City Creek Canyon on a Snow Day

Natalie and I took her snow-loving dog up City Creek Canyon Trail downtown. The powder got pretty deep and the day was absolutely gorgeous. My camera phone failed on me hard, so we sat down a few weeks later to talk about her work for Salt Lake City’s homeless teenagers. It’s a real eye-opener. Health should not be just for those who can afford it.

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I met Natalie at Gym Jones during the morning sessions last summer. As two people who have struggled with mental illness, and seem to each have a calling to help people, we clicked right away. We continued our friendship after the training sessions had ended and have long talks about the system and the gaping disparity between social classes over coffee as often as we can..

We talk about the people who fall through the cracks and the need to educate the public about these issues. We talk about the wilderness and backpacking adventures we’d like to take. And we talk about boys and clothes sometimes, too.

Natalie works for Volunteers of America, Utah chapter, and is an intake coordinator at a homeless youth shelter. She is on the front lines when it comes to the effort to keep kids off the street. She hopes one day to run a wilderness therapy program that will provide special healing trips for at risk youth.

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What’s Good About the Trail?

City Creek Canyon trail is nestled just up behind the Capitol building, downtown. It is a little natural respite from the city. There is a small parking lot and bathrooms at the trailhead, which is nice. But, I can see that parking lot filling up very fast during peak hours, so keep that in mind

After you pass through the entrance gate, there is a paved path to begin on. As you walk along, there are entrances to dirt trails that run up along the side of the road. This is a nice option so people who want a flat, paved surface can use the road and people who would like a little more climbing and natural ground can use the trails.

There are shady spots and stretches of exposed road/trail as well, as you weave through brambles and trees and into open canyon areas. This is the same whether you are on the road or the trail. Every so often, there are picnic tables off to the side of the road and there are more bathrooms a few miles in.

This is a very easy way to get lost from the city for a few hours, take your dog for a walk, or go eat a picnic lunch. There is a creek that runs down the length of the trail and wildlife is surprisingly abundant (though, not on the winter day we went.) The trail hits a water treatment plant at the three mile mark, then goes on for a bit more. It’s approximately 6 miles total, but most people turn around at the plant.

This is a pretty fall hike, a great evening stroll, and a fun trek through the snow. The paved road is very easy and the trails are fairly easy. It’s not so much fun in the middle of July in the afternoon, however. The heat is intense and the bugs are real. Stick to morning and sunset during the height of summer. It is also a great choice for disabled individuals, wheelchairs, and other assistive devices.


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The City Creek Trail Vibe

  • Accessible to everyone of all abilities and fitness levels.

  • Located downtown.

  • Parking lot, plus picnic tables and bathrooms along the trail.

  • Lots of wildlife.

  • Dog friendly.

  • Trees, sweeping views of the canyon, bubbling creek along the whole trail.

  • Best in the morning or evening during the summer.

  • Simple out and back.


Check out the video below to see what the trail looks like after a good snow, and stick around for our chat about Salt Lake City’s homeless problem and how you can help some of the at-risk youth that are on the streets.