10 short, scenic Utah hiking trails

By Allison Laypath

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Oct. 15 2012 4:00 p.m. MDT

The Nature Park sign at the start of the Ensign Peak trail.

Lynn Arave, Deseret News archives

Enlarge photo»

Fall is a great time to get to know some of Utah's many great hiking trails. It is arguably the best time of year for hiking because temperatures are cooler and the change of seasons rewards those who venture into nature with an abundance of color. Southern Utah's mild temperatures give hikers reason to explore until late in the season.

You don't need to be in top physical condition or wait until children are older to enjoy hiking. All of the hikes listed here are one mile long or less, and some are on flat terrain. All offer something worthwhile for hikers of any age or physical ability. Most of these hikes are located near Utah's Wasatch Front or in Utah's national parks, which are only a few hours drive from most parts of the state and well worth a weekend visit.

1. Limber Pine Nature Trail, Logan Canyon

The Cache Hikers association recommends this as one of the best short trails in Northern Utah. This loop trail is named for a 560-year-old limber pine tree that stretches 25 feet in diameter. This trail is especially well-suited for young families because of its easy terrain and family oriented education stations along the way. Snow falls earlier here than in many places in the state, so visit this trail early in the fall season.

Length: 1 mile

How to find it: The trailhead is located on Highway 89, in Logan Canyon, about 30 miles from Logan and seven miles from Bear Lake. Find it near the Sunrise Campground.

2. Buffalo Point, Antelope Island State Park

This hike leads to the top of Buffalo Point on Antelope Island. Once there, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of Antelope Island, the Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Mountains. The sunsets here are gorgeous. Optional boulder hopping on large rocks strewn across the point makes this trip even more fun.

Length: 0.6 miles

How to find it: Buffalo Point is near the visitors center and the Bridger Bay Campground. Follow signs once inside Antelope Island State Park. There is a $9-per-car entrance fee. The park closes at 7 p.m. beginning Oct. 2, and 5:30 p.m. beginning in mid-November.

3. Ensign Peak, Salt Lake City

Brigham Young climbed this peak soon after his arrival in the Salt Lake Valley to survey the area and plan the city that would be built. An American flag was planted on Ensign Peak soon afterward. Today, you'll find a monument that dates back to 1934 and panoramic views of downtown Salt Lake City and the Salt Lake Valley. This hike is one of the steepest on this list, with a 400-foot gain in elevation.

Length: about 1 mile

How to find it: This well-marked trail begins behind an LDS church building in the neighborhood above the State Capitol Building. You can see the knobby peak and its monument from a distance.

4. Temple Quarry Trail, Little Cottonwood Canyon

This nearly flat, wheelchair and stroller-friendly nature trail accesses the area where granite was once quarried for the Salt Lake Temple. Signs posted along the trail describe natural and historic features along the way. Some granite boulders on the trail still show the grooves from being split more than 100 years ago.

Length: 0.3 miles

How to find it: Look for the sign near the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon, east of Salt Lake City. After turning right from the canyon road, take an immediate left to reach the parking lot for this trail.

5. Provo River Parkway, Provo Canyon

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