United States

Salt Lake City

See Also Our Guide to Running in the Provo/Orem Area.

Capital of Utah, the  young and outdoorsy Salt Lake City is a recreational mecca. To its northwest is the Great Salt Lake, and to its southeast are the Wasatch Mountains, containing several narrow glacial and stream carved canyons, and home to some of the world’s best skiing. There’s an excellent variety of running in Salt Lake City, ranging from nice parks and residential streets in the central city to some wonderful multi-use paths, and trails taking advantage of Great Salt Lake. In the mountains nearby, there are fantastic trail running opportunities.

The best places to run in Salt Lake City are around Temple Square, Liberty Park and Sugar House Park, plus some nice residential neighborhoods.  The best multi-use trail in SLC is probably the Jordan River Parkway Trail. The Parleys Creek Trail and City Creek Canyon trails start as gentler multi-use paths in the city, before getting into hillier and more rugged terrain in the foothills. There’s also some scenic (and exposed!)  running along Great Salt Lake, and Antelope Island, plus great options in the spectacular canyons and mountains nearby. See also our guide to running in the Provo/Orem area, just to the south.

Public transportation in SLC is decent and getting better. The TRAX light rail has three lines that run fairly comprehensively downtown, north to the University of Utah, to Draper, the West Valley city, and to the airport. There’s a good bus system. There are also seasonal buses and shuttles to the mountain resorts. SYSTEM MAP

Note: While Salt Lake City itself is flat, it sits at 4200 feet. You’ll feel the altitude and the sunshine. Dress and hydrate accordingly.

Our thanks to Holland Newton, Director of the Virtual Running Club, HQ in SLC, for his help with this guide. See their upcoming races.

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Some of our favorite runs in Salt Lake City

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Salt Lake City has hot, dry summers with temperatures frequently exceeding 90F (32C). Rain is rare and comes in summer thunderstorms. Even on hot days, nights cool off quite nicely. Spring and fall are delightful, with warm days and cool nights. Winters are cold but not frigid. It can snow in Salt Lake City, but not to the magnitude of the nearly 500 inches that fall in Little Cottonwood Canyon only 25 miles away. Still, when running in winter, bring the right clothing and Yak-Traks. Just outside the city toward the mountains, the climate gets different, quickly.

Salt Lake City offers a variety of hotels. Most of these hotels are located in the downtown area, east of I-80 and clustered near Temple Square and the Convention Center. There are good running routes near the downtown hotels, such as Liberty Park, Parley’s Creek Trail, and City Creek Canyon. If you’re looking for something a little more quiet, there are a few places to stay on the outskirts of town, over by City Creek Canyon.

Salt Lake Running Company – Downtown area. Group runs every Thursday October-April at 6:00pm.

Park City Running Company – Outside downtown, by Summit Park. Group runs on Sundays at 8:00am. Distances vary.

Wasatch Running Center – Southern Salt Lake City. View calendar for events.

Big 5 Sporting Goods – Downtown area/Sugarhouse.


Looking for road or trail races in this area? Find them on RaceRaves, the best online race calendar and reviews community for runners!

Find races in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City Running Calendar

Footsteps for Fertility 5K – September. Liberty Park Route.

The Rival Run – 5K. September.

Snowshoe Stomp 5K – January. Kids welcomed.

Winter Running Series – 5K, 10K, and 15K. February.

Sugar House Shamrock Shuffle – 5K. March.

Click here to view run calendar.