Beyond Utah's 15 stunning ski resorts, you will find many more outdoor activities to keep your body moving. There are several hiking trails that provide the perfect winter weather outdoor escape instead of being cooped up on your off days. Plus, strengthening your legs by hiking can help you stay on the slopes longer during those big powder days.
Before you head out on a winter hike, it is a good idea to be prepared for all conditions. Pack extra snacks, water, layers and a light or headlamp should it get dark sooner than expected. Check your favorite trails website like All Trails for current trail status. On most winter hikes, it is a good idea to bring ski poles, spikes or good winter boots and snowshoes to avoid slipping up (and down) the trail.
Several of these trails feature peaks, rivers, waterfalls, and chances of spotting incredible wildlife. Check out our list of favorite Utah winter hikes that can be found in the Salt Lake City, Provo, and Ogden areas.
First up on our list of winter hikes in the beautiful Donut Falls. At just over a half-hour drive to the east of Salt Lake City, this easier trailhead is suitable for family members of all ages. It’s right around a 3.5-mile hike when starting from the Mill D parking lot.
You can also start at the Donut Falls parking area, where it’s only a 1.5-mile round trip. The trail is more of a popular summertime hike, so it’s not overly crowded during the winter. Hikers will enjoy spectacular views of the donut-shaped falls, and also the opportunity for sledding as well. We like to take a box of donuts with us up there and eat them at the falls, because well, it's called donut falls. Who could argue that logic?
Just to the south of Mill Creek Canyon, you’ll stumble upon Neff’s Canyon, which runs along the base of Mount Olympus. It’s a 6.2-mile trail (moderate/difficult) located near Salt Lake City that can be heavily trafficked during peak hours. Steep at times, the trail brings you through forested areas along with mountain and canyon views. Some hikers bring their sleds and skis to slide down on the way back. Be sure to wear your helmet.
An absolutely stunning and gorgeous hike no matter what time of year, Silver Lake is an easy loop. The trail is not overly-steep or crowded during the winter. Boots are fine earlier in the season, but when winter weather is in full swing, you’ll need your snowshoes to trek through the deep snow that you’ll encounter. It’s situated at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon, outside of Salt Lake City.
Located near Provo, Bridal Veil Falls is an easy 1.4-mile trail that features a waterfall and is suitable for hikers of all ages. This beautiful waterfall happens to be Utah’s most photographed waterfall and is located within the canyon. Visitors that are planning on hiking during the winter months should be aware that the Nun’s Park parking area is temporarily closed.
This peaceful and leisurely 5.1-mile hike that’s nearby Sandy Utah, features a small river. The Little Cottonwood Trail is especially beautiful in the winter, with all the snow resting in the trees, and a trail your kids are sure to love. You’ll also find a wide range of activities for your family to do there throughout the year.
Another short and easy hike, at just over half a mile round trip, is the AF Canyon Nature Trail. You’ll see great views of the mountains, along with signs that teach you about the animals and trees that live in the area. During the summer months, this trail is paved, making it accessible for strollers and wheelchairs. You’ll find the trail inside Timpanogos Cave National Monument.
Ensign Peak, located in the Salt Lake Valley, provides you with scenic views of the city and surrounding mountainside. This .8 mile round trip trail is considered easy, (though steep at times) and perfect for hikers of all levels. It only takes around 20 minutes to reach the top of the peak, where you’ll reach an elevation of 5,417 ft.
On the Grandeur Peak Trail, you’ll experience a 4.6-mile loop on one of the highest peaks in the Salt Lake City area. While attempting the summit during the winter, it’s a good idea to bring ski poles, spikes, and good winter boots or snowshoes. It’s moderate to most difficult throughout, yet offers wonderful views of the canyon and valleys.
If you are searching for one of the best winter hikes in Utah, we can assure you, this is one of them. Situated near Ogden, Waterfall Canyon trail is rated as a moderate to difficult 2.4-mile hike, and also featuring a 200-foot cascading waterfall. It’s a popular trail, but less traveled in winter, where the waterfall is a nearly entirely frozen sheet and sickles of ice. Be ready for serious uphill and elevated climbing to witness this beauty.
If you’re looking for a last-minute hike or one that your children will love, Buffalo Point Trail has got to be it. Located close to Syracuse Utah, in Antelope Island State Park. This 1-mile trail is rated easy, and also features a lake and surrounding views of the island.
You’ll also notice unique rock formations, rocky footing at points (less noticeable in winter) and outstanding 360-degree views. Just like the trail suggests, you might come across bison, as well as deer owls and elk.
We barely touched the surface on the great hikes that you and your family can enjoy in the state of Utah. And heading out on one after a fluffy snowfall makes the experience all the more magical.
If you’ve ventured on one of these winter trails before, we’d love to hear about your experience. What are some of your other favorite Utah hikes that you’ve been on during the winter?