Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
423.00 ft (128.93 m)
Trail type
2.50 mi (4.02 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Bells Canyon Trail is a very popular Salt Lake City hike located right at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon. Thanks to the low starting elevation and the lack of major elevation gain it has become a popular hike for all ages and abilities. Not only are there great views of the Lone Peak Wilderness and the Wasatch Mountains, you'll enjoy fantastic overloooks of Salt Lake City. After only three-quarters of a mile you'll reach the "lake," which is really the lower of two reservoirs that are located in this watershed. A walk around the reservoir is the best way to enjoy Bells without adding too much time. 

Some of the highlights of this hike include the beautiful cirque above the lake, the wildlife that is commonly seen here, and the beautiful colors that come alive in autumn. Around the southern end of the loop there are large granite boulders sitting below wide views of the Wasatch Mountains and the city below, a perfect place to stop and have a snack.

A set of large waterfalls lie further up the canyon on a trail that forks off of the northeast end of the loop. A small sign indicates where you make the change, and the first waterfall is about 2.5 miles from the parking lot, but the route is much steeper than the Bell's Canyon Trail Hike featured here. Many people bring their fishing rods, but remember this is catch-and-release only area. Because the Bells Canyon drainage is a Salt Lake City water source, there is no swimming, and there are no dogs allowed.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Close to town. Short hike. Great autumn colors. Fishing.


Crowded. No dogs allowed. Occasional rattlesnakes.

Trailhead Elevation

5,236.00 ft (1,595.93 m)


Rock climbing
Big Game Watching
Big vistas

Typically multi-day



Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping


Great hike, even elderly, although some rocky places that need to go slow. Had lunch with the ducks!
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