Running Trails In Salt Lake City

Are you looking for some new running routes to explore? Salt Lake City has several great trails to choose from.

Running Trails In Salt Lake City

Whether you want to run up towards the Wasatch Mountains, take in the Great Salt Lake itself, or head through downtown, the capital of Utah is a young and vibrant city. 

Salt Lake City is home to over 300 miles of paved and unpaved trails. The city is also known for its beautiful scenery and outdoor activities with several running trails to sample.

Some of them are located near parks, schools, and other recreational areas. Others are located in remote areas where you will enjoy the beauty of nature.

In this guide, we will look at some of the running trails that Salt Lake City has to offer.

Temple Square

Running Trails In Salt Lake City

Once you arrive in Salt Lake City, you should be aware that the figurative heart of the city is at Temple Square.

Marked by Salt Lake Utah Temple, it is from that spot where you can see the grid pattern of blocks grow.

It is also a great place to start a run as you can explore downtown and enjoy the huge wide streets.

From Temple Square, you can head past the restored mansions that populate the historical districts. Take the time to marvel at the architecture of the Capitol Hill areas then make a trip down Memory Grove. 

You may even find a ‘runseeing’ tour as you can take advantage of the flat terrain to see the government buildings, Public Library, and the splendor of downtown.

If you have a limited amount of time to spend in Salt Lake City then running from Temple Square is an ideal way to see downtown.

Liberty Park

Running Trails In Salt Lake City

Another downtown running trail can be found at Liberty Park.

This may be the ideal spot if you are living, working, or staying downtown and simply need to get some fresh air and a quick run, especially if you prefer a tempo run with little prospect of getting lost. 

As soon as you reach Liberty Park you can easily run around the perimeter and enjoy a flat woodchip running path for 1.45 miles.

For more conventional pavement, there is the inside loop for a slightly shorter 1.4 miles.  

City Creek Canyon

Running Trails In Salt Lake City

To get away from the traffic downtown, you only need to head under a mile away to City Creek Canyon.

There is still a paved route yet it feels so far removed from the city as you can enjoy the gorgeous views then tackle the uphill slope once you get inside the Canyon itself.

You can even start downtown and begin your run from the Capitol then head through Memory Grove Park for a steady 1.3 miles to City Creek Canyon Trailhead. 

It is another 5.3 miles that you can gain some speed on Canyon Road though you can use The Water Treatment Plant for a loop.

For a sense of adventure, sample some of the further trail connections that you may find more suited for the trail runs you enjoy.

One of the most popular routes is along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail which is well worth seeking out.

Bonneville Shoreline Trail (North)

Running Trails In Salt Lake City

If you want to go further from City Creek Canyon Trailhead, then head to Bonneville Shoreline Preserve.

The trail can be found on the east side of downtown and is a well-looked after single track that you can take around the Ice Age Bonneville Lake Shoreline.

Be aware, this is a challenging trail run that samples the rocky high ground and can reach an elevation gain of 5,000 feet. 

While you may be tired, you can catch your breath by simply taking in the stunning views of the Wasatch Mountains and the skyline across Salt Lake City.

You may want to stick with the trail as you can get distracted by some blind corners.  

Jordan River Parkway Trail

Running Trails In Salt Lake City

For the longest urban paved trail in the city (and the whole United States), you need to find the Jordan River Parkway Trail.

Of course, the river itself runs through the center of the valley and is mainly parallel to Interstate 15.

This is also a trail where you do not have to worry too much about the weather as the Murray City Section is generally maintained. 

In fact, with the right footwear, you should find that the trail remains runnable for most of the year.

This is an ideal place if you have a few hours to spend to get a long run away from the hustle and bustle of downtown and away from any traffic.

Just you and the Jordan River, what could be more picturesque than that?

Sugar House Park

Running Trails In Salt Lake City

Parks are always great for running and Sugar House Park is no exception. Whatever run you want to do, whether it is a jaunt on the grass, a speed session on the track, some elevation on the hills, or a simple rolling tempo, you can do it here.

To the east of the park, you can find the outdoor 400m high school track which is prepared for all weather conditions.

For a more defined route, there is an inner loop where you can enjoy some paving and around 1.4 miles of hills.

For a leisurely run on the gentle grass, there is a loop at the perimeter which is 1.82 miles long. 

Parley’s Creek Route

Running Trails In Salt Lake City

For a scenic route, take in 6.1 miles alongside Parley Creek. You will have to find your way to find it as it lies around 5 miles south of downtown yet for that short trip you can enjoy the route. 

The trail is well known amongst cyclists and hikers as it takes in so many of Salt Lake City’s highlights which include Parley’s Historic Nature Park, Tanner Park, and Parley’s Canyon.

Should you want to test yourself then try the route from Parley’s Canyon to the very summit of Grandeur Park which is a sizable 3,000-foot gain in elevation. 

Final Thoughts

One thing to remember with Salt Lake City is how much snow you may encounter, particularly in the winter months.

If you are used to hitting the trail in your favorite running shoes then you may want to attach some MICROspikes or even some snowshoes for a different surface altogether.

Once you have sorted out your footwear you can feel confident in whichever trail you want to try. 

Some of the best running trails can be found when you make the trip to Temple Square, Liberty Park, and Sugar House Park.

If you want to test yourself then go exploring at Jordan River Parkway Trail, Parley’s Creek Route, and City Creek Canyon which can offer some easy paths from the city or some more unforgiving slopes in the foothills. 

Wherever you decide to go, public transportation can get you there and you can really enjoy the exposure of running around the Great Salt Lake as well as Antelope Island, though from there you can take in the canyons and the mountains.

Megan Rinzel
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