Explore Salt Lake on Two Wheels: Best Cycling Routes and Safety Tips

Salt Lake County boasts a diverse geography that makes it a prime destination for cyclists. From scenic river trails and rolling hills to lush forests, the county offers a variety of landscapes that cater to different cycling preferences.

This blog will guide you through the six best cycling routes in the area. We’ll break down what makes each route special, how challenging it is, how far you’ll be riding, and essential safety tips for a smooth and safe ride. So, gear up and get ready to discover the best cycling experiences Salt Lake has to offer.

Cycling Community

Salt Lake is home to a vibrant cycling community, with numerous clubs and organizations that foster a welcoming and supportive environment for cyclists. The local cycling scene is bolstered by events such as the annual Salt Lake Criterium and regular group rides organized by clubs like Bonneville Cycling Club and Bad Ass Cycling.

These groups offer resources, workshops, and social events that help cyclists of all ages and skill levels improve their riding techniques and stay informed about cycling safety. Additionally, bike shops and repair stations scattered throughout the county provide essential services, making it easy for cyclists to maintain their bikes and access necessary gear.

Best Cycling Routes in Salt Lake

The Alpine Loop

The Alpine Loop winds its way up American Fork Canyon, traversing the Wasatch Range and culminating at the summit with panoramic vistas of Mount Timpanogos. This route offers a challenging climb for road cyclists, with switchbacks and steep inclines that demand strong legs and endurance. It’s rewarding and a must-try for experienced cyclists.

Difficulty Level: Moderate to Difficult (depending on your fitness level)

Distance: 20 miles

Corner Canyon Trail System

Corner Canyon is the go-to riding area in South Salt Lake with a good mix of trails for all skill levels, from beginner training trails in Little Valley to advanced downhill runs like Rush Downhill and Anne’s Trail. This trail system offers over 100 miles of singletrack for mountain biking.

Difficulty Level: Easy to Difficult

Distance: varies

Wasatch Crest Trail

The Wasatch Crest Tail is a very popular and well-traveled trail that runs along the high ridge between Big Cottonwood Canyon and Park City and then descends via Mill Creek Canyon. With multiple access points, the trail provides a good dose of moderate climbing and multiple loop options. The trail can be shuttled from Olympus Hills Shopping Center by Big Rack Shuttle.

Difficulty Level: Moderate to Difficult

Distance: 18-20 miles

Jordan River Parkway Trail

This scenic trail weaves in and out of urban areas, parks, and marshy areas as it follows the Jordan River, traveling from the northwestern border of Utah Lake north through Salt Lake City. Along the way, the trail offers nearly two dozen trailheads, most of which have restrooms and water fountains. There are also picnic areas and playgrounds, making this trail ideal for a leisurely ride or a family outing.

Difficulty Level: Easy

Distance: 45 miles (total length, with sections ideal for shorter rides)

Parley’s Trail

Parley’s Trail is a walking and biking trail connecting the Bonneville Shoreline Trail to the Provo-Jordan River Parkway. This urban trail connects several parks and neighborhoods, offering a mix of nature and city. It’s a convenient route for cyclists who want to explore different parts of Salt Lake City.

Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate

Distance: 8 miles

Mill Creek Pipeline Trail

The Mill Creek Pipeline is a mountain biking favorite due to its beautiful views, easy accessibility, and long riding season. Its southern exposure helps it stay dry early in spring and late into the fall, and it’s even rideable in parts of the winter. While some sections are flat and suitable for beginners, the trail has some climbs and can be challenging for those new to cycling.

Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate

Distance: 7.5 miles (one-way)

Safety Tips for Cyclists

Cycling in Salt Lake can be a rewarding experience, but safety should always be a top priority. Here are some essential tips to ensure your rides are both enjoyable and safe:

Wear Proper Gear

Always wear a helmet to protect your head in case of an accident. Opt for reflective clothing and accessories to increase visibility, especially during early morning or evening rides. Don’t forget gloves, eye protection, and suitable footwear to enhance your comfort and safety.

Stay Visible

Ensure your bike is equipped with front and rear lights, particularly if you plan to ride at dawn, dusk, or at night. Reflective tape and brightly colored clothing can make you more visible to motorists and other cyclists.

Follow Traffic Rules

Obey all traffic signals, signs, and lane markings. Ride in the direction of traffic and use hand signals to indicate your intentions to turn or stop. Being predictable helps motorists anticipate your actions and reduces the risk of accidents.

Stay Alert

Keep an eye out for potential hazards such as potholes, gravel, and wet leaves. Be aware of your surroundings and watch for cars, pedestrians, and other cyclists. Avoid using headphones, which can distract you from your environment.

Plan Your Route

Familiarize yourself with the route before you head out, especially if it’s your first time on a particular trail. Share your plans with someone else, including your expected return time in case of an emergency.

Hydration and Nutrition

Carry enough water to stay hydrated throughout your ride, particularly on longer routes. Pack light snacks and energy bars to maintain your energy levels, especially if you’re planning an extended ride.

Bike Maintenance

Regularly check your bike to ensure it’s in good working condition. Inspect the brakes, tires, and gears before each ride, or take it to top-notch bike shops in Salt Lake County like Hyland Cyclery and Bingham Cyclery. Regular maintenance can prevent mechanical failure and reduce the risk of accidents.

Final Thoughts

From scenic riverside paths to challenging climbs, Salt Lake caters to cyclists of all levels. With a supportive community and plenty of routes to explore, you’re sure to find your perfect ride.

Remember, safety is paramount, so always gear up, stay visible, and follow the rules of the road. Let’s keep the conversation going – share your favorite routes and tips in the comments, and happy cycling!

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