From class II-V whitewater kayaking on the Ogden River in the spring to the massive walls and crags above town where Jeff Lowe developed mixed climbing, Ogden has a reputation for extreme outdoor sports.
Situated on the eastern shores of the Great Salt Lake, at the confluence of two rivers, and at the base of the rugged Wasatch Mountains, the Ogden area beckons the grittiest of summer outdoor adventurers and adrenaline junkies.
However, there are plenty of ways to turn the dial down a bit and give families with children of all ages memorable and safe outdoor experiences in Ogden.
Take a stroll or pedal along the Centennial Trail that more or less circumnavigates the cities of Ogden and Riverdale along the banks of the Ogden and Weber Rivers. Starting at the disc golf course in Riverdale, this paved pathway is accessible from dozens of points and passes two kayak parks, historic Fort Buenaventura, the Ogden High Adventure Park, the GOAL Fitness Trail, and Ogden’s George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park before terminating at the mouth of Ogden Canyon.
If the hikers and bikers in your clan are ready to level-up and explore the hundreds of miles of singletrack trails in the area, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail is considered “moderately challenging” by most trail guides and is easily accessible at multiple points along its length. Locally referred to simply as the BST, the trail consists of the Mt. Ogden section that runs south from Ogden Canyon (SR-39), and the BST North section that runs north from the Ogden Canyon to North Ogden Divide road. It provides a mostly level grade for much of its 14.5-mile length and great views of the city below.
A short drive up Ogden Canyon to the Wheeler Creek Trailhead just below Pineview Dam puts you in the heart of the Wasatch Mountains for a mostly shady out-and-back, moderately challenging hike. Definitely try to make it as far as the fork leading to The Icebox and enjoy its cool stream and lush surroundings. Take plenty of water to stay hydrated and apply the sunscreen liberally as the Sun’s intensity increases as you climb in elevation. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/wheeler-creek-trail
If you want a dose of higher elevation with your high adventure, head to Powder Mountain and explore the Brim Trail. Even though you’ll be at around 9,000 feet, the full loop has very little elevation gain and meanders through alpine meadows full of wildflowers and in and out of groves of quaking aspen and pine. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/brim-trail
Two stunning mountain reservoirs lie just to the east of Ogden: Pineview and Causey. Both are perfect for swimming, kayaking, canoeing or paddle boarding, though you’ll share the water with motorized watercraft at Pineview. Families will want to check out Cemetery Point Marina in Huntsville which has the best sandy beaches, picnic areas, restrooms, drinking water, and boat ramp. Find all of the latest information on parking, hours, fees, regulations, etc. here.
Just up the South Fork of the Ogden River, Causey Reservoir is a paddler’s paradise. Explore any of the reservoir’s three arms, with the middle arm stretching the deepest into the forest. Life jackets must be worn at all times when paddling on Causey. Pay attention to designated parking areas.
Detours, operated out of First Lift Coffee at Compass Rose Lodge in Huntsville, offers paddleboard, kayak, and canoe rentals for either reservoir. It’s also a great spot to grab a milkshake before or after your paddling adventure and rent cruiser bikes to explore Huntsville or the Pineview Loop Pathway. For more information and rates, click here.
When you’re ready to move from flat water to moving water, pop into the Weber State Outdoor Recreation building on the campus of WSU. They can provide information and whitewater kayak and tube rentals for floating the Ogden or Weber Rivers. They even offer custom guided experiences. Check their website for pricing and information.
The Ogden area offers an abundance of camping options ranging from metro-area RV and tent camping areas to National Forest Service campgrounds in the mountains to backcountry camping. Here’s a quick rundown of options.
If you like your outdoor adventure with a dash of adrenaline, check out Club Rec’s Pineview location at the Bluff Marina at Cemetery Point for watercraft rentals ranging from wave runners to party boats to wake surfing boats. Or check out their Eden location for ATV/UTV rentals to explore the Monte Cristo mountain range.
To learn more about guided high adventures in the area including ziplining, via ferrata (aided climbing), river rafting and more, check out our rundown here.