Salt Lake City’s City Creek Canyon to Partially Close to Cyclists and Walkers for 3 Years on Nov. 1, 2023


In a presentation to the Salt Lake City Bicycle Advisory Committee on October 16, Salt Lake City Public Utilities (SLCPU) confirmed that City Creek Canyon Road and all hiking trails in City Creek will be mostly closed to cyclists and walkers for 3 years starting on November 1, 2023. Construction is slated to finish in January 2027.

2 cyclists ride up City Creek Canyon in Salt Lake City. Photo by Dave Iltis
2 cyclists ride up City Creek Canyon in Salt Lake City. Photo by Dave Iltis

SLCPU said the closures are necessary because of reconstruction of the City Creek Water Treatment Plant approximately 3.5 miles up the canyon. The needed reconstruction will ensure safe drinking water supplies for the next 50 years. The project is funded by a $36.7 million Federal FEMA BRIC grant which requires that the construction be completed within a certain timespan. More information on the project is on the Keep It Pure City Creek website.

The City Creek Water Treatment Plant will be completely rebuilt and upgraded to be earthquake safe over the next 3 years starting on November 1, 2023. Photo by Dave Iltis
Mayor Mendenhall announces the changes in City Creek on October 21, 2023. Photo by Dave Iltis

The canyon will be open to cyclists and pedestrians on weekends and holidays only. The canyon will be completely closed to cars for the duration of the construction period. Cyclists may ride up the canyon as far as picnic site 16, but the canyon will be closed from there to the Rotary Glen picnic sites at the top. In the presentation that was given, the area above site 16 is needed for a staging area for construction. When asked if they could preserve a way through for cyclists and pedestrians, the response from SLCPU was, “Your comments are noted.”

City Creek Canyon will be closed for 3 years to cyclists and pedestrians aboe site 16. Photo by Dave Iltis

Hiking trails will be fully closed for 3 years above site 6, even though they will not have any vehicles on them. The Bonneville Shoreline Trail will remain open. No reason was given by Public Utilities when asked why the hiking trails need to close.

There will be no drinking water or operating restrooms in the Canyon during the construction period.

In looking through the documents posted on the Keep It Pure City Creek website, it appears as though the closures were only made public on October 10, 2023 at the Transportation Advisory Board meeting. Or, possibly as early as September 9, 2023 at the Avenues Street Fair where we first learned of the restrictions when we asked SLCPU about it.

SLCPU did state in a tweet that, “If construction scheduling allows, we will modify the restrictions in the future to increase public access.”  

A cyclist and a hiker enjoy the fall leaves for the last time for 3 years. Photo by Dave Iltis

Our Comments:

City Creek Canyon is a natural refuge for so many people on foot or bicycles in Salt Lake City. It is one of the few places cyclists can ride in the city without cars. To close this for three years with only three-weeks’ notice is really unacceptable.

We understand the need for safe passage for all during construction and of course the need for clean drinking water. What we don’t understand is why the Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilties did not take into account the popularity of the canyon with the citizens of Salt Lake City and make a more accommodating plan. There are some simple solutions that will benefit everyone and we are dismayed that Salt Lake City will not implementing them.

What we are asking for:

  1. To have the canyon open to cyclists and pedestrians above site 16 to the top of City Creek Canyon on weekends and holidays throughout the construction period. This would require opening a pathway through the construction staging area above site 16.
  2. To have the canyon partially open to pedestrians and cyclists in the early morning and later evening (up until 10 pm) before and after construction on weekdays.
  3. To completely open up the hiking trails at all times.

What you can do:

Please email Mayor Mendenhall and the City Creek team here to ask them for the above changes:

[email protected], [email protected]

You can also call the Keep it Pure City Creek Public Outreach team at 801-661-3336.

See the map below for the locations of the picnic sites. The road will be closed for 3 years above site 16, and hiking trails will be closed above site 6.

A map of Salt Lake City’s City Creek Canyon.
A cyclist descends upper City Creek. This part of the canyon will be closed to cyclists for 3 years starting November 1, 2023. Photo by Dave Iltis



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  1. Once again Utah government entities appear to cater to motorists and mostly ignore pedestrians as well as bicyclists. As I write this, the evening news is once again reporting a vehicle pedestrian interaction resulting in the death of the pedestrian.

  2. The hiking trails need to close because many of yhem can be connected to the roadway, thus allowing hikers access to the construction zone.

  3. Worth noting that the Forest service will be closing Millcreek spring through fall in both 2025 and 2026. So yet another popular hiking and biking area will be inaccessible during the same time.

  4. As Andrew said Mill creek will be closed as well. This is very problematic for seeking summertime cooler temps.

  5. D: How is closing the canyon completely to automobile traffic, but still allowing cyclist and pedestrian/hiker traffic on weekends and holidays “cater[ing] to motorists”? Just because that is typically true in Utah does not mean this is another example of that.


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