Must-Do Hikes During Outdoor Retailer Summer Market
Outdoor Retailer is a wonderland for adults. There are endless aisles of gear, grub, apparel, animals, swag, celebs, snacks, and speakers. It’s really easy to forget that there’s a world outside of Salt Palace when you have everything you could ever imagine under one roof.
But when you pry yourself away from the dazzle of #ORshow, Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Mountains await with an allure all their own. Sky-high peaks, fields of wildflowers, and curious wildlife are around every bend.
When you’re at Outdoor Retailer next week, be sure to carve out some time to head for the hills and hit these hikes from our book 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Salt Lake City. Trust us, you won’t regret it.
City Creek Canyon
Length: 2-9 miles round-trip
Elevation gain: 300–740′
With the 26-story LDS Church office building to your back and the Utah state capitol in front of you, follow a creek through a city park, quickly leaving the city behind. Within 2 miles you’ll be walking in a national forest and nature preserve shared with elk, moose, and mountain lions.
Directions: It seems strange to refer to one of the busiest intersections in downtown Salt Lake City as a trailhead. Yet the hike starts at the northeast corner of State Street (US 89) and North Temple, just a block from Temple Square and convenient to downtown hotels and shopping. The most difficult part of getting to the trailhead will be finding a place to park. Use one of the public or commercial lots nearby—most street parking in the vicinity is limited to 2 hours.
Length: 5.8 miles round-trip
Elevation gain: 2,670′
Lake Blanche is a classic glacial tarn at the base of a cirque. The hike to Lake Blanche begins at the Big Cottonwood Canyon floor and follows the dramatically glaciated side canyon to an exceptionally scenic and remote alpine setting. It’s one of the most popular hikes in the Salt Lake area—and justifiably so.
Directions: From Salt Lake City’s east side, take I-215 south to 6200 South (Exit 6). At the off-ramp, turn left and proceed south 1.7 miles, as 6200 South changes to Wasatch Boulevard (UT 190). Turn left at the signal, staying on UT 190, and continue 4.3 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon. As the road makes a hairpin turn to the left, enter the Mill B South trailhead parking area, on the right.
Length: 4.4 miles round-trip
Elevation gain: 3,106′
This popular summit offers great views in all directions, but the most memorable sight will be of the wildflowers that fill Alexander Basin in spring and summer. The steep hike offers some easy scrambling and route-finding up a glacial cirque to the ridge, followed by a short jaunt to the summit.
Directions: From I-215 on Salt Lake City’s east side, take the 3300 South/3900 South turnoff (Exit 4). Turn left onto Wasatch Boulevard and go north 1 block to 3800 South. Turn right on 3800 South and continue toward the mouth of Mill Creek Canyon. Pass the toll booth at 0.7 mile and continue another 7 miles to the Alexander Basin trailhead (#010). Trailhead parking is on the south side of the road.
Length: 8 miles round-trip
Elevation gain: 3,071′
Admittedly, neighboring Gobblers Knob is 5 feet higher in elevation and has a more interesting name, but Mount Raymond is the more interesting hike. Groves of aspen blanket the lower trail, and a variety of conifers cling to a rocky knife-ridge leading to the summit. You’ll have great views in all directions.
Directions: From Salt Lake City’s east side, take I-215 south to 6200 South (Exit 6). At the off-ramp, turn left and proceed south 1.7 miles, as 6200 South changes to Wasatch Boulevard (UT 190). Turn left at the signal, staying on UT 190, and continue 8.2 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon to the small parking area on the left side of the road.
That’s it. I’ll be in your suitcase when you open it up in Utah. But no worries! I’ll immediately hop out and hike away.