Tucked against the soaring Wasatch Mountains, Salt Lake City is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. While many are familiar with the area’s world-class skiing, this active metro area also offers top-notch biking opportunities. Whether you’re into road cycling, mountain biking or simply exploring a new city on two wheels, SLC serves up plenty of pedal-powered adventures.
Here’s how to make the most of a day discovering Salt Lake on a bike.
Pick Your Route
With over 200 miles of bike lanes and urban trails crisscrossing the city, the first decision is where you want to ride. For road cyclists, popular routes include the 21-mile City Creek Canyon ascent and Big Cottonwood Canyon’s thigh-burning climbs up to ski resorts like Brighton and Solitude. More casual riders can cruise the 9-mile Jordan River Parkway along a riparian greenbelt.
Rent a Bike
Once you’ve settled on where you want to ride, the next step is securing a bike. If you didn’t bring your own wheels, take advantage of Salt Lake’s bike rental outlets. Shops like Canyon Sports of Salt Lake offer a variety of bike types for rent on an hourly to weekly basis.
Make reservations in advance online and provide height/sizing details so they can ensure a properly fitted bike. No one wants to be stuck fiddling with bike adjustments or an uncomfortable fit mid-ride. Ask about add-ons like helmets, locks, racks, or child seats as well. For maximum convenience, some shops even offer bike rental delivery right to your hotel or front door.
Fuel Up Pre-Ride
You’ll want to fuel up properly before a day of Salt Lake City bike adventures. Carb load at one of downtown’s many cafes and coffee shops to give yourself energy for the miles ahead. Some top options include Eva’s Bakery, The Rose Establishment and Lazy Day Cafe. If you’ll be mountain biking, pack plenty of on-the-go snacks like energy bars, gels and banana chips as well.
You’ll also want to carry a bike water bottle and make sure you’re hydrating 24 to 48 hours pre-ride. Proper nutrition and hydration can make an enormous difference in how you feel out on the roads or trails.
Before hitting the road or trails, take time to check that your bike is properly adjusted for you, with seat height, handlebar position and shifting tuned to your preferences. Make sure the tires are inflated, brakes are functioning properly, and any panniers or gear is securely fastened. Carry a flat kit, multi-tool and supplies for minor repairs, just in case.
Navigating by Bike
The beauty of exploring Salt Lake by bike is how easy it is to get around. Many streets have clearly marked bike lanes, and drivers are largely courteous of sharing the road. When transitioning from bike lanes onto trails, pay close attention to signage so you don’t miss a turn. If you get lost, don’t be afraid to stop and ask fellow cyclists or pedestrians for directions.
Soak Up the Scenery
While pedaling around Salt Lake, be sure to stop regularly to soak up the scenery. Prime viewpoints like Memory Grove Park and Ensign Peak allow you to take in the valley’s stunning mountain panoramas and downtown skyline from your bike saddle. Snap some photos at scenic lookouts or while coasting alongside monumental spots like Temple Square and the State Capitol building.
Pedaling through Salt Lake City allows you to experience this vibrant mountain town from a fun new perspective. Whether tackling challenging climbs or breezing along bike paths, a cycling tour makes for an active, scenic adventure you won’t soon forget.