If you’re staying in downtown Salt Lake City, it’s going to be hard to find a more accessible ride/run in town than City Creek Canyon. Located just north of downtown, City Creek Canyon offers more than 1450 vertical feet of climbing in 6.8 miles from Memory Grove. It's one of the most widely used roads for runners, and cyclists. Even cross-country skiers take advantage of City Creek Canyon when there’s snow on the ground. Whether you’re looking for a solid workout in a short time frame or a great finish to a tough day’s ride, City Creek Canyon will get your heart rate up for a serious workout in a hurry.
What Makes It Great
There are several reasons the canyon is so popular. Obviously the canyon's convenience to downtown plays a big part in its popularity. This is one of the few places you can cram a good workout into a long lunch-hour. Keep in mind, your co-workers will probably expect you to take a quick shower, or at least throw on some clean clothes once you get back to the office. Location aside, City Creek is one of the few canyons that offers quality shade during the peak summer months. Lastly, the canyon is closed to motor vehicles, making it a safe option for those used to dealing with traffic, narrow shoulders, and other road hazards. Plus, no cars means you aren’t breathing exhaust for an hour.
There are a few things to keep in mind when visiting the canyon. From the last Monday in May to the last weekend in September, City Creek Canyon is only open to bikes on odd days. The rest of the year it’s open every day. The speed limit for cars in the canyon is 15 mph. While climbing this road won’t be a problem, the descent will be very tempting to bomb. Keep in mind this is a popular running trail; it is open to dogs (as far as the water treatment plant); and it also has the occasional maintenance vehicle traveling on it. This speed limit is for the safety of others so keep that in consideration on your way back down.
Our favorite way of taking in the climb is through Memory Grove by the Bonneville Blvd gate. Turn left onto Bonneville Blvd. then immediately right into City Creek Canyon. While the gate to the left may be closed, the smaller pedestrian gate to the right will be open for visitors. The initial part of the climb from the gate to the water treatment plant rolls and winds 3.2 miles upward and is the easier section of the climb. At the treatment plant the road continues straight and narrows to little more than one lane wide for the next 2+ miles. For those that enjoy some rough pavement, you’ll find this section quite refreshing while most may find it a bit bumpy. From here the climb steepens as you work your way up to Rotary Park where the climb finishes.
Who is Going to Love It
City Creek Canyon is a favorite of folks who need a workout but don’t have a lot of time.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Free Parking is available at the main gate to Memory Grove or in the Avenues above Memory Grove. While City Creek Canyon doesn't have official hours, it’s best enjoyed during the day.