Best Winter Hikes in Northern Utah

By Kathleen Clove
February 09, 2023

Remember when you looked forward to a snow day? When the white stuff piled up overnight and you awoke to a winter wonderland? You can experience that same unadulterated pleasure when you visit Utah’s mountains during the winter. “Oh, I’m not a skier,” you say. Well, you’re in luck. These best winter hikes are made for walkin’.

Gear Up

If you’re going to hike in the snow, you will need more than a beanie and gloves. Because lookin’ good won’t keep you feelin’ good. Depending on the temperature, terrain and depth of the snow, here are some items you might need.

  • Waterproof trail runners/boots: keep warmth in and moisture out; nubby soles provide traction
  • Traction slip-on: coils give shoes a little extra grip, useful on well-traveled trails
  • Microspikes: triangular spikes bite into the snow for added traction
  • Crampons: even bigger spikes to grip ice, good for steep inclines
  • Snowshoes: allow you to walk on deep snow without sinking
  • Poles: ski, snowshoe or trekking poles with snow baskets help with balance on slippery trails
  • Fig Newtons: tasty snack to help you feel better when you slip

If you’ll be hiking for a long time (two hours or more), carry a backpack with food and water. You should also have a few emergency supplies such as a space blanket and headlamp — it gets dark earlier than you expect in the mountains. 


It turns cold sooner in the mountains, too, so dress warmly. Wear layers to strip it off as you heat up, then pile back on as needed. Basic clothing for winter hikes in Utah includes:

  • Wool socks
  • Fleece leggings
  • Merino wool shirt
  • Fleece jacket
  • Windproof jacket
  • Waterproof pants or gaiters

You are now officially ready to hike on ice, ice, baby!

Davis County

Adams Canyon | Layton

Estimated time: 4 hours

Distance: 3.8 miles

Dog friendly: Yes, off leash in some areas

Even if you’ve hiked this popular Davis County trail in the summer or fall, Adams Canyon looks a whole lot different in the winter. Take the 40-foot waterfall, for instance. Waterfalls are impressive when the water is roaring, but it can be even more awe-inspiring when it’s all frozen over. As if the Snow Queen happened by and decided to stop time for a bit. After you traverse switchbacks, boardwalks and streams, you’ll discover a rock garden dripping with icicles. Magical. The trail isn’t difficult to follow, but it gets slick. Poles and spikes are recommended, especially for the descent.

Elephant Rock | Bountiful

Estimated time: 5 hours 

Distance: 7 miles round trip

Dog friendly: Yes, off leash in some areas

Spend your day outdoors hiking to Elephant Rock on a tree-lined jaunt starting at Mueller Park in Bountiful. The trail is popular with hikers year-round, so even if it’s snowy, the trail is usually well packed and you’ll only need waterproof trail shoes or boots. Stop along the way to enjoy the quietude among the frosted trees and babbling brook. If it’s too peaceful to turn back just yet, carry on to Rudy’s Flat, another 5 miles out and back. 

Salt Lake County

Lake Blanche

Time: 4-6 hours

Distance: 5.6 miles round trip

Dog friendly: No

When you’re ready to break in your snowshoes for the season, head to Lake Blanche. This popular summer hike becomes a snowy playground that’s even more beautiful when it’s covered in powder. While the trail crosses vast fields, you can easily find your way by following the many footprints (unless you get there first, of course). A partially frozen creek meanders near the trail until the final ascent, and you’ll pass several small, icy waterfalls. This trail does go through potential avalanche areas, so be sure to check on conditions before heading out.

Grandeur Peak | Millcreek

Time: 5 hours

Distance: 4.4 miles round trip

Dog friendly: Yes, on a leash

Located in Millcreek Canyon, Grandeur Peak is a relatively short, steep climb to a panoramic view of the Salt Lake valley. You’ll gain about 2,600 feet on this hike, making it a serious workout — but you’ll hardly notice if you’re paying attention to the scenery along the way. The snow is deep and can be especially soft if it hasn’t been packed down, making it popular for snowshoeing. If the snow is packed, you can opt for spikes and poles.

Utah County

Pine Hollow Trail | Provo

Time: 3-4 hours

Distance: 4.3 miles

Dog friendly: Yes, on a leash

Walk through an alpine wonderland on the Pine Hollow Trail. The loop trail goes through areas dense with aspens, and when they’re dusted with snow, it’s as if you are walking through a white cathedral. You can wear spikes for the first mile or so of the groomed trail, but then may need snowshoes to explore the meadow.

Fifth Water Hot Springs | Spanish Fork

Time: 6-7 hours (with soaking time)

Distance: 5.7 miles round trip

Dog friendly: Yes, on a leash

Hike through the snow, warm up in some hot springs, then hike back down. Like visiting James Hilton’s Shangri-La, but a lot less wordy. While the road to the Fifth Water Hot Springs trailhead is closed in winter, the trail itself is still open — you’ll just need to park in the lower parking lot, which adds another 1.2 miles to your hike. But the chance to relax and soak in a 100 degree pool makes it worth a little more leg work. Once at the trailhead, you’ll hike another 2.3 miles to the springs. There are some icy spots along the trail, so bring spikes along with your swimsuit. About a mile from the footbridge you’ll see the first of the springs on your right. Warning: Though prohibited, there may be nude bathers. Eww. Also, some bathers have reported swimmer’s itch, which (probably) has nothing to do with their clothing choice.

Weber County

Malans Peak | Ogden

Time: 4 hours

Distance: 4.5 miles round trip

Dog friendly: Yes, on a leash

Just because it’s snowy doesn’t mean you can’t still go for a run through the mountains. Put on your spikes and head for Malans Peak in Ogden. If you can make it to the summit, you’ll get a postcard perfect look at the valley far below. It is somewhat steep, so if your stamina runs out, there’s no shame in heading back early. You’ll still see plenty of spectacular views along the way. Generally, plan on hiking — or running — with spikes from November to April, especially for the slippery descent.

Ice Box Canyon | Huntsville

Time: 2 hours

Distance: 3 mile round trip

Dog friendly: Yes, off leash in some areas

Considered an easy trail, Ice Box Canyon is popular year-round for both hikers and runners. As a result, the snow is usually pretty well packed, so you may only need hiking boots or spikes. Start the scenic loop at the Art Nord Trailhead. You’ll walk alongside a stream, cross over several bridges and weave through a large meadow. With Mount Odgen for a backdrop, this is the perfect spot for taking next year’s Christmas card pic.

Safety Practices

For any winter hiking, make sure you’re prepared for the conditions. A trail that only takes two hours in summer can be twice that in snow. Plan ahead.

  • Check with the Utah Avalanche Center for current conditions. Typically, the risk of an avalanche is greater the higher the elevation. 
  • Start hikes early so you can finish while the sun is still up.
  • Pack plenty of food, water and even a hot beverage or soup — it takes more energy to walk in snow. 

And, most importantly, keep your tab open. We’ll lead you to all the best winter activities in Utah.