Great Spots to Go Hiking in Fall in Salt Lake City

hiking in fall in Salt Lake City

Almost 45 million Americans hit the trails every year. Hiking has become one of the most popular outdoor activities in the country. It’s easy to see why.

Hiking is great exercise, and it helps you take in the great outdoors. The breathtaking scenery you discover changes with the seasons, too, meaning every hike is different.

Some trails really come alive at certain times of the year. What are the best spots for hiking in fall in Salt Lake City? We’ve rounded up our favorites below.

Silver Lake Is a Family-Friendly Choice

Big Cottonwood Canyon’s trail out to Silver Lake is usually thought of as a summer trail, thanks to the abundance of wildflowers. Still, you can take in the beauty of late-blooming plants and fall colors on this four-mile loop.

You’ll hike through wetlands, past breathtaking views, and maybe even past a critter or two. The trail is great for families and is even wheelchair accessible.

Desolation Lake Is a Local Favorite

The Desolation Lake Trail is great in just about any season. If you’re a local, you may even hike, run, or jog this trail a couple of times a week.

You’ll see all the usual alpine terrain, including the lake itself. Bring a picnic and admire the meadow and the late-blooming wildflowers. There’s almost no better way to spend a bright fall day.

Big Mountain Pass Is Perfect Hiking in Fall in Salt Lake City

If you want spectacular fall colors, then this is the Salt Lake City hiking destination for you. While some people will opt to go for a drive, there are also plenty of great and historic trails.

The Mormon Pioneer Trail is one of the most famous. If you’re feeling adventurous, then Great Western Trail will take you up Big Mountain itself. Schedule plenty of time, because you’ll want to get a closer look at the autumn colors.

Pay a Visit to Bell Canyon

With its majestic waterfall, Bell Canyon Trail has to be one of the most spectacular trails you can find. It’s also one of the best fall hiking spots in Salt Lake City.

Wildlife is often spotted along the trail, and many creatures are more active in the autumn months as they get ready for winter. Once you reach the waterfall, you can take a break and soak in the scenery. The bright fall foliage only adds to the appeal.

You can continue past the first waterfall, but only if you’re looking for a more challenging hike. The trail becomes much more strenuous.

Summit Mount Olympus in the Fall

If you’re still looking for great places to hike in fall, give Mount Olympus some consideration. This trail will take you up more than 9,000 feet. The trail itself is easy to follow, although it can be quite steep.

It’s more than worth the effort, though. Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular view of the Salt Lake Valley. Spend some time near the summit, too, exploring everything this protected wildlife area has to offer.

Discover Your Local Area

There’s no shortage of stunning places to go hiking in fall in Salt Lake City. Whether you’re a local or brand new to the area, there’s always more to be discovered.

Thinking about moving? Check-in with us to learn more about your new local neighborhood or to get the process started.

Seven fun things to do up the hill from Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City sits in a valley surrounded by mountains. There are plenty of things to do in the valley. But sometimes in the summer when it gets hot, all you want to do is head for cooler air up the hill from Salt Lake. Here are our top 7 things to do “up the hill.”

1.  Head up the hill from Salt Lake and go climbing

Salt Lake City is surrounded by 7 canyons: City Creek, Red Butte, Emigration, Parley’s, Millcreek, Big Cottonwood, and Little Cottonwood.  And in those 7 canyons? Over 2,000 established climbing routes of all level.  Which makes it a climber’s mecca.  There are plenty of places just off the road in the canyons to get in a good climb or some top notch bouldering. The best part?  Most of the canyons have creeks that run through them year round.  That means cool the air during the heat of the day. For a list of climbing routes in the various canyons around Salt Lake City and beyond click HERE.

 

 

2.  Go to an open air concert at one of the ski resorts

Most of the Utah ski resorts just up the hill from Salt Lake have summer concert series.  The great thing about a concert under the stars in the mountains, is that since there are no lights for the city, you can actually SEE the stars!  Snowbird, Alta, Solitude, Sundance, Deer Valley, The Canyons, and Snowbasin all have concert series.  Some of them are free – others you’ll need tickets for.

Our biggest tip?  Layer up and bring a blanket.  It can go from warm to really cold in the mountains after the sun goes down!

Oh, and check out our guide to the best spots to see a concert in Salt Lake City HERE.

3.  Catch a movie

A lot of parks in town show free movies during the summer.  But a movie + a cool mountain view is another reason to head up the hill from Salt Lake.

The Sundance Institute (you know, of the famed Sundance Film Festival) puts on a summer movie series every year.  Most show in the City Park in Park City AND at Red Butte Garden! You can find out more HERE.

You can also find free movies at several of the ski resorts and mountain town parks.  It is well worth a google search!

 

4.  Play a round of disk golf

What exactly IS disk golf?  Well… it is a lot like regular golf – but instead of clubs and balls you play with disks (that are very similar to frisbees). Instead of aiming for a hole, you aim for a basket with chains that is up on a pole off the ground.  Each “hole” has a par and the goal is to get the lowest cumulative score on the course.

There are quite a few disk golf courses around Salt Lake City.  However, there are some fun and challenging courses played on rugged mountain terrain just up the hill from Salt Lake.  Some of the best courses are at: Trailside Park in Park City, The Canyons Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort, and Brighton Resort.  To get a list of all the Utah disk golf courses (with a letter grade on the quality of the course) click HERE.

5.  Hiking

There are countless hiking trails in the mountains around Salt Lake City.  You can find a hike that is more of a stroll or go for a days-long backpacking trip. Our favorites are hikes up to some of the mountain lakes.  Most hikes are 3-5 miles which means, you can start out early after breakfast; then take your time on a leisurely hike and then eat lunch around the lake.

There are some great guides, books, and websites for figuring out where to go but HERE is a great top 10 list to get you started!

6.  Visit a Park City Festival

There are all kinds of Park City festivals and events just up the hill from Salt Lake.  Some of the best ones during the summer are:

  • Park Silly Sunday Market.  A combination of an arts & crafts market and a farmers market. Every Sunday during the summer
  • Savor the Summit.  Imagine closing down Main Street.  Then putting a big, long, main-street-length-table down the center of the road.  Then throwing a giant dinner party for hundreds of people. That’s Savor the Summit!
  • Kimball Arts Festival. A mix of visual arts, live music and culinary arts – this art festival has a special mountain flavor that is unique to Park City.

7.  Downhill mountain biking

The hard part about mountain biking?  Going up a big hill.  The fun part about mountain biking? Going down a big hill really fast.  Now you can avoid the uphill part and enjoy the downhill part.  Just get yourself and your bike to one of the ski resorts that allow you to take your bike on the ski lifts in the summer.  You ride to the top and then cruise down. All the fun – without the uphill part.

The Canyons for example has both a skills park and lift-supported biking with three different skill levels.  Deer Valley and Snowbasin offer 60 and 30 miles of biking trails respectively. At Solitude you not only get 20 miles of single track trails – you can also buy a bike there.  The best way to get more details?  Head to your favorite resort’s summer page and see what they offer!

 

Please Note: We’re continuing to post about local businesses, events, and area attractions; however, things often change due to COVID-19 restrictions.  So please, double-check before you visit any of our recommended spots to confirm availability, accessibility, or any restrictions.  Stay safe. Be well. And support Local! Thank you. 

 

Looking for more things to do in and around Salt Lake City? Look no further!