Salt Lake City boasts the best mountain access of any major city in the USA.
Salt Lake City, Utah, boasts the best mountain access of any major city in the United States.
There, I said it.
That’s a bold statement, but the facts back it up. While other so-called “mountain cities,” such as Denver, are situated a long way from true mountains, the Wasatch Range rises straight from the outskirts of Salt Lake City, climbing from 4,300 feet above sea level to a sky-scraping 11,752 feet at the top of Mount Timpanogos. (Mount Nebo is the highest peak in the range at 11,928, but it's located many miles to the south of Salt Lake.)
In these mountains, you’ll discover “the best snow on earth,” another bold claim that’s backed up by science. The snow that falls on the Wasatch Range is some of the lowest water content snow on earth, making it the lightest and fluffiest snow imaginable. And of course, since the water content is so low, feet upon feet of the white fluff fall every winter.
In the summertime, groves of whispering aspen trees cover the mountain slopes, rocky peaks soar above treeline, and meadows filled with wildflowers abound. Winding up the gorgeous mountain valleys and traversing the high ridges, you'll find countless miles of picture-perfect singletrack trails. The beauty of the mountains calls to adventurers of all stripes, including mountain bikers.
While the mega mountain bike destination of Park City is close enough for a day trip from downtown Salt Lake, the Salt Lake metro area boasts several fantastic mountain bike rides either beginning or ending right on the edge of the city. Again, unlike some other so-called mountain cities, you don’t have to travel far from Salt Lake to find the goods!
The Wasatch Crest Trail reigns as the local epic ride. While many riders will choose to finish their ride in Park City, you can opt to complete a mega shuttle that descends to Salt Lake CVity, gaining only 1,500 feet of elevation and yet losing over 6,200!
The go-to trail network in the metro area is easily Corner Canyon, offering a plethora of trail options. The route mapped here is one of the longest loop options available in the network.
For jumps and highspeed downhill fun, the Bobsled Trail reigns supreme as a long time locals’ favorite. Bobsled is accessed via the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, a long-distance singletrack that runs along the foothills just above the outskirts of Salt Lake City. While many sections of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail provide great mountain biking, this portion is quite highly-rated.
While Corner Canyon dominates the southern end of the valley, that’s a long drive if you live in North Salt Lake. For a remote-feeling out-and-back ride from North Salt Lake to the top of a 7,200-foot lookout point, head to Mueller Park—you won’t be disappointed!
These five rides provide a cursory overview of the very best mountain bike trails in and around Salt Lake City. The further you’re willing to drive from the city center, the more trails you’ll discover until you're completely overwhelmed by the vast array of options!