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The Top 5 Beginner Backpacking Trips Near Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City's immediate access to the backcountry is unbeatable.

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

The Wasatch Mountains provide all adventurers in Salt Lake City with immediate access to hundreds of trails leading to amazing destinations. With such close proximity to the city, it's to be expected that the trailheads might be a bit packed on the weekends, but the vast majority of hikers in the Wasatch Range return to their cars before the sun goes down. That’s good news for those of you who love to backpack or want to give it your first try. These backpacking trips are perfect introductions, whether you’re looking to dip your toe in the backcountry with a short hike in or dive right in for a bit of a challenge.

1. Camp at Willow Lake

Photo: Lindsay Daniels

Need to introduce your reluctant friend to backpacking? Willow lake is the spot. With just a one-mile hike, a beautiful alpine lake, and good chance at spotting wildlife, your friend will be instantly sold on this whole backpacking thing. Learn more.

2. Backpack to Lake Catherine and Bag Sunset Peak

Photo: Lindsay Daniels

After waking in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains, take the day to explore the area. There are several gorgeous lake hikes in close proximity, all providing huge rewards: Lake Catherine, Lake Mary, and Lake Martha. Then, continue on for a great day hike to Sunset Peak, and at only 2 miles, it's the perfect length for a beginner. Learn more.

3. Backpack to Silver Lake

Photo: Michael Johnston

The drive up American Fork Canyon to the trailhead to Silver Lake is almost as beautiful as the trip itself. The lake is not only the ideal backdrop for your campsite, it’s also friendly to any backpacking anglers out there. If you’re up for it, bring you fishing gear! Learn more.

4. Backpack to Red Pine Lake

Photo: Sam Watson

Red Pine Lake is for beginner backpackers who are ready to dive right into some decent distance and elevation. Don’t worry, you won’t even remember the effort it took to get there once you arrive and take in the incredible views of the lake and surrounding peaks. Learn more.

5. Backpack to Rudy’s Flat

Photo: Jordan Smith

With beautiful sweeping mountain views and the convenience of established backcountry fire pits, the trip to Rudy’s Flat is rugged yet convenient. Another slightly longer hike 7 miles round trip and 2,160 ft elevation gain, this trip is good for a beginner who’s up for for challenge. Learn more.

Get more information on these trails and others around Utah at Utah.com.

Cover photo: Lindsay Daniels

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