Trib Trails: Thayne Canyon Loop provides a simple joy in Millcreek Canyon

An easy, shady hike with a lusciously green payoff right now

(Becky Jacobs | The Salt Lake Tribune) Thayne Canyon Loop in Mill Creek Canyon pictured on June 4, 2022.

If you’re looking for a quick escape to a hike filled with green trees everywhere you turn, there’s a trail waiting for you in Mill Creek Canyon called Thayne Canyon Loop.

As I walked along the path earlier this month, I kept pausing to look around and marvel at my surroundings on that warm Saturday. My husband and friend, who I was with, were probably slightly annoyed at how many times I told them, “Look how pretty this is!” If they were, I didn’t mind.

I have gone on lots of beautiful hikes in Utah, but this trip brought me simple joy because it reminded me of the lush forests from where I grew up in the Midwest.

(Becky Jacobs | The Salt Lake Tribune) Thayne Canyon Loop in Mill Creek Canyon pictured on June 4, 2022.

Near the top of the 1.6-mile loop, a group of people who we were passing cautioned us that they heard a rattlesnake up ahead. After waiting a bit to make sure the snake had moved farther in the brush, we quickly scurried by that area before resuming our leisurely hike. (And if you’re like me and want a refresher about what you should do if you run into a rattlesnake, read this helpful guide from Tribune reporter Paighten Harkins.)

At another point on the trail, we came across a small shelter made of sticks that gave me “The Blair Witch Project” vibes. We decided to keep walking.

(Becky Jacobs | The Salt Lake Tribune) A shelter of sticks in Thayne Canyon Loop in Mill Creek Canyon pictured on June 4, 2022.

We finished the hike in about an hour, and it was the perfect, quick trip we were looking for to get outside.

The hike: The hike begins on the south side of the road between Millcreek Inn and South Box Elder Picnic Area. As you start up the path, there’s a sign listing different destinations. One of them says that Thaynes Canyon is 3 miles away, but this loop is only half that long. Follow the path to the right after that sign, and you’ll make your way up a series of switchbacks that are fairly steep. Then, you follow a flat, narrow, curved dirt path along the top of the loop before turning left to head back down a wider, rocky path. I recommend downloading the map on the AllTrails app before you go. It’s not a complicated route, but I didn’t always have cell reception in that area.

As you drive out of Mill Creek Canyon after your hike, you have to pay $5. It’s card only.

Getting there: From I-215, take exit 3 and use the middle lane to turn left onto UT-171 S/Wasatch Boulevard/3300 South. Turn right on Wasatch Boulevard, and then turn left onto 3800 S/Mill Creek Canyon Road. Follow the road, and the hike will be on your right.

Region: Mill Creek Canyon

Destination: Loop

Distance: 1.6 miles

Time: 55 minutes

Elevation Gain: 436 feet

Dogs Allowed: Yes. On even-numbered days, dogs must be on a leash at all times. On odd-numbered days, dogs are allowed off-leash on trails.

Restrooms: Yes

Biking: No

Difficulty: 2

Editor’s note • This story is available to Salt Lake Tribune subscribers only. Thank you for supporting local journalism.