Salt Lake City, UT

4 Easy and Breathtaking Trails to Tackle in the Wasatch Front


Visitors and locals alike praise Salt Lake City for its breathtaking outdoor beauty. For visitors not used to the elevation - breathtaking is both a literal and figurative phrase, as the elevation in and around the Utah capitol can be no joke.

Whether you're a visitor or a local, sometimes you want to get out in nature without the long, difficult, sweaty hiking involved. If you're looking for easy - yet gorgeous - hikes near Salt Lake City on the Wasatch Front, these four trails are sure to provide.

Remember that, especially if you are new to hiking or elevation, to arrive prepared to the trailhead. Salt Lake City is in a high desert, and as such, it is easy to become dehydrated while engaging in any activity. Bring along plenty of water, and if you're hiking alone, be sure to communicate your plans with someone.

Happy trails!
The Wasatch has plenty of beautiful and easy hiking trails waiting for you.Photo by Brent Pace on Unsplash

1. Bonneville Shoreline Trail

Long ago - according to science - a prehistoric lake that we now call Lake Bonneville took up Salt Lake valley and stretched for hundreds of miles into the surrounding region. The Bonneville Salt Flats are a leftover tenement to this lake, which succumbed to evaporation.

In the modern-day, the "scars" of Lake Bonneville's epic shoreline can still be seen quite clearly around the Salt Lake Valley. Indeed, the shoreline makes a pretty perfect indent into the foothills and has become the hundred-mile Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Popular with local runners and hikers, this easy, meandering trail has dozens of trailheads around Salt Lake City, perfect for an introductory hike to the foothills.


Distance: 100+ miles - choose a small section and hop on!

2. Ensign Peak

Mormons and historians know Ensign Peak to be a historic Salt Lake Spot. After arriving in the valley, Brigham Young and several other Mormon pioneers climbed the hill to survey their new home - it was there they planned out how to build their new city.

A monument sits at the top of the hill, where locals will often indulge in a lunchtime climb or a sunset date night. Locals consider this an "easy" hike - although if you're from out of town, you will probably find yourself winded on the way up, as you will gain a few hundred feet of elevation. The hike is short, though, and iconic: the views of the valley and downtown area are spectacular.

Distance: Less than a mile one way.

3. Grizzly Gulch

At the top of the gorgeous Little Cottonwood Canyon lies the small town of Alta, now a major skiing destination. Once a remote (and sinful) mining town, this little municipality boasts world-class snow sports and gorgeous mountain trails.

From the Albion Basin parking lot, hikers can take the winding Summer Road up Grizzly Gulch. The road winds past cabins and villas into the woods and finally ends at the mountain pass that separates Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons. The trail is short and not too steep for such a high elevation. Hikers will find beautiful places to stop and rest along the trail, as well.

Distance: Two miles one way

4. Lake Mary

Another trail that starts in a ski resort is the trip up to Lake Mary. After traveling up to Big Cottonwood Canyon - which is truly a stunning sight to behold - you'll park at the Brighton Ski Resort lot. Once there, a well-established trail leads to the stunning Lake Mary.

If a short two-mile trip up to this wildflower-filled lake doesn't satisfy, a few additional miles will bring you to two other lakes: Martha and Catherine. The hardest part about this hike will be the elevation, as Brighton Ski Resort sits at around 8,000 feet (4,000 feet above Salt Lake City), so take it slow and bring plenty of water for this beautiful, meandering trail.

Distance: Two miles to Lake Mary, one way

So which of these easy and gorgeous Wasatch Front trails will you be hiking this weekend? Be sure to leave the trail better than you found it and practice good trail etiquette so that other hikers for decades to come can enjoy the spectacular beauty of the Utah mountains.

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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.

Santa Fe, NM

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