I don’t know about your family, but sometimes it can be a battle to keep kids active and entertained during the summer without breaking the bank. One of my favorite summer activities is taking my kids out exploring in the mountains during summer. Sometimes it can be a little tricky to find a hike that everyone can enjoy, isn’t too crowded, and is somewhat close to home. Today, I’m sharing five of our favorite hikes that are in the greater Salt Lake area. Give them a try and let us know what you think. I’d love to hear about your favorite family hikes, too!
Cecret Lake – Little Cottonwood Canyon
This hike can get a little crowded (mostly just the parking area) during peak wildflower season, but I had to include it on my list because it is the hike my kids ask for the most! This hike is rated as easy and is a 1.7 mile out and back trail near Alta Ski Resort. This hike is known for its beautiful wild flowers that usually bloom in late July. The colors really are stunning! We also had our family pictures taken here a few years ago and they are some of my favorite because the flowers are just so pretty.
The reason that my kids look forward to this hike so much is because there are salamanders at the lake. We brought butterfly nets from the dollar store and had so much fun catching and releasing salamanders. This kept them entertained for a long time and they are looking forward to catching a few again this summer.
Silver Lake – Big Cottonwood Canyon
I’m not sure if this really counts as a hike so much as a mountain walk, but that is what makes it great for all ages and abilities. The Silver Lake loop trail is a 0.8 mile loop at the Brighton Ski Resort. This hike can get busy around lunch time, but there is plenty of parking and I haven’t had an issue with it being too crowded.
This trail is great for so many reasons! This trail is stroller friendly and part of the loop is a boardwalk rather than dirt. There are benches and docks occasionally situated along the loop which is great for tired kids or to sit back and enjoy the scenery. Non-motorized watercraft are allowed on the lake and it is stocked with fish if you want to try fishing. There are also several picnic tables, a small visitor’s center, and a small store in the area.
I enjoy joy visiting this area during the summer and fall months because the scenery is so pretty. It is also another popular spot for pictures because it is so accessible.
Lake Mary – Big Cottonwood Canyon
This hike is a two mile out and back trail and is rated as moderate. My three kids were able to complete this hike with occasional rest stops. It is located in Brighton Ski Resort and the trailhead is just across the parking lot from Silver Lake. Lake Mary is a beautiful mountain lake and is the first of three lakes on the trail. If you feel like extending your hike, you can also make your way to Lake Catherine and Lake Martha; however, I haven’t make it that far with kids. Maybe this summer.
This is a nice lake to pack a picnic for and enjoy your lunch while appreciating the scenery. There are not any designated picnic areas, but there was plenty of room for us to eat our lunch on the shore and rocks.
Wild Rose Trail – North Salt Lake
This is an easy two mile loop located in North Salt Lake near Eaglewood Golf Course and is dog friendly. My kids and 11 year old dog are able to enjoy this hike without any issues. This is more of an urban hike as compared to a mountain hike, so please keep that in mind; however, there are still areas that are quite lush. The trail has occasional shade and there are several benches along the trail if you need a rest. There is a lookout point with a bench that faces west and would have beautiful sunset views.
We hiked this trail earlier this week and there were still some beautiful wild flowers, although it looked like we missed peak season. My kids really liked this hike because the trailhead is located in Wild Rose Park, which means there is a playground, picnic tables, and a covered pavilion. I think that we will bring a lunch or snacks to enjoy at the playground after finishing the hike the next time that we visit.
Adam’s Canyon Lower Falls – Layton
Adam’s Canyon is a fairly well-known hike off of Highway 89 in Davis County, but I think that most people don’t realize that there are actually two different waterfalls to hike to. Hiking to the upper waterfall may be too difficult (and long – 5.2 miles) for many kids, but the lower waterfall is much more accessible. The hike is about 1.5 miles round trip. Be sure to bring your sunscreen since there isn’t much shade on the hike.
The trail to both waterfalls is the same in the beginning and starts by walking up 10 switchbacks – this is the hardest part of the hike. After the 10th switchback, the trail splits. Take the trail to the right (the one after the bench) and continue on a fairly flat trail. There is an area right before you reach the falls where you have to climb down some rocks, so younger kids will need a little help. Once you reach the falls, there is a small shore area to enjoy lunch or a snack and you can wade into the water.
This hike was not crowded at all! Our family had the trail for the lower falls and the waterfall area to ourselves.