This is a great local before-or-after work favorite in Mill Creek Canyon, which is just outside downtown. Out and back is 14 miles with many side trail options including the Grandeur Peak trail which offers breathtaking views of Salt Lake City.
What Makes It Great
You have 4 trailhead options to access the Pipeline Trail:
1) Rattlesnake Gulch (aptly named – keep your eyes and ears open): Drive .7 miles from the fee station to the trailhead on the north side of the road. The trail heads up-hill and is part of the Pipeline Trail.
2) Church Fork: The trailhead is 2.3 miles from the fee station. From the trailhead to the top of Grandeur Peak is 2.75 miles one-way. The trail heads northward from the road with several springs that flow alongside. The summit offers views of Salt Lake Valley, Great Salt Lake, Parley's Canyon, Mill Creek Canyon, and Big Cottonwood Canyon.
3) Birch Hollow: Drive about 4.3 miles up the canyon just past Porter Fork, and it's on the north side of the road.
4) Elbow Fork: The eastern-most access point drops you in at the top of Pipeline Trail, where the elevation is highest. The trail is pretty flat from here until about Porter Fork, where it drops 500 feet in elevation.
All 3 trailheads are along Mill Creek Canyon Road. The trails generally consist of loose, rocky surfacing and short climbs. Be sure to stow and lock your valuables. There are occasional smash-and-grabs reported in the parking lots.
There’s a $3 access fee per vehicle that is charged on exiting the park. Dogs and horses are allowed in the canyon, except the marked watershed areas. Dogs must be leashed on even numbered days, and can be off-leash on trails only on odd numbered days. Please help us keep this a dog-friendly park by carrying out your dog’s waste. Two bottles of water per person are recommended (unless you know where the Church Fork spring is).
Pipeline Trail is also a favorite of mountain bikers and trail runners. Do be respectful of others on the trail, and be prepared to stop or give way. Pipeline is open year-round for access, though the Winter Gate is closed November 1 – July 1, which narrows your parking options. It’s a great spot for a little snowshoeing in the winter, as well.
O’ Falafel Etc. is a favorite post-hike restaurant in Sugar House, just a few miles from Mill Creek Canyon. Be sure to check the specials menu taped on the register before you order. They have terrific kifteh and (obviously) falafel.
Who is Going to Love It
Pipeline is near flat, making it good for the whole family, or those feeling out of shape and in need of some exercise.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To reach Mill Creek Canyon, you'll follow E. Mill Creek Canyon Road up through the foothills until you reach the park entrance. The $3/car fee goes to maintain the restrooms, parking lots, and trails that we all enjoy. Annual passes are $40.00. Seniors (age 60 and over) are charged $2 per day, and may purchase an annual pass for $20. The interagency pass available from the national park service is not accepted in Mill Creek Canyon. To learn about rental fees for the picnic areas and yurts, visit the Salt Lake County Parks page for Mill Creek.