THE GREAT OUTDOORS — Getting from point A to point B can be kind of tricky, especially if you’re looking to go for a long walk, run or bike ride and you want to avoid traffic or traffic lights. Good thing our state is home to many paved bike paths that help make that possible.
There is one caveat, however. While all of these paths offer the convenience of travel, some are a bit more desirable than others. Truth be told, there are some trails that aren't maintained very well, making for a bumpy and even litter-surrounded ride as you cautiously move your way through a less than ideal part of town.
But, there are many paved biking/running trails across our state that offer a smooth ride surrounded by pristine landscape on all sides as you make your way toward stunning views.
Here are six of the most scenic:
1. Park City Paved Trail System
If you’re looking for a family-friendly path that stretches all the way from Deer Valley to Summit Park, the Basin Recreation in Park City has created just that and more.
This series of paved trails will take you past parks, through mural painted underpasses, and even a historic "shoe tree" that has been showcasing shoes since the 1970s. And while the path itself is like no other, the surrounding landscape of Park City makes this a destination path all year-round.
There are several trail accesses throughout with parking at Gorgoza, Jeremy Ranch Elementary School, The Fieldhouse, Willow Creek Park, Matt Knoop Park, The Farm Trailhead, Highland Drive, Quinn's Junction and Deer Valley.
2. Pa'rus Trail at Zion National Park
Zion National Park is a sight to behold. In fact, the National Geographic named it No. 5 on its top 10 list of Most Visited National Parks. But, it isn’t just hiking, canyoneering, bouldering, rock climbing and exploring that can help you get a pristine view of the area. The Pa’rus Trail offers visitors and locals alike the chance to go for a leisurely bike ride, walk or jog while surrounded by one-of-a-kind landscape.
The trail follows the Virgin River through lower Zion Canyon, all the way north from the park entrance. To access the south end of the path, go to the north end of the parking lot outside of the park’s tollbooth entrance. Keep in mind that you will need to pay a park entrance fee, as it is a requirement for all visitors.
For more information on the entire path, go to Utah.com.
3. Red Canyon Bicycle Path
Pic of the Day: A must-do path, Utah's paved Red Canyon Bicycle Trail (a national recreation trail) travels more than 8 miles through scenic red canyons, towering cliffs and scattered pine forest in an area referred to a "Little Bryce," after the national park Bryce Canyon. #RedCanyonBicycleTrail #RedCanyon #RedCanyonTrail #BicycleTrail #BikeTrail #RailTrail #railtrails #railstotrails #UtahTrails #BikeUtah #BryceCanyon #bike #biking #bikes
Another one of the state’s national parks has added a trail system to accommodate visitors who would like to enjoy the park a little less ruggedly. Not only that, but bikers can now enjoy Red Canyon's scenery while heading to visit Bryce Canyon National Park without worrying about traffic on the highway.
This newly created path extends 8 miles from Thunder Mountain Trailhead on S.R. 12 (Dixie National Forest) to Coyote Hollow Road, but can also be used as a connector with the Thunder Mountain Trail, making a loop of approximately 15 miles.
Bryce Canyon City and the Natural History Association in Bryce Canyon are hosting a family-friendly bike ride on Aug. 26 to give locals and visitors a chance to experience the road between Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon — one of the most scenic in the world.
4. Moab Canyon Paved Path
Speaking of the color red, Moab is also a place filled with miles of natural red rock that millions of visitors flock to each year. And while mountain bikers and ATV riders frequent the area, it has become home to a 15-mile paved path for all to enjoy.
The Moab Canyon Paved Path links bikers from Moab to Arches National Park, also connecting road bikers to wide, designated bike lanes along state Route 313.
In an interview with KSL in 2014, Kimberly Schappert, executive director of the Moab Trails Alliance said that this is a great place for seasoned mountain bikers to bring their little ones to teach them how to ride before entering more rugged terrain.
5. Jordan River Parkway
If you live in Utah or Salt Lake counties, you have likely heard of the Jordan River Parkway, or “JRP,” as it is often referred as. This path extends 45 miles paralleling the Jordan River as it flows north from Utah Lake to the Great Salt Lake, bringing with it miles of continuous trail and a spectacular variety of wildlife.
Murray resident and local race director Jared Eborn knows firsthand how awesome this path is.
“I love living right next to the Jordan River Parkway,” he said. “While not a terribly challenging trail, the wildlife is sometimes well worth the effort to ride. I've seen pelicans, beaver, fox, deer and all sorts of other wildlife right in the heart of the Salt Lake Valley. It's a trail I can enjoy with my kids and my wife, and it's accessible pretty much every day of the year.
"I live in Murray and I truly appreciate the effort Murray City takes in maintaining their section of the parkway. It's clean, it's smooth and has enough trees to keep it shaded during the hottest days of the year.”
6. Murdock Canal Trail
The Murdock Canal was created in the 1950s in an effort to bring water from Provo Canyon down to farms throughout the valley. Now the water runs through a pipe that the Murdock Canal Trail sits on.
The path extends for 17 miles from near the Orem City Cemetery all the way to the Adobe building in Lehi. If you choose to make your way down the entire path, you will have woven through seven Utah County cities including Orem, Lindon, Pleasant Grove, Highland, Alpine, American Fork and Lehi. And with seven different trailheads found in Orem, Lindon, Pleasant Grove, Highland and Lehi, you can choose your starting point from the location nearest you.
What is your favorite paved bike path in Utah? Let us know in the comments!