Lake Blanche is one of the most picturesque lakes in the Wasatch Mountains. With Sundial Peak over looking the three lakes (Blanche, Florence. & Lilian) and with the surrounding mountains creating a bowl of amazing views, it's hard to leave the trail to head back to your car. Lake Blanche is a perfect place to have a picnic, spend the day relaxing, it would be great for a quick over night backpacking trip, or if you are feeling motivated to keep going, you can hike up to the ridge or above the Sundial.
Rob's Trail in Park City, UT is a fun & easy trail that climbs a mere 1,000 ft over 2.5 miles to a beautiful overlook of The Canyons Ski Resort, Park City, and surrounding mountains. The trail works its way through evergreen forest, aspen trees, with great views along the way. This is a very popular trail, and therefore gets packed on weekends. In summer it's a popular trail with mountain bikers connecting from the Mid-Mountain Trail so be careful of bikes flying through in warm months. This trail is dog friendly as well, but the best time to hike here with your furry friend is in early in the morning to avoid the bikers.
The Bayliss Fork Trail is located in Emigration Canyon, not quite a mile past Ruth's Diner. The trail follows one of the many drainages from the ridge line that connects Mt. Wire over to Lookout Peak. Eventually the trail turns into an old jeep road, and follows the ridge to reach the top. Don't forget to look back as you hike higher in elevation - the best views are when you turn around. On the main ridge/saddle, you can see down into Red Butte Canyon Research Natural Area, and several other local peaks such as Grandview Peak.
The Miner's Trail in Emigration Canyon is a nice, quiet hike to do with your dogs. The trail leads to a great overlook of Red Butte Canyon, and along the way you'll follow the old jeep trail the miners used to access mines, now gated off. The trail is pretty exposed to the sun, so if you are looking for shade, this isn't the trail for you. The Miner's Trail follows the contour of the hillside, and passes by rocky outcroppings, crosses a stream, cuts by a meadow, and towards the end, offers the hardest part of the hike up a few hundred feet to the ridgeline. This hike is safe to do year round, but my favorite time of year is Fall.
Mt.Wire is a small mountain that overlooks the University of Utah, Emigration Canyon, and Red Butte Canyon. It is conveniently close, and can be hiked year round. Unfortunately, Mt.Wire isn't much to look at, but what this little hill lacks in prestige, it more than makes up for with steep trails, nice views of the valley, and a spacious top to stretch out and enjoy the scenery. Plus, Mt. Wire is dog friendly! Along the way, you'll pass the famous Living Room trail, which is a great spot to take your first break. There are several ways you can summit, but I've found the easiest to be this route.
Hiking Mt. Van Cott (6,351 ft) is the knoll behind, and above in the foothills of the University of Utah. It's low elevation makes is a safe and fun hike to do year-round. My favorite time to hike this trail is in late Spring and late Fall when the trail is dry. Hike here in early spring or a warm day during winter, and this trail is sure to be a mud slide. This trail is short but sweet, but short and steep, which makes for a great quick, post-work hike. There are several routes to get to Mt. Van Cott, my favorite being the SW ridge (maps below). Fun Fact: Mt. Van Cott is named after Lucy May Van Cott, the first dean of women (1907-1931) at the University of Utah.
Dude Benchmark Peak (7,212 ft) is the high point in between Salt Lake City & Bountiful, Utah. The ridge extends for miles, with City Creek Canyon below to the South and views of Thurston Peak and Ben Lomond Peak to the North. There are several routes to reach Dude Peak, but the easiest is from the North side in Bountiful, starting from a neighborhood trailhead. The hike itself is easy in that there is nothing technical or super steep. It follows the rolling hills along the ridge, with several up and downs, until it reaches the small rocky outcropping overlooking the entire East side of the Salt Lake Valley. Some sections are rocky, but lasts for a short time.
Hiking to the Ferguson Canyon Overlook is just to the south of Big Cottonwood Canyon, and is not apart of the SLC Watershed so dogs are allowed to hike here. It's a great canyon to hike, especially after work if you are short on time. The canyon is well shaded, and as you make your way to the overlook you get an amazing view of the SLC valley. Ferguson Canyon gets really busy on weekends because both hikers and rock climbers fill the canyon. Plan on hiking here either early in the morning or during the week to have a quieter hike.
The San Rafael Swell is a mecca of hiking and camping, all free thanks to BLM Land. It's a great area to explore off trail, find rock art, hike through slot canyons, and traverse over red and white slick rock. The Swell offers something for everyone, so it's great for the whole family, kids, and dogs included. The best times of year to hike here are early Spring and late Fall when the temperatures are cooler. From arches to the best views, here are the 6 Best Trails in the San Rafael Swell!
The Grotto, located in Hornet Canyon in Farmington, Utah is the local's hidden spot for cooling off in hot temperatures for both humans and dogs. This well shaded trail leads to a small, but deep pool perfect for two people sitting in to cool off on hot summer days. Prefer standing under a shower of cold water? Then stand under the overhand where 30 ft water weep drips constantly, creating a fun "shower" of fresh mountain spring water. Don't forget your swimsuit for this trail - it's quite the refreshing experience!