Just when you thought you’d explored every inch of trail in the Salt Lake Valley, they make new ones.
In an attempt to meet the increasing demand for outdoor recreation, Salt Lake City Parks and Public Lands a couple years ago created a 10- to 15-year plan for the 6,000-acre Foothills Natural Area that surrounds the northern and eastern limits of the city. That includes many miles of new trails, some of which were finished in the last few months or even weeks.
A reader suggested we explore one of these, so we picked the Avenues Ridgeline loop. This trail is one of the most accessible in the Upper Avenues area, but that doesn’t mean it’s ho-hum. Right now the hillsides on this hike are popping with bright yellow leafy arnica mixed with a few bouquets of purple crescent milkvetch and white California evening primrose. Whatever the season, the views of the Great Salt Lake, the Oquirrh Mountains and the city will be captivating from the top of the summit detour.
The Hike: At the trailhead, take an immediate right onto what looks like a strand trail. You’ll get warmed up right away as one of the steepest climbs of this trail is right around the first corner. It’s a .3-mile climb to the junction with the Terraces Trail, right below the water tank. Keep going straight for another .3 miles until you reach a T intersection. Go left. Be aware of mountain bikes on these parts of the trail. You’ll quickly come to another intersection. Continue straight onto the new section of trail that is hiking only that parallels the former Avenues Ridgeline trail. In .2 miles, turn right, following the trail toward the City Creek Saddle. Turn left at the first intersection you come to and go the .1 mile up the hill to the summit. After taking in the views of the Great Salt Lake, the Oquirrh Mountains and the city, return back the way you came to the Avenues Ridgeline Trail. Turn right to head northwest. After 1.2 miles, you’ll come to a meadow and intersection. Turn left onto the BST Valleyview trail. This is again mountain bike territory. After .4 miles, return to the junction under the water tank. Make a near U-turn to turn onto the trail that descends steeply by the tree. This will take you back to the trailhead.
Getting There: Start at the 18th Avenue trailhead (cross street is Hilltop) in the upper Avenues. Those with dogs may want to start at the Terraces trailhead, which has a dog pool. This shortens the route by ~.25 miles.
Region: Wasatch Canyons/Upper Avenues
Destination: Valley overlook from a summit
Distance: 2.75 miles
Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Elevation Gain: 660 feet
Dog Allowed: Yes, on leash
Biking: In parts