Search This Blog

Monday, November 16, 2015

Mount Van Cott, Salt Lake City, Utah

One of the best things about Salt Lake City, and maybe THE best thing about it, is the cities proximity to the mountains.  In just 10 minutes, I can leave my apartment downtown and be hiking in the mountains above the city.  Salt Lake City is the perfect mix of urban and everything outdoorsy, just a hop skip and a jump away. 

This is exceptionally great when you are short on time, but still want to stretch your legs with Fido.  After being off for a few weeks after having my wisdom teeth removed, I was excited to get back outside.  I wanted to ease back into hiking, somewhere close, where the trails weren't too snowy of muddy.  If you are looking for a short hike, close to the city in the fall or winter months, then Mount Van Cott is the hike for you.

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate.   Less than 2 hours with an elevation gain of about 1450 feet.  Just under 3 miles round trip. Dog and Kid friendly! 

Parking spaces at the trailhead

Trailhead:  Follow 100 South and head east towards the University of Utah until it turns into North Campus Drive. Continue on that road and you will see the University Hospital on your right, and across the street, take a left into the Jewish Community Center.  Drive into the community center and head to the back right corner to the substation fencing.  There are a few non permitted spots here for hikers.  Avoid the permitted spots for the community center.

Trail: To the left of the parking spots, enter the trail via the chain-link entrance next to the power substation. There are doggy bags and trash cans here as well.  You will hit a dirt road and follow the dirt road until you reach a steep trail on the right that connects you to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST). Follow the trail up as you begin your ascent, and take a left when you reach the junction at the base of the mountain (right keeps you on the BST towards Red Butte).

Follow the single track up as it traverses across the mountain until you reach the next junction on the south side. Take a left and you'll walk along the ridge line (continuing straight will take you to the same spot, but an easier path with a gradual increase in elevation - look for  left just before the summit to get back on the original trail).

Views:  From the peak, you will have amazing views of  Salt Lake Valley in front of you, with the airport, Great Salt Lake, downtown area, and the University.  To your right, you will have views of Dry Creek Canyon below as you continue up the ridgeline. Before you know it, you'll have reached the summit through the exposed rock and short scrub brush, providing sweeping panoramic views that stretch into Davis County. The summit is a perfect spot to enjoy a sack lunch and catch your breath before you begin the trek back to the car.

Single track trail across the mountain

Views of the valley and the haze

Views of the valley and the haze

Views of the valley and the haze

Olive taking a break, looking over the valley 

Trail to Mount Van Cott

Olive with Dry Creek n the background

Olive looking into the valley

Admiring the view from the top! 

Mount Van Cott Trail
Mount Van Cott Trail

Mount Van Cott Trail

Mount Van Cott Trail

Coming back down the Mount Van Cott Trail

Mount Van Cott Trail

A beautiful quick hike with amazing views of the valley down below.  Days like today just make you feel so darn grateful to live in such a beautiful area, and for warm sunny days in November.

Happy Hiking!


  1. I love this hike, but I haven't done it in awhile. Need to get up there again soon! Love your pic of Olive at the top! So cute.

    1. Thanks! This is one I had NEVER heard of and I really enjoyed it! Found it when I was googling early winter hikes. :)


Let's Chat!