The Bear Canyon Suspension Bridge in Draper is a great hike all year round! There are multiple routes to get there. Parking at the Orson Smith Park is the shortest and easiest way. It’s only 2.3 miles and fairly easy. It isn’t the prettiest way though. We parked over at Hidden Valley Park and followed the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. It’s 3.3 miles if you include the little loop behind the bridge. Mountain bikers can use these trails. Dogs can use most of the trail on the way to the bridge, but there are sections that are a watershed. There is always a different way to go around if you have a dog.
From the Hidden Valley parking lot, begin at the east end and follow the trail. Soon it intersects with the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. The first sign heads north, but the suspension bridge is south, so take the second one. We saw a deer near the sign when we were there. The trail is beautiful with some morning shade. Most of the time the trail isn’t very shady though. When you come to another trail crossing, continue straight down the stairs to this little bridge.
There were lots of beautiful wildflowers along this trail.
There are city views along most of the Bonneville Shoreline trail. There is a cool rock section that leads you between rocks.
If you want to keep your hike easy, then do not do the optional loop (cannot be done with dogs). It is uphill and then back downhill. I probably wouldn’t recommend it unless you want an extra workout, like I often do. Here is the entrance and the confusing place where of to the left is the turnoff for Trail of the Eagle which is a difficult 8 more miles from that point. Instead you continue over the hill where my daughter is standing. From there you can look down in towards the mountain.
This little loop offers many views of the bridge from different angles, but it steep. At the farthest point there is a little bridge and tiny waterfall.
The trail loops around to join back with the main trail so you can cross the bridge.
Coming back we decided to tray some of the other routes. We too Ralph’s Trail down to the Aqueduct Trail. Ralph’s Trail was definitely in incline, but could easily be done either direction with toddlers if you took breaks. It isn’t all that pretty though and the Aqueduct Trail is even less attractive. It’s just a gravel road, although it does have good views of the mansions below. After about a mile we were able to join onto the Hidden Valley Trail which is super beautiful!
There were a few spots that I could see the Bonneville Shoreline Trail connecting to the Hidden Valley Trail, so if I were to do it again, I would mostly avoid the Aquaduct Trail and instead do only Bonneville Shoreline or Hidden Valley.
This trail is also beautiful in other seasons, with fall leaves or snow. You’ll want microspikes if it’s icy, which it gets in the winter.
From July 4 – 24, a large flag is hung in Little Willow Canyon next to Hidden Valley Park.
Stats: Distance – 2.3 – 3.3+ mile loop (adjustable)
Approximate hiking time – 2-3 hours
Elevation gain – 439 – 508 feet
Difficulty – Easy/Moderate
Trail – well maintained trail of dirt and rocks
Bathrooms – At Trailheads
Seasons to hike – Year Round
Permits needed – None
Pets allowed – Yes (watch signs for watershed section)
Orson Smith Park Trailhead
Hidden Valley Park Trailhead