Salt Lake City

Public Lands Division

Salt Lake City Foothills Trail System Master Plan

Salt Lake City Foothills Trail System Master Plan

Foothills Natural Area – North Salt Lake to Emigration Canyon

Project Manager: Lewis Kogan

The Foothills Natural Area

The Salt Lake City Foothills Natural Area consists of approximately 6,000 acres of canyons and foothills bordering the northern and eastern limits of Salt Lake City. The Foothills are bordered by Davis County to the north, established neighborhoods to the west and south, and protected Salt Lake City watershed lands to the east and consists of open sagebrush grasslands and scrub-oak woodlands. The Foothills are bisected by City Creek Canyon, Red Butte Canyon, and bordered on the south by Emigration Canyon. Many smaller canyons and gullies also exist in the Foothills, including Dry Creek, Perry’s Hollow, and others. The Foothills Natural Area provides important habitat for a variety of birds, small mammals, and other wildlife, and many plants native to the Salt Lake Valley. Big game such as deer and elk also utilize the Foothills, and the upper slopes and ravines are important winter range for these mammals. In many ways, the Foothills ecosystem is fragile and susceptible to lasting damage. These lands also have tremendous potential to provide a refuge for the public, and an escape into the natural world only minutes from the heart of downtown SLC. In order to minimize our human footprint and ensure that this unique natural area is protected for future generations, it is imperative that recreational trails in the Foothills be carefully planned, designed, and constructed. This Foothills Trail System Plan establishes a vision for a recreational trail system that balances user needs with the needs of the Foothills environment so that the property can be enjoyed by Salt Lake City residents and visitors for decades to come.

Foothills Trail System Project Summary

The goal of the Master Plan is to create a non-motorized, world-class recreational mountain trail system at the edge of Salt Lake City. The primary objectives of the plan are: (1) to provide detailed layout, design and management recommendations for a comprehensive non-motorized recreational trail system that is safe, enjoyable, accessible, connected, and sustainable; (2) to provide information to guide strategic implementation of the trail system over a 10-year time horizon; and (3) to provide and/or incorporate key supplemental information. The public feedback gathered as part of the Foothills Trail System plan will help guide plan development, including trail construction and layout recommendations, and will influence trail development projects for the next 10 years.

The Foothills Trail System Master Plan

Foothills Trail System Phase I Construction Information

In order to establish a logical and publicly-supported implementation schedule for the proposed Foothills Trail System, the planning team developed a simple prioritization methodology to score, rank, and phase proposed trail projects. This methodology considered three basic criteria for each proposed trail: public support, land ownership, and necessity of habitat data collection. See p. 103 of the Master Plan for detailed information. Phase I trail construction has been separated into five project areas: City Creek, Morris Mountain, North Foothills, Popperton Park, and Twin Peaks. Click on the site you would like to learn more about in the map below for more project information.


Please review the documentation at the links above. The formal public input period is closed but we still welcome your comments and feedback via email. Emailed comments can be submitted here. The plan was adopted by City Council on March 3, 2020.


Alta Planning & Design


Open Space Trust

Project Schedule

  • January 2020: Plan Review by Council
  • July – October 2018: Plan Review by Internal City Departments, Land Managers and Agencies
  • Spring – Summer 2018: Plan Review by City Boards & Commissions
  • March 28 and April 2, 2018: Public Open House
  • December 2017 – January 2018: Online Mapping & Solicitation of Public Feedback
  • December 2017: Presentations to select Community Councils
  • November 2017 – January 2018: Public Outreach and City Events & Activities
  • October 2017: Stakeholder Interviews
  • August – October 2017: Existing Conditions Analysis & Review of Relevant Data & Documentation
  • June 2016 – June 2017: Trail User Pre-Project Online Survey