Whether it’s hiking, riding, climbing or floating - Ogden’s mountains are brimming with opportunity for a new adventure.
Ogden’s roads point to National Forest lands, this mountain town rests at the feet of craggy foothills, and the trail network is easily accessible from almost anywhere. Our town is sandwiched between the Wasatch Mountain Range and the shorelines of Great Salt Lake, where the scenery changes from lively city life to a natural playground in a matter of minutes. Even though there are plenty more, here are eight of the best things to do in and near Ogden’s mountains.
The mountains that give Ogden’s incredible backdrop are a chain of peaks that rise to more than 8,000 feet of elevation. Two summits really rise above them all, Willard Peak and Ben Lomond at well over 9,000 feet tall. One epic trail follows the entire ridge-line and climbs to the top of the Northern Wasatch. This is the Skyline Trail. Great for hiking and mountain biking once the snow has mostly melted, the trail extends north and south from North Ogden Divide, and both directions feature a set of steep switchbacks before gaining the rolling, high-altitude ridge-line and commanding views over both sides of the range — Salt Lake Valley to the west and Ogden Valley to the east.
Just outside of town, mountain snowmelt feeds a 200-foot cascade in the aptly named Waterfall Canyon. Beginning from trailheads at the top of 27th Street or 29th Street, a family-friendly trail leads to the falls. The path features brilliant spring wildflowers and views over Ogden on the gradual ascent into the canyon. Once inside the tight gorge, the trail steepens but soon rewards you with the huge waterfall at the end.
Bonneville Shoreline Trail runs the length of the Salt Lake Valley at the foot of the mountains. The section over Ogden grants great views over the city and the lake. Rolling terrain, proximity to town, and plenty of trailheads to choose from make this the perfect choice for hiking, biking, and trail running to start or finish the day. Junctions with other trails around Mount Ogden Park and up shorter canyons such as Taylor Canyon or Jump-Off Canyon give options for longer adventures.
Most trails around Ogden are open to mountain bikes, but Ogden Canyon has some of the best. Begin at Wheeler Creek Trailhead on the wide trail that gently ascends the canyon, then choose your adventure once the canyon forks at Art Nord Trailhead. From here, single track trails travel through open meadows, deep forests, over creeks, and around alpine ponds to connect more amazing riding at Snowbasin Resort to the south or Ogden Canyon Overlook and Sardine Peak to the north. Find a list of trails at Trails Foundation Northern Utah.
Ogden is central to tons of climbing on the wild and varied rock of the Wasatch, and some of the best crags are located right next to town. The sport climbing at 9th Street is the most easily accessible. The wall rises right over town, making for awesome views. A variety of difficulties cater to all abilities and south-facing aspect makes it suitable most of the year.
Ogden-area ski resorts are known for their abundance of “The Greatest Snow on Earth” during the winter, but summer brings miles of trails through wildflower meadows, aspen groves, and pine forests leading to stunning mountaintop views. Snowbasin’s Needles Gondola is running every weekend with lunch service on the patio at Needles Lodge. Mini golf is also up and running on weekends at the base area.
After a morning spent on the trails, you may be ready for a place to cool off for the afternoon. Pineview and Causey Reservoirs are two of Ogden’s favorites, heralded by locals for paddleboarding, kayaking, boating, or simply lounging at the beach. Rentals are available near both reservoirs, making it easy for you to get the gear that gets you on the water for the day. Both reservoirs are roughly half an hour from downtown Ogden, so be sure to pack your swimsuit for this trip.
Finally, end your day with a walk around town to enjoy some of the city's public art. A few pieces function as landmarks, like the Ogden Arch, which can be found where the Ogden River flows under Washington Boulevard. Others are hidden gems for you to discover, like the Ogden Intermodal Transportation Center (where you catch the train and most buses), which houses bronze installations on the train platform, a suspended indoor sculpture, and a beautiful metalwork installation on the exterior of a reclaimed train car. Take advantage of the First Friday Art Stroll each month, which features extended hours at most galleries and special exhibits inside many of Historic 25th Street’s shops and restaurants. In the summer, the First Friday Art Stroll is an excellent way to engage with Ogden's art scene. Check with galleries and restaurants for programming and participation.
Originally written by Jesse Weber for RootsRated in partnership with Utah Office of Tourism. Subsequently edited by Visit Ogden.
Remember if you recreate, donate. If you use these wild places be sure to donate $1 for every mile of trail used or every hour in the wild to the Weber Sustainability Fund. Whether a traveler or a local, there is always ways to give back and assist those organizations that help take care of these amazing places.