Hike Ensign Peak

Utah Ensign Peak Trailhead

Added by Seth Whelden

  • Amazing views of downtown Salt Lake City, the Great Salt Lake, the Wasatch Mountains, and the Ochre Mountains.
  • Very easy and quick hike, 1 mile roundtrip with a 350 foot elevation gain.
  • Watch Evening Primrose bloom after sunset in spring.

This hike is a piece of cake with a sizable reward. It starts just up the hill behind the Capitol Building and ascends 350 feet over about 0.4 miles to the top on a very well marked trail. It's great for a family with young ones or maybe a quick post-dinner evening date. Parking is all along a residential street and though it could prove tricky to find a spot on a really busy weekend day, it's free!

The views are pretty spectacular for most of the short hike, though the top is where the big pay off lies. With the Wasatch Mountains to the east, the Great Salt Lake to the west, and the city sprawled out below, there aren't many better places to really get a sense of how SLC fits into the landscape.

After settling in, enjoying the view, and maybe reading some of the signage at the top, take some time to look around below you. We saw two Gopher Snakes, patches of wildflowers, and shortly after sunset, noticed a patch of Evening Primrose blooming under the almost full moon (late May).

No matter the season, the sunset will be glorious here. For us the sun was setting perfectly in the center of Antelope Island, though in the fall it will be behind the Ochre Mountains.

If you have a little more time, come earlier in the afternoon and hike all around the Ensign Peak Open Space. This leads to higher elevations and different vantage points, but depending on the time of year, the sunset may still be better (less obstructed) from Ensign Peak itself.

It can be busy so weekdays are definitely the time to do it if you want to avoid crowds.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Camera
  • Headlamp (if planning to hike back in the dark)
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Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn



Family Friendly

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about 1 month ago

Definitely not an amazing hike, but great views!

I don't know that I'd ever hike it again, but at least we did it once!

about 1 month ago

3 months ago

Better At Night

Take a camera with good exposure control and shutter speed. Night time pictures can be epic! Especially on cloudy nights. Always be prepared for wind.

3 months ago

3 months ago

Awesome view !

The hike is easy and the view on the lakesmall and the city is fantastic especially at sunrise

3 months ago

4 months ago

Good Little Hike

The hike wasn't very long at all, you can do it in a half hour, pretty view at the top of Salt Lake City, would be nice to watch the sunset up there. Very popular hike.

4 months ago

5 months ago

Short and Simple

Ensign peak isn't incredible, but for how short and easy this hike is, the view is great. This is a great family hike, or a great hike if you're time is limited. The trailhead is 5 minutes from downtown. The entire trail is exposed, so make sure you plan for the heat if you're going mid day in the summer.

5 months ago

7 months ago


If only we had time for an evening viewing.

7 months ago

about 1 year ago

Epic views...and epic pizza close by

This is definitely one of the best views of the Salt Lake Valley and a super easy hike. Find food after is super easy too...head straight down capitol hill on State Street to the Pie Hole. Pizza by the slice and a cool, casual vibe. About ten minute drive from the trailhead. You'll pass by a bunch of other good spots on State if you're not feeling pizza.

about 1 year ago

about 1 year ago

Excellent spot for an Autumn Sunrise

Straightforward and easy hike. Lots of scenic shots of the front range, especially around sunrise.

about 1 year ago

Added by Seth Whelden

Director of Photography.


 Born on the small island of Nantucket 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, it was always easy for me to appreciate the beauty of this world. Moving to Portland 7 years ago has only enhanced my desire to capture the stunning scenery around me, and driven me to go further in search of the perfect shot.


 By day I'm a freelance director of photography working out of Portland as my home base. I also co-own a stock footage company (The Stacks) with my wife Kelly.


 My mission is to bring my passion for light, color, tone, depth and framing to the brands that define Portland, Oregon, the Pacific Northwest, and beyond.


 Visit my website: sethwhelden.com

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