for hiking, jogging, cycling and scaling the mountainside.

“Outdoor natural environments may provide some of the best all-round health benefits … altering physiological functioning including stress reduction, restoring mental fatigue, and improving mood and self-esteem and perceived health,” research provided by the National Institute of Health summarized, as it urged communities to develop options that everyone could access and enjoy.

In 1995, three community activists banded together to build a pedestrian trail in Ogden Canyon, and that effort launched the growth and cultivation of multiple active exercise options in the greater Ogden area.

The Ogden City website maps 28 different trails, detailing their location, length and degree of difficulty from easy to difficult. Some are paved — such as the Weber and Ogden River Parkways — while others are well-traveled dirt paths situated along the bench and canyons of the Wasatch Mountains. 

By 2020, Weber Pathways had evolved into the Trails Foundation of Northern Utah, fueled by the vision of creating “a culture where all have places to walk, run and ride as they enjoy nature and connect with their neighbors in Northern Utah.” 

TFNU’s Executive Director Aric Manning launched 2024 underscoring the importance of getting outside in nature.

“Trails are more than just a path — whether natural surface or paved. They connect us with nature and give us the opportunity to escape the crazy schedules that can take over our everyday lives,” Manning wrote in his January 5th letter. “They offer a place for physical and mental well-being … a place to see wildlife and possibly challenge us beyond what we think is possible.”

Trail along the Weber River Parkway through Riverdale. Photo by Kurt Anderson.

What trail users say

Whether new to the trails or well-established wanderers, people easily get hooked on outdoor adventuring in a landscape that has so much to offer.

Roy resident Kurt Anderson first took to the trails as he approached his 70th birthday.

“With several close family and friends who are currently experiencing health challenges, I decided to seriously look at my own health and sadly, lack of physical exercise,” Anderson said. 

While researching low-impact exercise for senior citizens, Anderson learned that walking provides outstanding benefits with little investment.

After conferring with a friend, Anderson chose to start out walking the nearby Weber River Parkway trail through Riverdale in October 2022. 

“At first, my walk would only be at a leisurely pace for about 10 minutes in one direction and then return,” Anderson said. 

But in about two weeks, he picked up the pace and extended his distance to at least 30 minutes in one direction before heading back to his vehicle.

And he discovered added bonuses along the way.

“The leaves were magnificent in their many shades of gold and yellow. The air was crisp and clean, and the sound of the river offers a calming soundtrack to the experience,” Anderson said. 

Plus he encountered unexpected opportunities to socialize with other hikers and their dogs. 

  “The benefits are innumerable on both a physical as well as emotional level,” Anderson said.

Of course, this is how many trail users turn into lifetime devotees.

“I have been using the trails since I arrived in Utah over 30 years ago,” said Ogden City Council member Marcia White. 

White expressed awe and gratitude for the mountainside trails and those who maintain them. 

“In my early years, there wasn’t a trail I didn’t try on my mountain bike, but now I’m finding the hiking incredible,” White said.

And by getting out in nature, she said she discovered another world:  “The smells, the views, the flowers and everything in between.” 

One of her favorite hikes is heading up Malan’s Peak. 

”The view from the top that overlooks Ogden makes me so happy,” White said.

In addition to increased fitness, White said she also enjoys the sense of personal accomplishment, socialization and “knowing that you are such a small speck on this really large planet.” 

While exercise tends to evolve with age, White said her love for Ogden’s many trails remains constant: “At the age of 60, I hope that I will be blessed with the health and wellbeing to continue using them for a long time.”

Feature Image: Malan’s Peak is a favorite Ogden hiking destination. Photo courtesy of Visit Ogden.

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