But because this range and its snow-catching heights provide the bulk of the area’s drinking water, dogs are prohibited from entering many of its major canyons, including Big and Little Cottonwood canyons. However, Millcreek Canyon, which sits very near the city, offers plentiful, all-season hiking for dogs and their owners. Its most popular trail system, Pipeline, features several access trails that allow for any length of hike and any level of difficulty. And though summers in Utah are usually quite hot and sunny, the worst of the heat can be escaped by hiking during the earliest or latest daylight hours.
The four main trails accessing Pipeline, from bottom to top, are Rattlesnake Gulch, Burch Hollow, Church Fork, and Elbow Fork, all on the northern side of the road. For those with the fitness and time, other trails lead upward toward the peaks above Millcreek Canyon. One such summit is that of Grandeur Peak (elevation 8,299’), reached via the upper stretches of the Church Fork Trail. Or if you prefer to stay at the elevation of the Pipeline Trail, can follow it to its far western terminus, where it overlooks Salt Lake City, below. Here you can catch the sun setting beyond the Oquirrh Mountains and the Great Salt Lake.
Because this entire network is located on a south-facing hillside, it is best explored in the early morning or late evening during summer. In addition to hikers, Pipeline attracts many runners and bikers who often make loops in conjunction with the road below. To balance the somewhat conflicting demands of mountain bikers and dog walkers, an ordinance has been created by which dogs may run off-leash on odd-numbered days; mountain bikers may ride on even-numbered days.
To access Millcreek Canyon, take 3800 South Street straight into the mountains. Vehicles are required to pay a $3 day use fee; bikers enter for free.