City Creek to Dry Creek and back through the Avenues is a ~12 mile run or mountain bike ride. It starts with a decent climb, then follows the mostly level and smooth Bonneville Shoreline trail for several miles, before descending Dry Creek canyon and following the road back to Memory Grove.
What Makes It Great
Most of the mileage is on trail. For me it is 1-1.5 hours on a mountain bike, or 2-2.5 hours running.
From the entrance to Memory Grove follow the road up the middle of the park (no cars allowed) until you hit 11th Avenue (the only road you will cross, you can recognize it because there are two ponds, one below and one above the road). At 11th, veer right on the road, then left next to the top pond. A trail heads north from the east side of the pond. Follow it uphill, winding through the woods for a mile or two. This is a climb of 500' or so.
At the top, you will be in an open field with hills rising behind it. You may notice a trail heading to a trailhead parking lot and some houses on your right. Ignore intersecting trails and follow the trail you are on as it heads across the field, makes a hairpin switch back to the right and continues to contour up and around the hillside. When you hit another intersection at a flat spot, hang a left and follow the main trail up and over two small climbs. After the second, the trail winds left through some scrub oak for a little under a mile.
When you T into another intersection, hang a left for another climb of about 0.5 miles (the trail is a little wider for this climb.) At the top of this climb you will hit another intersection. Do not follow the smaller trail that diagonals uphill to the right. Instead, hang a harder right onto the obvious smooth single track. This single track is the best part of this run/ride, regardless of whether you are on bike or on foot. It will go for 4-6 miles (I've never counted) at a fairly consistent elevation, on smooth trail, curving right and left with the contours of the hill. It's not hard to ignore the small trails that occasionally intersect it.
Finally, you will go through a small gap, hang a left and start descending into Dry Creek canyon. Follow this nice single track down the hillside until you end up in the gully where the trail takes a hard right. This section alternates between smooth with little banked turns and rocky spots when you go through the creek bed at times. (In March-June you may encounter some water here). Eventually, you get dumped out on a dirt road/intersection/cul-de-sac (if you are on a bike it is impossible to resist trying to catch a little air off the berm that separates the trail from this dirt road.) Follow the dirt road up and to the right, by a gate. Within 200 yards it turns into a paved bike path, and you will notice that you are paralleling a road in a very nice neighborhood. Stay on your bike path. It will make a big dip, then dump you on 11th Avenue. Follow 11th for a while. You will pass a cemetery then will start passing streets in descending alphabetical order from about M Street through A Street.
On one of these streets (it does not matter which one) you will take a left, descend to 7th Avenue (4 streets below and south of 11th Avenue), and take a right on 7th. At 7th and A Street the road ends at a gully. The gully is Memory Grove below you. Take the stairs down into Memory Grove, then take a left back to downtown.
Who is Going to Love It
With its convenience, fun climb, and fast, rewarding decent, the ride from City Creek to Dry Creek and back is one f Salt Lake City’s most popular.
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.