When you want to escape the “jar of streets” or the busy city streets without going to the strenuous mountain trails, there are numerous community paths that have been built to provide important health benefits and recreational opportunities.
Tanya Boyer, publisher of Rocky Mountain Running & Triathlon Magazine and race director for The Pink Series, shares five top community trails.
#1 – McLeod Creek Trail, Park City
For many people the words “Park City” and “trail” conjure images of those rugged Wasatch Mountain biking or ski trails that fame the city. However, the Park City trail system has miles and miles of flat, paved and packed dirt trails perfect for both beginner and veteran runners. The scenic McLeod Creek Trail parallels the east side of Hwy 224, and includes bridges, the creek, and open country. It also accesses the Farm Trail, which takes you past the famous Park City barn. Further north on the McLeod trail, the pavement turns to soft surface trails of the Basin Recreation District. The entire length of McLeod is mostly flat, with a few gradual climbs and descents. This trail my just be my number one favorite trail in the state; it’s such a beautiful run where you can soak in inspiration and let your mind run free, literally. Ladies can register for the Pink Half Marathon (www.thepinkseries.com), and run an organized race on the amazing Park City trail system.
#2 -Heritage Trail, Lindon
When first constructed, this lesser known path was called the Timp Lake Trail, but was later changed to the Lindon Heritage Trail to identify its location. The Heritage Trail is a hidden gem in central Utah County that runs from Dry Canyon on the east (with amazing views of Utah Lake) down to 800 West, and includes an underpass for safe crossing under State Street. Eventually the 10-foot wide paved trail will extend all the way to Utah Lake, further connecting neighborhoods to parks, schools, and other city locations. Going eastbound, the Heritage Trail is a noticeable climb, but still doable for the recreational runner and family outings. You will share the trail with horses, but they are not a problem. Runners can also access the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, the Jordan River Parkway, and the Great Western Trail from the Heritage Trail.
#3 – Snow Canyon Loop Trail, St. George
Down south St. George has an extensive system of beautiful trails that includes the Virgin River Trail, the Santa Clara River Trail, and Sand Hollow Wash among others. While those are all must-run paved paths, I think everyone must experience a run through the spectacular Snow Canyon. I doubt a single person who has run Snow Canyon would disagree. Red rock country is truly breathtaking! Bathrooms and picnic tables are readily available along the paved double-track trail. There are a few steep spots, but nothing that should scare you away. If you want to run long, the complete 18 mile loop awaits, however, you can hop on at several points for any length of outing.
#4 – Lagoon Trail, Farmington
This 2.5 mile section of the larger Farmington Creek trail runs from the Davis County Fairgrounds on the west to Farmington Pond on the east, and includes access to the Lagoon amusement park campground. This is an easy, paved trail through tall trees so there is lots of shade to help keep you cool on a hot summer day. You’ll cross four bridges, see wildlife like elk and buffalo, have use of picnic tables, and enjoy the other sights and sounds of the Lagoon nature trail.
#5 – Alta Canyon Park Trail, Sandy
Alta Canyon Park is located next to the popular Alta Canyon Sports Center. The jogging path is only ½ mile around the baseball fields, but it’s perfect for a Saturday morning family outing. Let your spouse and kids play tennis, volleyball, or on the playground while you run. Then join them at one of the many picnic tables for an early lunch, followed by a family swim. I love this little path because it’s away from city traffic, but long enough that multiple times around the loop aren’t too painful. Park trails like Alta Canyon Trail are also good for short speed work sessions to add a little variety to your running.
Tanya Boyer is the publisher of Rocky Mountain Running & Triathlon Magazine and race director for The Pink Series. Her main job, however, is that of mommy to three young children and wife to the most patient man in the world. Running and triathlon are her way of staying young and mobile.
Rocky Mountain Running & Triathlon Magazine is an information source for runners and triathletes in the Mountain States. Visit www.rockymtnrunning.com to learn more.