Cars are terrifying. A 7,000-pound SUV driven by a teenager with a text addiction can bring a relaxing jog to an unpleasant end in a hurry. Fortunately, Salt Lake City has an extensive system of run-friendly parks to get you out of traffic. A little high-quality people-watching is an added bonus for any run, as our parks are packed with quirky folks doing quirky things (just the thing to get your mind off the beating that you’re voluntarily handing your lower body). Here’s our guide to the best parks for running and the best times to go.
This is the Place/Heritage Park
Heritage Park is huge—it covers over 200 acres. That includes a visitor center, several monuments, and a small town designed to look like a settlement from the 1800s. About half the park is a dog-friendly open space with runner-friendly gravel paths. The main loop is actually kind of short—maybe half a mile, but it can be combined with several other small loops in the area for a longer run. The area is also a very popular dog park, with a couple of unofficial off-leash areas. Between the historic area and the dog park, Heritage Park combines terrific running for folks who are looking for a softer surface than pavement with unbelievable people-watching opportunities. This one is usually best in the summer.
Rosewood is a very open park with several baseball and soccer fields. For runners, a sidewalk circles the inside of the fence line. Rosewood also has a popular skate park, which makes for exciting people watching. If you’re lucky, you may even see someone wipe out. Unfortunately the park tends to be pretty quiet during the winter, and the stink coming off the Great Salt Lake can be a bit overpowering in the heat of summer, so Rosewood Park is best enjoyed in Spring and Fall.
Located very near downtown, Liberty Park actually occupies several city blocks. It includes a large duck pond, an aviary, a folk art museum, and even a place to buy food. The road that surrounds the park is about a mile and a half long. There’s also a cinder path for runners next to the road. Because of its close proximity to downtown and the variety of activities frequently happening in the park, this is probably the best people-watching spot in Salt Lake City. Summer is definitely the best time to check it out. Lots of vendors set up shop here, and sell hippie essentials like tie dyed clothing, tapestries, and various types of crystals, among other things. Still not excited about summer in Liberty Park? There’s one more thing you’ll find here. Larpers! That's right, those people who dress up in Medieval costumes and perform scenes together frequently show up to Liberty Park, and it's a sight to see.
Sugarhouse Park is probably the prettiest park in Salt Lake City. The park surrounds a pretty little duck pound with lots of gazebos and areas large enough for even the most inclusive family reunion. The road that circles the park is about a mile and three eighths, and includes a lane for runners, walkers, and bicycles. Another nice thing about Sugarhouse is the gentle, rolling hills that make the run a bit more challenging. You can run on the grass if you like, but there isn’t a specific dirt path for running. It’s an extremely popular park, so the people-watching opportunities are plentiful all year.