There are some great outdoor hikes and activities directly in Ogden, Utah that offer quite a bit of family fun. In particular, these include the Riverview Walkway Trail, the Ogden Botanical Garden and Dinosaur Park. Due to the fact that these are all within direct walking distance of one another, it is easy to enjoy all of these attractions in a single morning or afternoon. My suggestions would be to park in the parking lot for the Ogden Botanical Gardens (there is always plenty of parking and it is free).
This is accessible by heading south off of 12th Street onto Monroe for a couple blocks. From there, one can walk through the gardens and enjoy the many flower species and varieties that are on display and fastidiously attended to. I would also suggest strolling through the various tree varieties as well.
These are labeled with genus species and common name information. This is a great place to teach children about horticulture and for them to learn firsthand about the many indigenous tree and flower varieties in the area. The Ogden Botanical Garden is easy to explore and opens up the Riverview Walking Trail which is a biking, running or walking trail that is a double lane asphalt path. Dogs are welcome on the trail and the trail runs alongside the Ogden River. Therefore, dogs have a source of water and one can enjoy the pleasant sounds of running water.
The trail is largely shaded and is open to the public at no cost. As you reach the east side of the trail there is an elaborate outdoor play area for kids with swings, climbing bars, slides etc. There is also covered picnic and outdoor bbq areas. If one continues east along Park Blvd (an easy short walk from the playground) you will reach the George Eccles Dinosaur Park which offers life sized prehistoric giant displays and is great fun and education for kids. This is an incredible offering in Ogden with over 100 dinosaur sculptures on display. Many are robotic and brought to life with state of the art sound. For more information on park I suggest visiting: http://www.dinosaurpark.org/.
The most avid mountaineer or hiker would appreciate the miles of first class hiking and mountain biking terrain afforded by the Ogden Trails Network. This network is composed of over 35 miles of extremely well maintained hiking and mountain biking trails. The incredible trails are generally lightly populated and very easily accessible from various trailheads just a few minutes from downtown Ogden. They offer cool shade in the summer and one of a kind breath taking views as one gains in elevation.
The accessibility of this network is really quite remarkable. The trail network is accessible through a series of well marked trailheads that run north to south along the eastern periphery of the city. In particular, one of my favorites it Malan’s Peak which is a phenomenal hike that provides a good uphill exercise and plenty of vistas and viewing locations to survey expansive views of the city and the western reaches beyond. There is no shortage of awe inspiring viewing locations and the hike is a reasonable one for hikers of all skill levels. The hike is also easy to find as the trail is well marked with trailhead markers and signage and is well visible despite moderate growth along the sides of the trail in some areas.
The first time I did Malan’s peak I was not quite prepared for the length of the uphill climb. While was a fairly easy grade in most places it does feel interminable during the last couple of miles of the uphill. The length of the hike depending on your starting location can be around 8-10 miles. I would classify the hike as a morning or afternoon hike and would encourage one to bring snacks and to bring plenty of water (at least 60 ounces) and to don sturdy hiking shoes. For those not prepared for this length of a hike, there are no shortage of stopping points and one can cut the hike short, take in the views and backtrack. The hike begins in a deciduous environment, mostly scrub oaks and shrubs. As one continues the climb and ascends to higher elevations the environment turns coniferous, with towering evergreen trees and the fragrant scent of pine. One will follow the trail that continues on to Taylors Canyon and turn right at the well-marked sign that crosses a short 8 foot wooden bridge.
What is especially nice about the hike up until this point is that you are accompanied by a stream that lightly cools the shaded trail and provides the soothing sounds of running water. This stream is fed by a cave spring up above. You will at one-point traverse almost directly on top of it and this is a great stopping point for views. In particular, this is a spot where one can drop in below the trail to refill water bottles. The water is renowned for its purity and gushes from the cave spring all year long (although I hear does sometime freeze in the coldest times of the winter). I have consumed water from the spring many times and have found it always to be very refreshing and have never had an issue with stomach upset. Moreover, given the purity (I am assuming the waters source is the snow melt from Ogden Canyon up above) I have never once had to filter the water or purify it in any way. Given the high mineral content, it is always very flavorful. As an aside, I have come across individuals with handcarts and large water containers that make the hike to this point simply to “harvest” the water. When speaking to some of these individuals they claim that the water has certain unique properties that make it a desirable spring water. While I cannot comment on that, I do appreciate the stopping point on the way up (as well as again on the way down) to fill up on water for the miles ahead.
In terms of the history of Malan’s Peak as well as Malan’s Basin beyond, this used to be the location of a hotel in the early 1900’s. Apparently, the hotel burned down but one can still see evidence of the structure including the old boiler where the hotel once stood.
I would suggest that hikers make their way to the summit as this is truly a phenomenal hike and the views from the peak are panoramic. Depending on when you begin your hike be prepared for a stunning sunset to the west over Antelope Island and the Great Salt Lake. The hike is dog friendly, has great visibility, and is generally always lightly populated. Spring and Fall are the best times to conduct this hike but I have made the summit in the hottest parts of the June or July and have still enjoyed it. I would recommend bringing a flash light if you begin the hike in the afternoon and also pack bug spray as there are mosquitos at the higher elevation although they are not overwhelming. One other caveat is to keep an eye of for rattlesnakes. While they are not aggressive and will not go out of their way to strike, you are in their natural habitat, therefore, a curious off leash dog could be a target for a rattler in a defensive posture. Please note, it is unlawful to harm the snakes. I would ask that you keep your dog on leash and just keep an eye out for the snakes. You will see them with regularity and I generally spot rattlesnakes about once every other time I perform this hike – so the odds you will see one is about 50-50. Having said that, they are not aggressive and provide ample warning if they feel they are threatened.
I have includes some images from my last visit summer of 2016. This is truly a great day hike in Utah and a hike that will leave you with a sense of accomplishment having made good use of your morning or afternoon.
If you have not yet been to Moab, Utah, I would strongly urge you to put it on the top of your list for a visit. There is a great deal to see and do in Moab, Utah, including the biking, hiking, climbing, rafting and off road adventure.
First, I would strongly caution against visiting in the summer months given the extreme heat. The best time of the year to make the trip is in the Spring or Fall. Given the profusion of activities I would suggest allocating at least a few days for your trip. However, if you are making it a short visit the activity I would recommend that one put on the top of their list is a side by side tour. These may be rented from the various outfits in Moab and will run a few hundred dollars for the day and these tours are self-guided. Most trails are very well marked so a self-guided tour should not pose an issue and most outfits will both recommend trails as well as drop the side by side off for you directly at the trailhead. While I am not generally much for motorized sport, I do think that the 4 wheel drive Razr’s can be a great way to cover substantial ground and therefore see more of the amazing landscape.
There is also technical skill involved in navigating up and through the various rock formations. One of my favorites is Poison Spider which will provide a good mix of challenging climbs as well as breathtaking scenery.
This trail will require the better portion of the day and will get you some elevation as you make the snakelike climb to the top of the plateau. Keep an eye out for white stripes painted on the rock that will guide you along the trail. I would also suggest bringing plenty of water and snacks and a can of tire repair or Fix-It-Flat in the event that you catch a sharp rock and have a puncture.
One of my favorite summertime activities in Utah is mountain biking. There is certainly no shortage of trails in and around Salt Lake City. While I am also open to riding trails and single track or conducting uphill climbs to improve conditioning, I often suggest to riders to experience the downhill with the bike haul at the many ski resorts that offer this feature.
Snowbird offers the bike haul on the tram. Snowbasin offers the chairlift bike haul and lessons for $25 every Saturday. For a $30 day pass, you can head up to Park City, Utah and can ride the Crescent Chairlift which will take you and your bike to the top of the mountain.
There are then a series of downhill trails to enjoy from there. Jenny’s Trail and Loose Moose are always great fun and these trails allow you to really accelerate and focus on your downhill riding skills. I have taken these trails at 35 or 40 miles per hour and have never experienced a safety issue. However, always be on the watch of uphill rides and hikers and be sure to yield to this uphill traffic.
The Park City downhill can be a fast paced experience. However, there are many riders that prefer to enjoy or more relaxed speed. This is also good option for riders as the views from the trail are scenic and there are various lookout spots with majestic views that stretch for many miles. In some parts, the trail does narrow and you will fly by the trunks of Aspen trees within less than a foot. Therefore, have fun but make safety your number one concern. I advise riders to maintain a comfortable speed and to always stay in control of their bikes.
If you feel yourself losing control, slow down and take a more leisurely pace. Also, always be sure to wear protective gear. This starts with a good helmet as well as gloves. I also recommend knee pads and a long sleeve tee. There are many sporting goods shops in an around Park City, Utah that offer a full range of gear at reasonable prices.
Wheeler Canyon, Utah is great spot within short distance of Ogden. This is the location of the Wheeler Canyon Trail. In order to reach Wheeler Canyon one must make the drive up 12th Street to where it converts to Ogden Canyon road. There is about a 20 minute drive up the canyon. The hike begins at the periphery of the damn on the west side of Pineview Reservoir. It is a popular hike with a reasonable amount of traffic both from mountain bikers and hikers.
Despite the initial traffic, this does thin out somewhat as you make you way your way u the hike. The hike starts out as more of a dirt road than trail that runs up a canyon and has a river running along the side. There is moderate shade on either side but in most segments the road is exposed to the sun. Therefore, I would not recommend this hike necessarily in the extreme heat of summer.
This is also a great early morning or late afternoon hike. The preliminary segment of this hike is reasonably straight and runs for about a mile and a half where it breaks off into a separate trail for Icebox Canyon. This is the more scenic stretch of the trail and it is heavily shaded.
While the dirt road for Wheeler Canyon continues on, the Icebox Canyon Trail, drops off from the road. You will have no trouble finding the access to Icebox Canyon trail as it is marked with signage and after a short switchback will lead you across a wooden bridge.
I highly recommend discovering and enjoying this hike. The stream that runs along its edge is great watering source for any pets. It is also very quiet save the sound of the running water and the songs of the birds. The temperature is always cool in Icebox Canyon and it is a gentle grade.
This is always a scenic and relaxing hike. I recommend this hike for hikers of all ages.
This hike is also especially memorable in the fall with the rich abundance of fall colors with all the Aspen and Cottonwood trees.
There are a series of scenic short hike along the Ogden Trail Network in Ogden, Utah for the less experienced hiker. These are all easily accessible from downtown Ogden. There is always plenty of free parking at the trailheads and most trails are lightly populated. In particular, one can choose various spot to jump on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.
This segment of the trail runs north to south and is typically a very easy segment of the trail network. In the spring they are also a great spot to go birdwatching and the area has been a frequented destination for bird enthusiasts. However, my suggestion is to explore the trails that run east into the various canyons such as Taylors Canyon and Waterfall Canyon.
One of my favorites is the Indian trail which runs along the canyon slope well above Ogden Canyon Road. There is also the waterfall hike which leads to an impressive 100 ft waterfall which cold mountain snow melt that cascades off of the granite spire at the top of the hike. You will be pleasantly surprised by the size of the waterfall and the incredible views.
In the last couple of years, they have also built a zip line that runs above the waterfall. While the zipline is a short one, I have been told it is a fun time for kids and adults alike. As mentioned elsewhere in my blog, be on the lookout for wildlife including deer, porcupine, skunk, and rattlesnake. These creatures are all non-aggressive and will generally turn tail at the sign of humans.
Even the rattlesnakes have no interest in humans but have been known to lunge at dogs if they feel threatened. Please be respectful of all wildlife and be sure to clean up after yourselves. There are miles of fantastic trails ready for discovery for those willing to get outside and explore them.