Finding a hiking trail that is close to home in the city, feels like it’s a world away and can seem impossible. Luckily, City Creek Canyon Trail is within walking distance of downtown Salt Lake City. This stunning hike not only offers breathtaking views of the lush canyon but also an opportunity to take in the city’s downtown skyline. Hikers can easily access the trail by foot from the heart of downtown, immersing themselves in the vibrant atmosphere before taking on the natural beauty of the canyon. The contrast between the energy of the downtown cityscape and the peacefulness of the hike creates a unique and unforgettable experience for hikers of all ages and abilities. Let’s dive into what makes City Creek Canyon Trail the perfect spot for your next family hike!
City Creek Canyon Trail
Distance: 6.5 – 11.5 miles depending on route
Difficulty: Easy to moderate, with more challenging options along the trail
Elevation Gain: 4,695 – 6,052 ft depending on the route you choose
Dogs Allowed: Yes – On & off leash in certain areas. Follow this guide provided by Salt Lake City Public Utilities.
If you live in the Salt Lake City area and are looking for a scenic hike that offers the best of both worlds – natural wonders and downtown vibrancy – City Creek Canyon Trail is the perfect destination for you. This trail is the perfect destination for families, couples, or solo hikers seeking stunning views of the canyon and Salt Lake City’s skyline, all within walking distance from downtown. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or new to the scene, this is the perfect spot for an unforgettable hike.
City Creek Canyon Trail Location
The trail begins right off Bonneville Boulevard. This road is unique, as it’s a one-way road for vehicles with the left lane completely dedicated to pedestrians and bikers. I suggest parking at the Lower City Creek Loop Trailhead that linked above since it has a large parking lot, a covered area perfect for lunch, and bathroom areas.
Alternatively, you can choose to park further up the canyon at the City Creek Canyon Parking. This area as of 2023 is under construction, but still available for parking. This area has fewer parking options, so you may end up just off City Creek Canyon Road. The benefit of parking in this area is the various access points to different trails without much of a walk. This parking area is right close to the City Creek Canyon Trailhead, Memory Grove Pond, and part of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.
Hiking City Creek Canyon Trail
This hiking trail features stunning views, no matter where you start or end your adventure. Starting from the lower loop trailhead, you can enjoy the stunning views of the Salt Lake Valley and head East up the canyon. This trailhead allows access to various different trails, including Bonneville Boulevard Trail and Bonneville Shoreline Trail.
If you head into the canyon along Bonneville Boulevard, you are sharing the road with vehicles, hikers and joggers, and bikers. The great thing about this paved trail is that it is a one-way lane for motor vehicles, and the entire creekside lane is dedicated to the coming and going traffic of pedestrians and bikes. Just make sure to stay alert for the quick bicyclers that may fly past you!
Just a short walk up the road you come to a loop around Memory Grove Pond. The pond is a great spot to bring the kids to see City Creek and all its surrounding wildlife. During our adventure, we saw many snails making their way down the mountain to the water. Just keep an eye out where you step! This area is a great place to rest and enjoy the serenity of nature. There are a few rest spots with benches, perfect for watching the creek and the surrounding bird life.
From the City Creek Canyon Trailhead at the peak of Bonneville Boulevard, you can choose to head up the canyon for a more challenging route alongside the Bonneville Shoreline Trail or follow the trails heading North along the mountainside. If you head up the canyon, be aware of potential construction. As of summer 2023, the upper part of the trail is having some trail repairs and maintenance work done and isn’t as accessible in some areas.
The lower portion of the trail is filled with options for different adventures. The Easy City Creek Trail is great for a more challenging uphill climb or bike ride, and leads up the mountain to meet with Morris Meadows Loop. Morris Meadows Loop leads down to the Morris Reservoir, which is surrounded by a more residential area. The Lower City Creek Trails & Paths follow along Bonneville Boulevard and loop around the lower part of the canyon. The trails along this area allow dogs on-leash, and follow a path of mixed dirt and paved areas. Some of these areas are great for bikes, but the trails labeled as lower city creek are for hiking and jogging only. This loop totals about 2 miles and is a great option for a safe and fun adventure with kids!
There are a ton of nearby trails and places to visit! Nearby trails include the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Memory Grove Pond & Trail, Freedom Trail, and more! Most of these trails have signs and guides to show you how to get there from the City Creek trailheads.
If you’re looking to go downtown after hiking, there are some great options just minutes away from the trail! Good places to go for a quick snack include Crown Burgers right off or North Temple road, or visiting the City Creek Center! If you’re looking for even more adventure, visiting the gorgeous McCune Mansion or relaxing at Memory Grove Park could be great choices for you. The nearby Clark Planetarium is another fantastic visit that is fun and educational for the whole family!
Salt Lake City is packed full of places to explore and things to see. Doing a quick drive around the area you can find countless places to go that I haven’t talked about here. I encourage you to do your own exploring and see what you can find!
Best Times To Visit
Most areas of the trail are open year-round, specifically the lower trail with paved areas. The best times to visit are between late Spring to late Fall, which I highly recommend. During the Spring you can see all of the beautiful wildflowers start to bloom, which is a beautiful experience for the whole family. The City Creek Canyon is open from 8:30 AM to 10:00 PM, but the lower trail is accessible if you’re looking for an earlier start on your adventure.
Tips For Hiking City Creek Canyon Trail With Kids
Hiking with kids can be a fun and rewarding experience, and the City Creek Canyon Trail is a great option for families looking to explore the outdoors. To make the most of your hiking adventure, it’s important to plan ahead and be prepared. Start by packing plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen, as well as appropriate footwear and clothing, check out some of our other blog posts for recommendations! Consider bringing a map or GPS device, and make sure your kids are aware of trail etiquette and safety rules. Encourage them to take breaks as needed and enjoy the scenery, and don’t forget to take plenty of photos to capture the memories. With a little preparation and patience, hiking the City Creek Canyon Trail with kids can be a memorable experience for the whole family!
If you’re looking for a great outdoor activity that’s perfect for families and solo adventurers alike, the City Creek Hiking Trail is the perfect spot for you! With its variety of trails, ranging from easy strolls to more challenging hikes, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. And let’s not forget about our furry friends – pets are welcome on the trails as well! So grab your hiking boots, leash up your pup, and head to City Creek Canyon Trail for a day of adventure and fun.
About The Author: Kaitlyn Greenfield is a freelance writer and graphic designer based in Utah with over 5 years of experience. She loves to explore the breathtaking beauty of Utah’s landscape, discovering something new each time. As an avid learner and creative, Kaitlyn values the limitless possibilities that Utah presents and cherishes the beautiful mountains and nature parks that provide her with a sense of home.