Best Places to Run in Salt Lake City: A Local’s Guide

Salt Lake City, Utah, offers a diverse range of scenic routes and trails for runners of all levels. Surrounded by mountains, the city provides an excellent combination of urban landscapes, residential neighborhoods, and stunning natural settings, making it an ideal location for running enthusiasts.

Some popular places in Salt Lake City for running include Temple Square, Liberty Park, and Sugar House Park. These parks provide both picturesque scenes and well-maintained paths for an enjoyable running experience.

For those seeking more adventurous routes, there are numerous trail running opportunities in the nearby mountains, such as the Jordan River Parkway Trail and the Pipeline Trail in Mill Creek Canyon.

Trail running in Salt Lake City allows runners to explore the area’s rugged terrain and experience the exhilarating challenge of ascending its remarkable elevations.

Twin Peaks via Ferguson Canyon to Broad’s Fork, for instance, offers a climb of over 6,000 feet, making it the most elevation-intensive trail in the region. Whether a seasoned trail runner or a casual jogger, Salt Lake City presents a variety of options to satisfy the needs of every runner.

Popular Running Trails in Salt Lake City

Liberty Park

Liberty Park is a popular destination in Salt Lake City for running enthusiasts. The park’s 1.5-mile paved loop offers a flat, well-maintained surface ideal for runners of all levels.

Surrounded by beautiful trees and green spaces, Liberty Park also features sports fields, a pond, and fitness stations, providing an enjoyable outdoor experience.

Sugar House Park

Another favored location for runners is Sugar House Park, which boasts a 1.4-mile paved loop with gentle hills and scenic views of the surrounding mountains.

The park itself includes playgrounds, pavilions, and a pond, making it a great spot for families and recreational runners.

City Creek Canyon

City Creek Canyon offers beautiful, natural scenery for trail runners seeking a more challenging terrain. The canyon features dirt trails, varying inclines, and stunning views of the city and nature.

Due to its proximity to downtown, City Creek Canyon provides a conveniently located haven for runners who want to escape the urban environment.

Jordan River Parkway

The Jordan River Parkway is a multi-use trail system that stretches over 40 miles along the Jordan River.

The paved and dirt trails offer a mix of flat and rolling terrain, passing through parks, nature reserves, and urban areas. Runners can easily access the trail from various points throughout Salt Lake City.

Bonneville Shoreline Trail

The Bonneville Shoreline Trail is a popular spot for experienced trail runners as it offers an exhilarating route along the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains.

The trail extends over 100 miles and provides breathtaking views of Salt Lake City and the valley below. With its varying terrain, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail poses a challenging and rewarding experience for runners looking to push their limits.

Scenic and Challenging Routes

Corner Canyon

Corner Canyon offers a variety of trail running options with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and cityscape.

The trails in Corner Canyon feature a mix of wooded areas, open hills, and various elevation changes, providing runners with diverse scenery and challenging workouts. With its well-maintained trails and natural beauty, Corner Canyon is a favorite spot for both casual and experienced trail runners.

Millcreek Canyon

Millcreek Canyon is divided into Upper and Lower sections, each offering unique running experiences. The Lower Mill Creek area is home to the scenic Pipeline Trail, which is relatively flat and offers picturesque views of the surrounding forest and city skyline.

In contrast, Upper Mill Creek boasts more rugged, steep trails that provide runners with challenging hill workouts and changes in elevation.

Pipeline Trail

Located in Lower Mill Creek Canyon, the Pipeline Trail is a popular choice for those seeking a scenic, flat route. This trail offers runners an opportunity to fully appreciate the natural beauty of the canyon while enjoying a moderate workout.

The trail is known for its gorgeous views of the Salt Lake Valley and the surrounding mountains, ensuring a visually rewarding running experience.

Little Cottonwood Canyon

Little Cottonwood Canyon is a challenging running destination for those looking to test their stamina and endurance.

The trails in this canyon are steep, with significant changes in elevation, providing runners with a demanding workout amidst breathtaking nature. The canyon’s pristine scenery and sense of tranquility make Little Cottonwood Canyon a rewarding destination for trail runners seeking a challenging yet picturesque experience.

Preparing for Winter Running

Running in Cold Weather

Running in Salt Lake City during winter can be challenging due to the low temperatures and snowfall. December through February might see snow and the temperature often drops below -15°C To tackle cold weather, consider wearing moisture-wicking layers, a wind-resistant jacket, and thermal leggings. Don’t forget to protect your hands, head, and feet with gloves, a beanie, and warm socks.

Additionally, the Wasatch Mountains nearby provide great trail running opportunities, but the altitude and colder weather might require extra warm clothing and careful planning.

Start by checking the weather forecast before heading out on a run and make any necessary adjustments to your gear.

Staying Safe in Snow and Ice

Running on snow and ice can be tricky and requires some extra precautions, such as wearing appropriate footwear.

When running in slippery conditions, consider using shoes with good traction or even attaching microspikes to your shoes for added grip. Adjust your running style to shorter, quicker strides and stay focused on maintaining balance and stability.

Here are some Salt Lake City winter running tips:

  • Run during daylight hours for better visibility and warmer temperatures.
  • Stick to well-maintained trails or areas with electric lighting, like Sugar House Park
  • Join local running groups to stay motivated and to share advice on winter running routes.
  • If the conditions are too severe, don’t hesitate to move your workout indoors or take a rest day.

Remember, staying safe in snow and ice is crucial when running in Salt Lake City during winter. Make sure you’re well-equipped and prepared for challenging weather conditions before you head out.

Highlights and Landmarks Along Running Routes

State Capitol

While running through Salt Lake City, one of the prominent landmarks to pass by is the state Capitol.

Nestled on a hill overlooking the city, the Capitol offers a picturesque backdrop for those running in the nearby Memory Grove Park or along the marathons route.

The well-maintained grounds and stunning architecture make it an excellent spot to appreciate while on a run.

Sugarhouse Park

Sugarhouse Park is another popular destination for runners in Salt Lake City. With its generous green spaces, a large pond, and a paved running trail that circles the park, it presents an ideal place for both casual and competitive runners.

The park boasts beautiful scenery and a tranquil atmosphere, perfect for enjoying a leisurely jog or an intense workout.

Olympic Oval

The Olympic Oval is not only a historic remnant of the 2002 Winter Olympics but also a premier location for running in the greater Salt Lake City area.

This world-class facility offers both indoor and outdoor running tracks. While the indoor track might require a small fee, the outdoor track is open to the public and features a stunning view of the Wasatch Mountains. It’s an ideal location for those looking to train on a professional-grade track or simply have a change of scenery during their regular runs.

University of Utah

As the starting point for the Salt Lake City Marathon, the University of Utah serves as an extraordinary site for running enthusiasts. The campus features various running routes, including paths that wind through the university’s well-maintained grounds and hills, providing both inclines and flat stretches.

The university’s setting against the backdrop of the mountains offers stunning views and a chance to explore a bustling, vibrant campus while getting a good workout.

Resources and Tips for Runners

Recommended Running Apps

There are several running apps available that can help you track your performance, keep up with the latest running news, and more. Some popular running apps include:

  • Strava: A social network for athletes that enables you to track your runs, analyze your running data, and connect with other runners
  • MapMyRun: An app that allows you to plan and track your running routes, measure your performance, and access a vast array of training plans
  • Nike Run Club: An all-in-one running app featuring guided runs, personalized coaching, and running challenges to suit various goals and levels

These apps often allow you to rate, edit, and review your running routes, making it easier for you and others to find enjoyable and challenging paths to run.

For a longer, multi-use trail, the Jordan River Parkway Trail is a popular choice that spans over 45 miles. Other areas worth exploring include Millcreek Canyon and the trails around Deer Valley Resort.Remember to stay safe when running.

Keep an eye out for bikers, pedestrians, and other outdoor enthusiasts sharing the trails, and always be aware of your surroundings.

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