Hiking With Dogs Around Salt Lake City

If you’re anything like the majority of Utah you probably like to get out an enjoy everything nature has to offer around Salt Lake City. And if you’re on this site you’re probably trying to figure out where the heck your dog is able to go with you! So what’s the deal? Where can a dog swim? What the heck even IS a watershed?! We’ll get you squared away.

A golden retriever stands in a creek surrounded by lush greenery and looks up at the camera


The biggest issue to worry about when adventuring with dogs in Utah mountains is watersheds. Watersheds are the drainage areas where snow melt and uphill streams and rivers flow down to. This is where a lot of our drinking water comes from and the major concern with dogs in these areas is that the water will be contaminated with fecal matter.

Salt Lake County prohibits dogs in the following designated watersheds:

  • Bell Canyon Creek and tributaries

  • Big Cottonwood Canyon

  • Big Willow Creek and tributaries

  • City Creek Canyon (northeast of the treatment plant)

  • Deaf Smith Canyon Creek and tributaries

  • Emigration Canyon (above Burrs Fork)

  • Lambs Canyon

  • Little Cottonwood Canyon (including the town of Alta)

  • Little Willow Creek and tributaries

  • Mountain Dell Canyon

  • Parley’s Canyon

  • South Fork of Dry Creek

Areas Where Dogs are Allowed

Salt Lake County has designated the following recreation areas as dog friendly:

  • Bonneville Shoreline Trail – On leash

  • Millcreek Canyon- Off leash on odd days, on leash on even days

  • Emigration Canyon- Off leash, but beware of private property

  • City Creek Canyon (below water treatment plant)- Off leash in designated area

  • East Canyon- On Leash

  • Mt. Olympus Trail- Conflicting information…check signage

  • Ferguson Canyon Trail- On leash

  • Tanner Park- Off leash in designated area

The best local resource for those looking to explore hiking options with their dogs is Girl on a Hike. Her website offers in-depth trail guides with relevant information on whether dogs are allowed or not!

A golden retriever sits in front of a mountain canyon during the fall


Not only do watershed rules in Utah impact hiking, they definitely impact swimming. So where can you take your dog to swim in the area? Here are some solid options:

  • Willow Creek Dog Pond (fully fenced dog park)

  • Dog Lake in Millcreek Canyon

  • Tibble Fork Reservoir

  • Mirror Lake in the Uintas

  • Bear Lake

These lists are by no means exhaustive but make sure you do some research and follow all instructions posted on signage before adventuring off into the mountains!

Hiking with Dogs SLC Utah

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