United States

Salt Lake City

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 central 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.

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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SLC Downtown Tour

Salt Lake City

This is our SLC "Runseeing" Tour. Within a fairly compact area of downtown, near all major hotels and the Convention Center, pass by the Mormon Temple, State Capitol, Public Library, arena, & major shopping venues.
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City Creek Canyon

Salt Lake City

A quick escape to nature right from downtown. Pleasant canyon run alongside a creek. A pretty steady uphill climb. Main paved Canyon Road is closed to cars on odd days May-Oct. Numerous additional trail running options.
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University of Utah Campus

Salt Lake City

The University of Utah has a beautiful campus with the mountains so close you can almost touch them. One can put together a nice 3-4 miles within the campus or around the perimeter. There are also great trails nearby.
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Snowbird Trail Run

Salt Lake City

Great summer trail running at this famous ski resort 45 minutes from SLC, courtesy of the Snowbird Tram and Preuvian lift. A treat is to run through the 600 foot tunnel into mineral basin.
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City Creek Canyon

Salt Lake City

A quick escape to nature right from downtown. Pleasant canyon run alongside a creek. A pretty steady uphill climb. Main paved Canyon Road is closed to cars on odd days May-Oct. Numerous additional trail running options.
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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.

 

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.