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.
- Headlamp (if planning to hike back in the dark)
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Spring, Summer, Autumn
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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.
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.
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.comFollow
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