Accessible and Kid Friendly Hiking Trail Near SLC
Things to know:
Trail Distance: 15.2 miles (several points of entry, can start or stop anywhere along the path)
Fees: None. If you start at Utah Lake State Park $4-$15 (depending if you walk in or drive in and also the season) or free if you have the Utah State Park pass https://stateparks.utah.gov/parks/utah-lake/park-fees/
Elevation gain: 839 feet
Accessible: yes (accessible parking and paved trails)
Kid-friendly: yes with caution (part is along the river)
Pet friendly: yes, but must be on a leash
Bathrooms: yes (at certain points of trail)
Time frame: Count on 4-6 hours for the full trail but can be longer or shorter if doing an out and back
This is a paved trail that runs 15.2 miles from Utah Lake State Park in Provo to Vivian Park in Provo or vice versa. There are places along the way where you can stop/park/start the trail.
It is a very popular trail and can become busy. Be mindful of others.
Leave No Trace-pack it in, pack it out. Leave it better than you found it.
Other kid-friendly hikes: https://www.sevenslopes.com/3-kid-friendly-hikes-near-me-in-utah/
Other hikes for fall colors: https://www.sevenslopes.com/fall-in-love-with-utah-canyon-hikes-to-watch-the-leaves-change/
Provo River Parkway Trail
The Provo River Parkway Trail is a beautifully paved trail with very little elevation gain, shady areas, picnic tables (in some places), and a river running alongside (a good portion of) the trail. It is a perfect setting for anyone wanting a short walk or a long run. You can make it as short or as long as you’d like with different places to access the trail along the way. This is listed as a hike on many websites but be aware that it is a paved trail that goes throughout Provo City.
This trail does go next to homes, businesses, and parks (where kids can play or you can have a picnic), and there is occasionally construction, so checking out the map before you go will help you decide which area you would like to go and which areas you would like to avoid if you aren’t looking to do the whole thing.
This can be a very busy trail with runners, wheelchairs, bikers, strollers, birders, and people just out for a stroll. Animals are allowed on the trail, but they must be on a leash. Make sure to take necessary items and clean up after them. Even though this is a very popular and busy trail, there are plenty of places for people to enjoy without all the crowds. It is common to see people sitting just off the trail next to the river, on a picnic table, on a log or boulder on the side of the trail, or even on a bench on the side.
Depending on where you start or end up, you could also go next to Bridal Veil Falls up Provo Canyon. Bridal Veil Falls is a very popular hike in Provo and is next to Vivian Park where the trail starts/ends. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/bridal-veil-falls-trail–2?u=m
It is popular for families with small kids to begin at Bridal Veil Falls to see the waterfall and then venture over to Vivian Park where the start/end of the Provo River Parkway starts. Bridal Veil Falls flows right down to a bridge that people like to sit on to watch the waterfall. It is common to see kids splashing in the lower part of the falls. This is not a watershed area so it is ok to get your feet wet. Some people do climb up the side of the falls, but beware that it is not encouraged, is quite dangerous, and there have been fatalities. There are port-a-potties and picnic tables near the parking lot and lots of shady places to sit and play. This area is very busy and sometimes parking does run out. There is a lot of extra parking around, but it will be a bit further of a walk to get to the falls. There are lots of trails right in this area, so be sure to head to Vivian Park if you are wanting to go on the Provo River Parkway Trail.
Some people also start at Utah Lake State Park and head toward the mountains. Starting at the state park does require a fee unless you have a State Park Pass. https://stateparks.utah.gov/parks/utah-lake/park-fees/ Utah Lake State Park has picnic tables as well if you want to make a day out of it. This park offers fishing, swimming, boating, paddle boarding, biking, and more. There are lots of little places to sit and enjoy the view. Camping is also offered here but does require fees. Utah Lake State Park is open year-round and is also popular in winter when the ice chunks form.
If neither of those starting points sound like the spot for you, there are several other places that you can get on or off the trail that have parking.
This can be made into a short adventure or an extended adventure with picnics, fishing, boating, birding, camping and so much more!
For those who want more than the 15.2 miles, the Provo River Parkway is also part of the Golden Spoke network, which connects more than 100 miles of paved trails from Provo to Ogden. https://www.traillink.com/trail/provo-river-parkway/#trail-detail-about
The Provo River Parkway is open year-round and is very popular throughout the whole year. It is nicely shaded most of the way so even during the hottest days of the summer, it can be busy at all times of the day.
You will most likely encounter lots of dogs (they should be leashed) but you might also see ducks, goats, birds, cats, and possibly even horses.
You’ll also probably see a lot of photographers, as it can be a very popular destination for photographers taking pictures of the landscape, high school seniors, families, bridals, and more. It’s a very picturesque trail and depending on where you are, you will see mountains in the background, canyon walls, homes, businesses, or just lots of trees and rivers. Whether you start at Vivian Park, Bridal Veil Falls, Utah Lake State Park, or somewhere else along the trail, come and spend a day taking in the beauty that this hike offers. You will see why people will spend a short time or make it an entire weekend with all there is to do!
Discover the most beloved waterfall in the state by Utah.
Looking for a day off outdoors? Check out this hike with a beautiful centered lake.