If the east side of the Wasatch Front is known for its mountain hiking and climbing, the west side is known for the Great Salt Lake—even if you have to drive north first to get to the best that the Great Salt Lake has to offer. Antelope Island offers its brand of Utah history, hiking, camping, photography and pioneer-focused experience. There are food stands available during popular times. If you can get past the shores of the lake away from the shallow waters and stench of rotting shrimp brine, you’ll find that the Great Salt Lake can be a unique to teach someone how to swim. In the high-salinity water content, you’ll actually float on top of the water.
Much like how the Uinta Mountains and Mirror Lake Highway are best from July through September when there’s reliable road access, there’s also a sweet spot to visit the Great Salt Lake. The timeframe here is February through April, when there are warm patches but not sustained warmer temperatures that signal the release of that year’s crop of biting gnats. As well as several weeks from November through early December, when the weather is still relatively warm. You can also look to snowshoe during the winter months when many people are off skiing in the mountains.
City Creek, Red Butte, Emigration, Parley’s, Mill, Big Cottonwood, Little Cottonwood. Without a doubt, these seven canyons host the most popular hikes in all of Utah—at least in the sense that these trails are the most well-traveled by local Utahans. That’s because—from North Salt Lake down to Draper and over to Herriman—“that’s where all the people live.” More on this front, what makes these trails so special is that the people, policies, and infrastructure of the Wasatch Front allow some of these canyons to provide much of Salt Lake City’s drinking water as well as some of the best metro-area hiking—and climbing for that matter!—in the whole country.
The future feasibility of this multi-purpose land- and water-use depends on a range of factors some of which are under our control and some of which aren’t. To learn more about one of today’s key organizations seeking to protect, restore, and replenish the land, check out the Seven Canyons Trust.
That said, the future of these canyons and hiking trails is not a binary outcome of good and bad, and we can look to our recent past for lessons. Much of the timber resources in these mountains were depleted during the initial development of the Valley only to be replenished throughout the 20th century with an effective reforesting initiative.
Learn about the amazing hiking trails and lakes in the Beehive State. Utah Hiking and Lakes can help you plan your next day trip, weekend getaway, or weeklong vacation itinerary. Our state’s natural beauty and outdoor landscapes are world-renowned. And for good reason. It’s hard to take it all in and to properly appreciate everything the state has to offer. A lot of outsiders think of Utah as just arches and desert with one big salt lake and a few mountains thrown in from the Rockies. And we do have all things, but there are so many wrinkles and nuance between the different regions.
The Wasatch Front is a little different than the Uinta Mountains which is a lot different than the plateaus and canyons of southern Utah. There are enormous, ancient forests. There’s rock hounding, and there are river adventures. There’s serious archaeological study and discovery. Even the starkness and the plains of the Great Salt Flats is known for racing and off-roading, as well as being an amazing backdrop and topography for the Sun Tunnels and sky gazing.
Why Utah Hiking and Lakes?
We’re not afraid to ask the existential questions. We don’t want to be a website that exists just to exist. We want to offer some kind of value as an informational resource primarily, but also as a kind of civic advocacy for the better management of Utah hiking and lakes. We’re first and foremost about helping people, long-time residents and out-of-town visitors alike, achieve the best experience possible with the state’s lakes and hiking trails. With that being said, we do believe the best experience possible is itself only possible so long as these lakes and trails can be safely visited and traversed.
Thus, we also do what we reasonably can to promote the future health of these unparalleled natural resources—from governmental programs that fight beetle infestation in the Uinta Mountains…..to the individual responsibility to use best practices to prevent forest fires…..from an honest debate about the future of river dams and water diversion…..to containing the threat and spread of invasive mussels.
Utah Hiking and Lakes is working to bring you as much basic information as well as timely updates about how to best visit, explore, summit, and preserve the state’s trails and lakes.