I know this type of post isn’t that valuable for the bulk of my many readers (I think we are up to like 10 of you now. ha ha.) But I often have neighbors or others ask me about trails, so I finally typed it up for an easy-to-share resource.
This list is by no means complete, but its a good starter. I’ll update this over time and add some pictures. Bookmark it if you want to use it as a reference.
Stroller and Bike Friendly:
These routes are just over Three miles but you can always turn around sooner to make it shorter:
Botanical Gardens to Dino Park: Paved and goes uphill with a headwind (you’re walking towards the canyon) until you turn around.
Park at the Botanical Gardens and head toward the mountains! The trail follows the Ogden river and has many shady parts. It passes the gardens (a great spot to loiter at afterwards for a reward), then you go under a road-bridge and come out at Big Dee Sports Park where the trail loops around. Stay straight. If you go right, its lovely and takes you through the exercise stops, but its not worth it with kids. You’ll cross the road where its marked and then walk on the outside fence of Dinosaur park and be able to see plenty of dinos. Keep going past Timbermine Restaurant and a small farm and then stop at the Dino Park Gate (across from Rainbow Gardens) and turn around. This trail has lots of little rewards and mountain views.
(You can also park at the gardens and head west under the little tunnel. The trail eventually connects to the trails below. You’ll pass through the fairgrounds, Lorin Farr Park, and lots of other interesting/sketchy locations. Kinda fun, but makes me a little nervous sometimes.)
Fishermans Trailhead: Unpaved and mildly hill and dale.
Get there from Adams Avenue (turn left right after the toll) or from Lower Uintah if you don’t want to pay a dollar. There are generally a few cars parked at the gate, but the trailhead isn’t super obvious. The trail follows the Weber river and has some shade and some exposure. There is a lot of noise from I-84, but you’ll still see a lot of birds, and other wildlife. There are gorgeous river views. We generally turn around at the wooden bridge, where it connects to the route below and you can actually go for miles. Once you cross the bridge, its paved. This trail gets used a lot in winter too.
Riverdale North or South: Paved and mildly hill and dale.
Park in the lot just past the Riverdale City Offices (behind Super Walmart). There is a fun little Balance Bike course that kids love to play on, too.
South: This route follows the river and passes through a frisbee golf course. There is a variety of views on this section of the trail. It is mostly exposed. We generally turn around at the wooden bridge.
North: This route has some odd crossings, but also has a lot of shade, and fun wooden bridges through swampy areas. From the parking lot, go right on the trail and cross the bridge by the city offices. Pass the bizarre tree stumps carved into penguins?/dolphins? and you’ll have the river on the right and the car dealership on the left. You’ll pass a mobile home park and go under Riverdale Road (look for Mud Swallow homes in spring!) The trail does get better. Once you go through the gate, you’ll see exercise stations and start hitting the wooden bridges and other nice scenes. This route sounds super weird but it is surprisingly nice the further you go. We generally turn around at the little tunnel.
These are shorter but you can do a few laps:
South Ogden Nature Park Trail: Paved, little shade, hilly (not great for little legs on bikes). One mile loop, so we do three laps.
Park at the playground just past the Ogden Athletic Club. You can take the loop either way. We generally start going right so that we END on a downhill. Going right you’ll see jets going in and out of the base, then go uphill facing the mountains. In the shady spot on the southeast corner there is a manhole that is painted like an avocado half (a great spot for little ones to do the Sesame Street Guacamole dance). The center of the loop has a little stream that feeds into the swamp (lets call it a riparian habitat to make it sound classier). There are several plum trees around the trail that are delicious in the autumn. For adventurers, there are dirt trails along the rim of this trail. Plan to play at the park/splashpad after (splashpad opens at 10am June 1 – Sept 1)
Lake Street to the pipe waterfall: Unpaved and flat except one hill, shaded by the mountain early in the morning but otherwise exposed. Roughly 2 miles.
Park at the very top of Lake Street, or 26th Street. Head north on the main trail. The mountains loom to your right, with valley views to the left. Eventually there is a small steep drop that goes right back up. At the end/top you can stand on the boulders and look at the pipe waterfall at the mouth of Ogden Canyon.
Beus Pond: Paved loop with dirt trails on the mountainside. Super short. Lots of shade.
Great for Sunday afternoons and winter boredom. Ducks, geese… We have even seen Osprey, Wild Turkeys, Sage Grouse and other fascinating fowl. DONT FEED THEM BREAD! If you want to feed them, take seeds from the pet store. The dirt trails on the mountain side are fun for exploring. There are little docks to overlook the pond. On the West side there are spots where you can take off your shoes and get into a stream that feeds the pond.
21st Street Pond: Paved, some shade, very flat. About a mile.
Truth be told, the trail itself is alright, but the homeless population that sometimes camp here can make it feel a little sketchy. There is a decent trail that circles the pond and has some offshoots that go into very pretty areas.
Hiking with Kids:
There are plenty more options than this. Any trail is a ‘kid’ trail if you let them choose the pace and distance!
Beus Trail:(Not to be confused with Beus Pond. Totally different trailheads about a mile apart.) Moderately steep with lots of shade. Distance: As long as your kids want it to be. Well trafficked but never crowded.
The trail is nicely wooded and joins the creek with excellent views and spots for kids to play in the water (if you’re willing to let them). On a motivated day, we turn around at a wooden bridge (perhaps 1.5 miles up?) Often, though, we turn around after they have drenched and exhausted themselves in the stream. When I’m smart, I don’t let them do this until we are on our way back!
I also love this trail in the winter and it’s often tramped down enough you don’t need snowshoes.
Adams Canyon Lower Falls: Moderately steep but fairly short (2ish miles round trip.) Shade only at the waterfall unless you go early. The parking lot gets CROWDED but everyone is hiking to the upper falls. We rarely ever see anyone on the lower falls trail.
The trail itself isn’t the most enticing, but the shortness and the destination make this my kids’ favorite trail. You gain elevation fast on sandy switchbacks. Just after the switchbacks the main trail continues on to an arduous hike and gorgeous waterfall. Do that without kids sometime. Instead, at the top of the switchbacks, take a right at the lone bench. The trail gets more beautiful as it winds around the mountain and drops down. Keep a close eye on your kids as there are steep drop offs and rocky scrambles at this part. Your first time there, it will be a bit confusing where you drop down to the waterfall. (Pro tip: Stay to the left). The final part where you actually climb down to the waterfall IS TOTALLY DOABLE for my 3 and 5 year olds, but I’m always carrying my 1 year old and would recommend two adults be there for the first time. Bring a small towel to dry off little feet. Plan to take off your shoes (or wear hiking sandals) and play in the refreshing/freezing cold water. Its gorgeous!! There are nice valley views on the way back.
Gibbs Loop: A couple of miles, pretty shady, not very steep. You can park at Mount Ogden Park (which has nice playgrounds) or the Gibbs Loop Trailhead (if you don’t want to get your kids distracted before you even start).
This trail doesn’t have any extraordinary features but its a good length for kids and is a nice trail. Just like all of the trails on the East Bench, there are lots of trail crossings that can get you ‘lost’ if you don’t look for signs. Of course, because so many trails cross over each other, you can always find your way back and/or create your own ‘loop’.
27th Street Trailhead/29th Street Trailhead: There are several great hikes (i.e. Waterfall Canyon) that start at these trailheads that are great to do without kids, or with super ambitious kids or babes that are exclusively in carriers. Some are steep, some are hill and dale. We often create our own routes using the networks of trails that zigzag around here. If we are lucky we find the “pond” up on the mountainside where a spring comes out and there are rocks lining the area before it streams down.
NOT Green Pond Trail: This is off Trappers Loop on your way to Snowbasin. The Green Pond parking lot is on the opposite side of the road as the trail and I’ll update this when I’ve actually done that side with kids to see how they do. But the trail on the same side as the parking lot is great for kids, I just don’t know what its called. When it first splits, you can go right and it will get to a more exposed trail. If you go left, the trail winds through aspens, meadows, and pines. You’ll see wildlife (moose!) and birds and have a lot of shade and wildflowers in summer. It pops out on the old Snowbasin Road where you can continue on and connect to Wheeler Canyon. We turn around by then. Its all uphill on the way back, so make sure you gauge your kids’ energy level properly. This trail is gorgeous for many seasons but I might often pass it up for trails that are uphill first and downhill last.
Discovery Trail/Parcourse Fitness Circuit: The trailheads are east of Weber State. No shade. A couple of miles – hill and dale.
We often do these trails in Autumn, as they get pretty hot in summer. They’re very accessible and because the trails criss cross all over the mountain, you can make this shorter or longer. There are nice valley views. The trails themselves are mostly scrub oak and grasses, but there is still something appealing about it. Watch for snakes, but don’t worry. You’ll be totally fine.
Birdsong: Less than half shade, about two miles, some steep sections but not bad.
Park at Rainbow Gardens and the trailhead is in the back right corner. At first its wooded and then you cut across the side of the mountain with a fairly steep slope so watch little ones there. The overlook is dry and exposed but still fun. The trail then winds around and gets back to shade and in spring there is some water there. The final climb gets you to the most spectacular CHURCH PARKING LOT! Seriously, the least thrilling destination, so I always turn us around right before you see the church and just pretend it isn’t there. Its a popular hike simply because its so short.
Bonneville Shoreline Trail by Rainbow Gardens: No shade, hill and dale, distance flexible. The trailhead is right at the mouth of the canyon.
Of course there are bajillion of sections of the BST to hike or run and this one isn’t the most memorable. But its nice. It has a different feel than a lot of the Ogden trails (especially the ones nearby) as its not wooded and is mostly dry grasses and open views. Watch for snakes, but you’ll be just fine.
Wheeler Creek: Some shade, hill and dale, a few miles.
This is in Huntsville so its a bit more of a drive. But its really a great trail for kids to explore and there is a fun spot where the river goes under a bridge and the kids can play in the water.
Coldwater Canyon: Shaded, moderately steep, a few miles.
The trailhead is up Ogden Canyon right by the Smokey The Bear sign. Its a gorgeously wooded trail with streams and pines. Because of the steep sections, Its not one where I let my kids get out of my sight. There are two trails from this trailhead so watch signs. This is one is classic Utah beauty.
Moose Loop Trail at Snowbasin: Shady, a couple of miles. Hill and dale.
Honestly, its been a couple of years since we did this one. But I remember 18 month old Georgia sprinting through this trail and loving it. And Snowbasin is stunning in fall, and a bit cooler than ogden in the summer, so its a nice getaway. They also have the playground near the base lodge, which is a great spot for a picnic.