I hope everyone’s summer is wrapping up nicely. It has gone by so fast and I’m a tad bit (ok, a lot a bit) sentimental because I’m trying to soak up every last day before I head back to work since having Declan. We’ve had 3 full weeks jam packed with family visits and exploring which has been incredible and heartwarming. The summer season has been wonderful because its hot enough to sweat but the mountains still have snow caps. Utah really is a complete package when it comes to weather.
We took advantage of this weather and headed up to Big Cottonwood Canyon to get some hiking in. Two hikes which I’ve been dying to do since we moved out here and it couldn’t have been the better opportunity while family was out here to head up to the mountains.
Talk about a trail with character! Donut falls is incredibly charming. It is perfect for young kids, has plenty of places to pull off and eat a snack or play in the snow melt and even better, smells like Christmas! It has the perfect amount of shade and sun exposure. I will say it is a highly trafficked trail and there were a lot of people when we went (granted, it was independence day weekend maybe played a factor into that). We didn’t go into the donut because the water was pretty intense still from the long winter we had this year in Utah. Definitely on our list to go back again during the fall! Make sure to wear good hiking boots as some parts of the terrain we crossed were rocky, covered with tree roots, and water near the falls. The water is freezing and there was a point that we couldn’t avoid getting our feet wet to get where we wanted to be on the trail. When you head back there is a fork to return the way you came or to continue a straight exit, I suggest taking the straight ahead path. It was untouched, more calm, and we didn’t see anyone else on the trail.
Lake Mary – Brighton Lakes Trail
Also located a few miles up from Donut Falls are the Bright Lakes that can be accessed through the Brighton Ski Resort parking lot. There are signs to direct you but Google Maps took us to a drive way. If you happen to do these lakes, park in the ski resort lot and then look for the pavilion sign. So, there are 3 lakes that are on the same trail, the first and closest one to the resort is Lake Mary which is doable with children in the summer. I’m not sure what the winter season would look like for a kiddo. The trail starts off pretty steep so don’t over exert yourself, but levels out eventually. Once you get on the last stretch before the lake you encounter crossing over slick rocks and running water. I felt confident with my hiking boots, but really wished I had a hiking stick too! We saw a couple people slip and fall that weren’t wearing good boots or stable on their feet. The lake was so peaceful and breathtaking. I think we took easily 100 pictures but none of them do it justice. I’d assume continuing the trail would bring you to the remainder of the Lakes Lake Cathrine is 7 miles out. We didn’t do this because we had little ones on our backs! And also…Florida lungs still, ha! One thing we forgot on this hike was secured containers for our food… which we realized when these adorable chipmunks were stealing our snacks while we were taking pictures.
I hope you get the opportunity to visit these two popular trails up in Big Cottonwood Canyon! They’re incredible and perfect family friendly hikes and right now the weather is perfect!
The trails have been alive and busy with this beautiful weather Utah’s been having. After weeks of rain for the first weeks of summer and later part of spring, everyone is now out exploring.
Suspension Bridge Trail is in Draper, Utah which is about 15-20 minutes from the city, depending on time of day and traffic. There are a handful of access points to this trail and we chose the Orson Smith Park Trail Head to get to the bridge. This trail is a 2.3 RT loop, which is my favorite, with a 439 foot elevation change. That is information I found on my All Trails App. I’m glad this is the way we chose to start because the entrance of the trailhead has restrooms, water fountains, covered picnic tables and a rock area for children to play at. The restrooms were incredibly clean and smelled great! Totally unexpected plus!
This trail has switchbacks left and right and going up is a significant incline, there’s a creek if you wanted to stop and soak up some shade. Otherwise, the trail doesn’t offer much shade. On the way up you’ll get decent views of the city but what you won’t be able to take your eyes off is the mansions in the valley as you go up. Once you get to the suspension bridge you’ll have a view of Bear Canyon and a watershed run off. Depending on the season, it may or may not be roaring. For us, the water was high and made for a relaxing view. We hung out on the bridge for a short bit before continuing, because it was just so hot!
My very best advice for this trail is to complete it clockwise! If you go counter clockwise, you’ll hit serious, steep switchbacks, which may exhaust kiddos or you if you’re carrying one. There were tons of kids on this trail and it’s super family friendly.
Have you downloaded the All Trails App? We just purchased a yearly subscription, which gives us access to saving our favorite hikes, different types of maps like weather overlay, trailhead markers, and so much more. The yearly subscription is only $30. For as much as we’ve been using it lately, I’d say it was worth it.
The Living Room Trail
Attempt 2 was a success Memorial Day Weekend!
If you’re ever visiting Salt Lake and Google “Salt Lake Hikes” it is very likely that this one will pop up. This trail is very common and the view is definitely worth it. The Living Room Hike will turn out to be a bit challenging if you aren’t from the area or used to Utah’s thin air. Our Florida lungs are still adjusting to the elevation change in general, let alone the dramatic change on this one.
The trail is highly trafficked especially in the early spring because everyone is just itching to get outside after the snow has melted. Everything is green and blooming it is truly beautiful. It isn’t marked and there are a lot of makeshift or cut throughs that people have created to get to the top. Make sure you have the All Trails App to see the actual GPS trail. You can certainly follow the crowds because there are several ways to get to the top.
Make sure to bring your hiking books and some snacks because there are a ton of rocks and steep inclinations. Snacks to enjoy the view at the top! The elevation change alone on this hike is 967 feet in less than 3 miles. This puts you 6,005 feet above sea level. That just gives me chills. Once you get to the top and pop a squat on the “rock couches” (seems like an oxymoron) you’ll want to enjoy your snacks while taking in the view. The reason this hike is called “The Living Room” is because the rocks at the top are arranged in ways that portray couches and love seats, essentially a living room and your t.v. is the City of Salt Lake.
I loved this trail because you literally could see everything in the city and all the major mountain ranges. There were a lot of people and dogs (on and off leash) and people of all ages.
To recap, don’t forget the following:
- hiking boots and or spikes if it is winter seasons
- snacks and water
- All Trails App to stay on track