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The 6 Salt Lake City hiking trails with the best views

written by Intrepid Travel September 20, 2021
Lake Cecret in Salt Lake City on a clear, sunny day.

One of the perks of traveling to Salt Lake City is the number of outdoor activities you can have a go at, and hiking is no exception.

Salt Lake City and its surrounding areas aren’t short on natural beauty. Shadowed by the impressive Wasatch Mountains, this bustling city is full of world-class walking and hiking trails, just waiting to be explored.

From the bubbling waterfall of Donut Falls to the breathtaking scenery of Cecret Lake, we’ve put together a list of the Salt Lake City hiking trails that are the best of the best. Whether you’re a hiking beginner or you’ve been doing it for a while, these trails are guaranteed to leave you wanting to return as soon as possible.

1. Ensign Peak

The summit at Ensign Peak in Salt Lake City.

Difficulty: easy & manageable
Distance:
1.8 miles
Duration:
30-minute return

One of the easiest and most convenient hikes to get to on this list, Ensign Peak can be accessed from downtown Salt Lake City, just one mile north of the State Capitol Building. Where this trail lacks in length, it makes up for in beauty with the hike taking you past expansive natural parkland and fascinating wildlife.

While this peak is relatively steep at 374 feet, the views of the city and surrounding mountain ranges (especially at sunrise or sunset) are more than worth the short 20-minute walk, making it one of the best Salt Lake City hiking trails.

2. Cecret Lake

A close up of Cecret Lake with the mountains in the background reflecting off the surface of the water.

Difficulty: easy & manageable
Distance:
1.7 miles
Duration:
30-minute return

Pronounced ‘see-cret’, this stunning hiking trail, located about 32 miles from the Salt Lake City center, is anything but. Walked by thousands of travelers every year, the Cecret Lake trail leads you to a small but no less breathtaking lake that’s teal in color and hard to forget.

Regardless of whether you’re an experienced hiker or just starting out, this hike will have you exploring Salt Lake City’s natural parkland in a gradual way that’s easy to manage. With evergreen trees, a meadow full of wildflowers, and native wildlife on full display, Cecret Lake offers one of the best views going ‘round.

3. Bell’s Canyon Trail

Bell's Canyon Trail during Winter in Salt Lake City.

Difficulty: moderate – hard
Distance:
4.6 miles
Duration:
1.5 hours return

While this hike may be difficult with rough terrain, rock scrambling, and a tough incline in some areas, the view when you get to the waterfall will be well and truly worth it. The Bell’s Canyon trail takes you to the reservoir with less tree coverage than some of the other hikes, before leading you up to enjoy the best canyon views ever.

As if that wasn’t good enough, the Bell’s Canyon Waterfall more than makes up for the sweat and effort you put in along the way with the natural landmark standing at 30 feet tall.

4. Donut Falls

Sun shining through the circular hole in Donut Falls, Salt Lake City.

Difficulty: easy & manageable
Distance:
3.1 miles
Duration:
1-hour return

The Donut Falls trail is like something straight out of a fairytale. Make your way through valleys filled with lush trees and thick scrubs before getting to the main event, the waterfall. Hidden away in a pebble-lined grotto that could’ve been from a scene in Avatar, the magnificent waterfall is bound to captivate not only you but the whole family.

Getting its name due to water flowing through a uniquely, circle-shaped rock formation, this hiking trail is pretty darn magical and well worth walking the 3 miles to get there.

5. The Living Room Hike

A woman sitting in a seat-like rock formation at the top of the Living Room Hike in Salt Lake City.

Difficulty: moderate
Distance:
2.3 miles
Duration:
45-minute return

Perfect if you want a bit more of a challenge, the Living Room Hike is fairly steep with an elevation gain of 980 feet but believe us when we tell you that you want to experience the view from the top.

This hike is not covered by shade of any kind which is both good and bad as it means that you’ll have uninterrupted views of your surroundings but no protection from the sun so make sure you pack sunscreen with you. Once you get to the couch-shaped and loveseat-like rock formations at the top, you’ll soon see that the city to lake views were well worth breaking a sweat for.  

6. Mount Olympus

A snow-capped Mt. Olympus in Salt Lake City beneath a setting sun.

Difficulty: moderate – difficult
Distance:
8 miles
Duration:
2 hours, 40 minutes return

Time to get your blood flowing and your adrenaline pumping with one of the best Salt Lake City hiking trails for more experienced hikers. With an elevation of a whopping 4,000 feet (prepare to feel the quad-burn), Mount Olympus offers mind-blowing views of the whole city and surrounding mountain ranges from the summit. While it might be a hard slog to get up there with the trail being relatively unshaded, standing at the top might just be one of the most rewarding things you’ve ever done.

Whether you prefer to explore crystal-clear lakes or marvel at gushing waterfalls, the hikes of Salt Lake City have a little something for everyone and make for the greatest outdoor adventure.

EXPLORE SALT LAKE CITY’S HIKING TRAILS FOR YOURSELF ON OUR MOAB ADVENTURE TOUR

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