Salt Lake City, UT

3 Stunning Hikes Within 30 Min of Downtown Salt Lake City

Brittany

Want both the awesome hikes and the downtown vibes on your next trip? Salt Lake City is the perfect place to get both. This adventurous city seamlessly blends the natural with the man-made. No matter where you go in Salt Lake, it seems you're never more than an hour from a trailhead.

You don't have to spend all day trekking to get stunning views. In fact, all three of these hikes are perfect for half-day options: do the trail in the morning, spend the afternoon and evening exploring downtown. To get the best of both worlds, here are three stunning day hikes you can do just 30 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City:

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In Salt Lake, you can get out in nature during the day, and explore the city's night life when the sun goes downJosh Hild | Unsplash

1. Ensign Peak

If you're looking for a short hike with an amazing view, this one is a perfect fit. Ensign Peak will give you an amazing view of Salt Lake City - all for just a half-hour hike up the mountain. The trail is very wide and well-trafficked, meaning you don't have to worry about getting lost.

What's even better is that you hardly have to leave the city to get to the trailhead. Ensign Peak is just a 10-15 minute drive from downtown. It's a great way to get into nature, all while staying close to the city scene.

To get here, drive north of the capitol building. You'll explore through residential streets until you find the Ensign Peak park, and the peak is just a short hike up the foothills. There's even a lookout halfway up the peak, meaning if you're too winded to make it to the top, you can still enjoy an incredible view from the lower vista.

2. Bonneville Shoreline Trail

Remember the lake that Salt Lake City is named after? It turns out the Great Salt Lake is actually what's left of a huge, prehistoric inland sea. It never had a way to drain all that saltwater to the ocean, so it slowly concentrated as the lake shrank in size.

By studying the local rock layers, geologists have determined the highest point that ancient Lake Bonneville reached on the Wasatch range. The Bonneville Shoreline Trail follows that ancient shoreline - halfway up the mountain.

The Bonneville trail is a great place for mountain bikers or trail runners who are looking for some exercise. It's more of a multi-use recreation trail and less of an out-and-back viewpoint hike. You can hop on or off the trail at any number of trailheads to get your daily dose of outdoors and exercise. It's a pick-your-own-adventure with stunning views of the city around every bend.

3. The Living Room

This iconic Salt Lake City hike takes you up to a viewpoint overlooking the city - with a couch and table waiting for you there.

True, the furniture is made up of stacked flat stones, which are always getting moved by the local college crowd. But the Living Room offers a short, moderate hike with an incredible view, and it's clear why it's such a popular place.

To get here, start off in the University of Utah campus. There's no clear trailhead sign, so look for all the cars parked on the road next to a dirt path. You'll meander up a handful of small trails before it becomes one single trail heading up the canyon.

The Living Room can be tough in the middle of summer - there are long stretches without shade. But it's a fairly short hike for an incredible view. It's very popular among locals and travellers alike, so if you can, take this hike on a weekday morning.

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You don't have to go way off into the woods to have an amazing hike. Sometimes, you really can have the best of both worlds - the city and the wilderness - and enjoy them in the same day.

Which of these hikes will you do before exploring downtown Salt Lake?

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I am a travel writer and sustainable lifestyle blogger. As a world traveler, I love giving others tips on budget travel, new cultures, and how to see the planet in a sustainable, ethical way. I also write on being a digital nomad, hiking and outdoor activities, as well as living an adventurous lifestyle.

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