One of our favorite activities in Utah during the summer is hiking. There are so many great summer hikes in Utah, and some of our favorite trails don’t even open up until late in the summer because of snow.
We created this list with 12 hikes in Northern Utah: one for each week of the summer. We hope this list will help you plan your summer adventures with your kids. The list is written in order because some of the trails won’t open until July, but feel free to adapt this list based on location and family situation. We offer some substitution ideas below. Happy Hiking!
Week 1: American Fork Nature Trail
This wheel-friendly trail is 1.0 mile roundtrip and is located in American Fork Canyon. It starts at a picnic area and walks along the river and into the trees. There is a bridge to start and end the hike. Once you reach the big swinging bridge (that doesn’t swing), turn around and come back the way you came. Pick up and nature trail guide for info to read at each numbered post. We love to kick off summer in this beautiful canyon. If you have extra time, check out Tibble Fork Reservoir, which is just a few more miles down the road.
Week 2: Bear Canyon Suspension Bridge
This amazing bridge makes for a great destination. Your kids will love walking across this bridge which is located in Draper along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. The trail is 2.3 miles roundtrip with a steep climb for one section, but we feel that this hike is still very family-friendly. We like hiking this one in the morning and earlier in the summer when it is cooler because there is no shade on this trail.
Week 3: Timpanogos Falls
This waterfall is found on the Mount Timpanogos trail. It begins at Aspen Grove at the beginning of the Alpine Loop near Provo Canyon. The trail has a 1.0 mile steady climb to the falls, but it is not very hard or steep. As a bonus if you go early in the summer, you can usually find snow and a second waterfall just above this falls. This trail is 2.0 miles roundtrip, but coming down is a breeze.
Week 4: Willow Heights
Willow Heights is located in Big Cottonwood Canyon and is a nice hike in summer because it is cooler. There is a climb involved in this hike, but after the first steep climb, it levels out. The trail is 2.0 miles roundtrip, and it is very green and beautiful in the summer. The lake at the end is gorgeous, and there are usually ducks and squirrels hanging around the lake, too.
Week 5: Tony Grove
Tony Grove is located in Logan Canyon. It is about 9 miles off the main road, but it’s a great spot to walk around a beautiful lake. You can also fish or enjoy a picnic lunch after your hike. The trail is 1.0 mile around the lake and it is flat and easy. We have spotted weasels and moose at the lake, and it’s always cooler than anywhere else during the summer. Last summer we wore coats at the end of June! We love to stop on our way to or from Bear Lake.
Week 6: Silver Lake/Lake Solitude
Silver Lake is one of the most beautiful hikes in northern Utah. It is mostly wheel friendly; the trail is half boardwalk, half dirt. We pushed a stroller, with only a few tricky parts. We love this fun, flat, easy nature trail. If you are ready for a little longer trail, take the side trail over to Lake Solitude. The trail around Silver Lake is 1.0 mile, the trail out and back to Lake Solitude is 3.0 miles.
Week 7: Grotto Falls
We love Grotto Falls in summer because it is a wonderful place to cool off. This beautiful waterfall is always running, and there are fun bridges to cross along the way to the falls. The trail is only 1/2 mile roundtrip, so it’s very family-friendly. You can also visit Payson Lakes, which has a beautiful trail around the lake, and the lake is great for fishing kayaking, and picnicking. (Currently Closed because of last year’s fire.)
Week 8: Cecret Lake
This hike is not a secret at all despite its name. This is the most popular trail in Little Cottonwood Canyon in the summer, and the parking lots fill up quickly. Plan on arriving early in the morning or parking and riding the shuttle over to the trailhead. We have always lucked out with a spot if we arrive early. This trail is best in July and August because there are beautiful wildflowers along the trail. It is 1.0 mile to Cecret Lake (so 2.0 miles roundtrip), and it is a steady climb to the lake. Make sure to look for salamanders in the water.
Week 9: Buffalo Peak
Buffalo Peak is the perfect first summit hike. If your kids (or you) want to feel on top of the world and accomplished for climbing a mountain, then this is the trail for you. It is a fairly easy trail, with limited shade, until the last steep climb up a short shale slide. Be careful for the last 10 minutes, but once you make it to the top there are gorgeous views of the entire valley. The trail is in located in Provo Canyon and is 1.0 mile roundtrip. We enjoy this one in the morning or evening to avoid summer heat.
Week 10: Donut Falls
Donut Falls in Big Cottonwood Canyon is a very popular trail, but we love this beautiful hike even with the crowds. The parking area fills up super quickly, so avoid weekends and go early. The trail is 1.5 miles from the trailhead and is fairly easy as it walks through the forest and meadows toward this unique waterfall. Donut Falls gets its name from the large hole that it falls into.
Week 11: Mirror Lake
Our favorite place to escape the summer heat is to visit the Mirror Lake Highway. It is high up in the Uintah Mountains and it is nice and cool in the summer. We often wear jackets on our hikes in July and August. One of our favorite spots is Mirror Lake. There is a nice, flat, easy trail around the lake, which is beautiful. You can also fish and kayak. There are hundreds of lakes on the Mirror Lake Highway, and we have visited many. Here is a Mirror Lake Highway list of the other hikes we like to do when we spend a day in the Uintahs.
Week 12: Snowbird Barrier Free Trail
Snowbird is known for its great skiing, and also its fun summer activities, but there is a short, paved trail behind the ski resort that is perfect for exploring in the summer. The trickiest part is getting through the resort and out back to the trailhead. The trail walks through beautiful green trees, and is a nice relaxing spot away from the crowds. The trail is 1.0 mile roundtrip.
Other Hike Ideas
The hikes that we shared on this list are hikes that we love in summertime, but there are many more great hikes! If you are looking for some different ideas to substitute hikes more suited for your family, check out some of these lists!