Best Hikes With Kids In The Salt Lake Area

This post may contain affiliate links where we earn a small commission from each sale.  Find out more in our disclosure.

No place in the world fits the bill as THE perfect hiking area as easily as Utah. With its many impressive canyons lined with sturdy ridges, expansive deserts, whimsical greenery, and incredible wildlife – you’d be forgiven for thinking this state had been made for outdoor adventure! There are thousands of winding trails, hikes, and treks to explore.

But when kids are involved things can prove a little trickier. As expected, kids tire sooner than adults and really have an entirely different level of focus.  While it may be tempting to do all of your hiking in well known areas like Moab, Zion and the High Uintahs, there are plenty of amazing hikes for kids right in Salt Lake City.  

Living in Salt Lake, you are surrounded by mountains and access to them is easier than in any other large city.  Between the Cottonwood Canyons, Millcreek, and all the other secret nooks tucked along the bench, you’ll find plenty of great hikes for kids in Salt Lake. 

What to take when hiking with kids

When we’re out hiking, there are 3 things that I absolutely NEVER hike without.  The first is a first-aid kit (this one is great because it also has some survival equipment in it, but is still small), and lots of healthy hiking snacks for kids (I usually take twice as much food as they would eat at home).  The last is lots of water (especially in the summer.  My favorite water bottle is this one that has never leaked, but my kids really love their hydration packs (and they drink a lot more with them than water bottles – win!).  

Aside from that, it just depends on the hike.  If it’s going to be rainy, we pack our packable rain jackets (these kids rain jackets are the best quality we’ve found and last through multiple kids).  If we are in bear territory, I never leave home without my bear spray, especially after my run in with a growling bear last year in Big Sky Montana.  

To help you find the right hiking spot for your family, we’ve compiled a list of the 20 best kid-friendly hikes in Salt Lake City Utah to explore. Before you hit the trail, make sure that you check out our 20 tips to get kids hiking without WHINING!

Donut Falls

Location: Big Cottonwood Canyon
Distance: 3 miles
Difficulty: Easy

hiking donut falls with kids

Donut falls is where most Utah kids and teens start their love affair with the outdoors. Donut Falls is one of the most popular hikes in Salt Lake City for families.  Especially popular among youth groups and families, this spectacular trek has something for everyone. It’s suitable for all ages with its steady slope and clear passage but what truly sells this hike is its diversity. From small stream crossings and boulders to climb on, right up to the amazing donut falls at the end of the trail. 

Though the trek is short, be sure to bring along bottles of water and snacks for everyone. The trail is particularly crowded during the Summer months when temperatures can reach up to 90F.  There’s a pit toilet at the trailhead, though the parking lot fills early, especially on weekends so plan on either coming early or late in the day. 

Lisa Falls

Location: Sandy
Distance: 0.3 miles
Difficulty: Easy

At an easy-walkable length and with an elevation of 128 feet, hikes don’t get much more kid-friendly than Lisa Falls. This trail is perfect for younger kids who’ll enjoy the glistening stream to the side of the path as you ascend the relatively small canyon. And after all their hard work, there’s a reward at the end! Not only will the whole family get to enjoy the picturesque falls, but there’s also a pool at the bottom where kids can play to their heart’s content.  This is a great hike for toddlers in Salt Lake.

Bells Canyon Reservoir

Location: Sandy
Distance: ¾ miles
Difficulty: Easy

This trail is full of opportunities for fun and wild adventure. With its huge climbable boulders and catch & release lakes – this 20-minute hike can turn into an excitement- packed family day out! There’s plenty of parking and toilet facilities available all year round.

Upon scaling the ridge you’ll be met with the full view of the picturesque lake.

Cecret Lake

Location: Alta
Distance: 1.8 miles
Difficulty: Easy/moderate 

hiking cecret lake with kids

Cecret lake is a ‘nature-lover’s’ haven. If your little ones love looking at moose, bugs, insects, and any other creature imaginable – this is the place for them! But don’t worry, it’s not a jungle. Lined with rolling meadows that are home to large boulders, and the odd bench; nature stays tucked away (unless you go looking for it!)  In July and August, the wildflowers are absolutely amazing, so make sure to plan a trip during that time of year.  

Once everyone’s done exploring the wonders of the trail, you can make your way towards the lake. This is the perfect spot for a calm lunch or bonding session that can last a whole day!

Waterfall Canyon

Location: Ogden, Utah
Distance: 2.5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate

Located in Ogden, this dog-friendly trail is suitable for two and four-legged members of the family alike. This hiking spot is famous for its breathtaking view of the 200ft waterfall towards the end of the canyon. The slightly steep slope of the canyon involves doing some extra footwork but it’s still very much doable for kids and will be a leisurely climb for adults.

Holbrook Canyon

Location: Bountiful
Distance: 5.5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate

This incredible hike can be a bit turbulent in parts so might be suited to older more stable-on-their-feet kids. There’s plenty to see and do including following the creek that covers the whole length of the trail. However, the main attractions of this hiking spot are its many streams and rustic bridges.

Though they add a touch of action to the trail, the bridges can be quite wobbly so be sure to keep an eye on your kids while crossing. Just another thing to keep an eye out for the diverging routes at the start of the trail.   Located only about 10 minutes north of Salt Lake, this Davis County hike is perfect for kids.

Wild Rose

Location: North Salt Lake City 
Distance: 1 mile or 2.5 miles 
Difficulty: Easy/moderate

Located in North Salt Lake City , this hiking location has a connected feel that’s perfect for families with young kids – you’re never too far away from civilization! However, the wonderful wildflowers and beautiful greenery have a way of making you forget that.

This is an exciting little looped size trail for all the family and has different sized loops depending on how long you want to be on your feet for. Along the larger loop, you can catch a glimpse of the bustling City. But worry not, there’s a playground at the end of both trail loops which means lots of fun for the kids and a chance for the adults to take a rest!  

5th Water Hot Springs

Location: Spanish Fork
Distance: 2.5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate

This beautiful hike offers an exciting day out for all the family. This hike is farther out from Salt Lake City, but is one of the closest hot springs to Salt Lake.  With a number of pools to bathe in along the way, it’s a chance to get everyone into their bathing suits for an afternoon of watery fun! Be sure to hold onto your little one’s hands during more dangerous parts of this trail (near the river) and wear plenty of sunscreen as there is little shade available.  This hike is great year round, and soaking in the hot springs is especially fun in the snow!

Miller Park Loop

Location: Salt Lake City
Distance: 0.9
Difficulty: Easy

Another Salt Lake City adjacent hiking spot, the Miller Park Loop is surprisingly unfrequented despite its gorgeous greenery and magical feel. At just under 1 mile in length and with barely any elevation gain, this Salt Lake hiking spot for kids offers all of the beauty of a classic hike without breaking into a sweat. The entire length of the trek is accompanied by a river and at times you’ll be treated to a cave-like experience as the tree’s leaves shade you from the sun.

Dogs are even allowed on this trail but must be kept on the lead at all times.

City Creek Canyon

Location: Salt Lake City
Distance: 5.9
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

Unique to this list, the City Creek Canyon is a “there and back” trek meaning that your kids will be able to re-explore anything that caught their attention the first time around. And from bird watching to river gazing, there’s plenty to keep them occupied. There are also mountain bikes available for the older kids to enjoy.

Keep in mind that this hike is around 6 miles with average elevation gain, so it might not be suitable for the less experienced hiker or younger kids.  

This hike is right outside of Salt Lake so it’s a perfect hike for families who live in downtown SLC or in the Avenues. 

Ensign Peak

Location: Salt Lake City
Distance: 0.8 miles
Difficulty: Easy

Easily one of the shortest and least-demanding treks on the list, this “there and back hike” is perfect for waddling toddlers and offers plenty of activities year-round to keep the older kids occupied. Hike up to the W for West High, where they used to burn a bonfire in the shape of a W after big events at the high school.  

There is no shade here at all, so plan on going early morning or in the evening.  Dogs are even welcome along this trek, but as expected, they must be kept on a leash.

Rattlesnake Loop

Location: Salt Lake City
Distance: 3.4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate

This kid-friendly hiking spot is perfect for adventurous little ones with its diverse range of forestry, wildflowers, and wildlife. There’s even a fast-flowing river that runs along a section of the trail so be sure to enjoy while holding any little one’s hands! At a length of 3 miles with a moderate elevation, the Rattlesnake loop is perhaps more suited to older toddlers or kids hiking around Salt Lake City.

Great Flume Trail

Location: Salt Lake City 
Distance: 1.2 miles 
Difficulty: Easy 

The ridge of the kid-friendly Great Flume Trail runs above a road which families often stop to watch as kids point in awe at the “ant cars” passing by. Not limited to this, there’s plenty more to stir up imagination such as the “cave” at the end of the trail or the river along the way.

Hidden Falls

Location: Mounthaven
Distance: 0.3 miles 
Difficulty: Beginner 

Accessible all-year-round and suitable for all skill levels – this is the perfect place to introduce your kids to the world of hiking. But don’t worry, there’s not a lot of hiking involved, rather a leisurely stroll among nature with the reward of a scenic waterfall at the end. This trail is never too crowded and offers plenty of wildlife, rocky landscape, and even a protected mine for your kids to explore.

Silver Loop Lake

Location: Salt Lake City 
Distance: 0.9 miles 
Difficulty: Easy 

Close to shops, toilets, and other necessary facilities, a family trip to Lake Solitude can easily turn into a family day out. It’s more of a woodsy stroll around a lake than a hike which makes it perfect for young kids and even strollers. The incredible range of wildflowers, wildlife, greenery, and views that surround this trek mean that every visit is a nature trip!  The lake is situated at the Solitude Nordic Center right between the Solitude and Brighton base areas.

Lake Solitude

Location: Salt Lake City 
Distance: 3.3 miles 
Difficulty: Moderate
 

There are moose and wildflowers abound on this family-friendly hiking trail near Salt Lake.  These activities are complemented by the awe-inspiring scenery and greenery along the trail. And as the name would suggest, there’s even a lake included!

Lake Mary Trail

Location: Salt Lake City 
Distance: 2.6 miles 
Difficulty: Moderate 

With a bit of light elevation climbing at the start, this trail soon evens out and opens up to show it’s an incredibly varied landscape. Located at Brighton ski area, this is a perfect Salt Lake hike for families looking to escape the city for the day.  With rocky patches, the possibility of snow, eclectic wildlife, and forestry on offer – boredom is not a possibility. With a treasure trove of activities to be discovered, this trail does not stop giving! 

Barrier Free Trail

Location: Sandy 
Distance: 1 mile 
Difficulty: Easy 

This trail is perfect if you’re introducing your kids to hiking for the first time in Salt Lake. The Barrier Free Trail is perfect for any skill set and is also considered stroller friendly. However, there’s still plenty to do with birdwatching, wildlife, flowers, picturesque views and even skiing to enjoy and take part in!

Quail Hollow Trail

Location: Sandy
Distance: 2.3 miles
Difficulty: Easy 

This is a moderately trafficked trail that features a river and is suitable for all skill levels. This hiking spot is primarily used for nature trips and family outings. Snowshoeing is an available-year-round activity to keep the older kids occupied.

You might even spot an animal or two on your way around the loop-trail and you’re definitely guaranteed to sight some interesting birds or bugs.

Dog Lake

Location: Salt Lake City 
Distance: 2.5 miles 
Difficulty: moderate 

This kid-friendly trek is suitable for all skill levels. Just some of the features of this hiking spot are lakes, rivers, and endless greenery. However, the best months to visit this trail are between May and September as that’s when the flowers, birds, and other wildlife are liveliest.

Have we missed any trails? These are our facorite kid-friendly hiking trails in Salt Lake City, but if you have others that you love, please comment below!
These are spots where you can create life-long memories and perhaps even spark a love of hiking in your kids. So, why not rally the troops and get hiking?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


× five = 5

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

shares
Scroll to Top