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Bells Canyon Overlook

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Bells Canyon Overlook offers impressive views of the Salt Lake Valley and Bells Canyon Reservoir. It is a great little addition to the Bells Canyon Lower Reservoir or a tiny detour on the Bells Canyon Lower Waterfall hike. Bells Canyon is also called Bell Canyon. It seems to be called both interchangeably, but since the US Forest Service calls it Bells Canyon, I am using that term.

I have hiked to the lower reservoir countless times from the different trailheads and I’ve been to the lower waterfall multiple times, but somehow I had never gone to the overlook. It only adds about 0.1 mile round trip from the reservoir or in addition on your way up higher and is worth the detour.

First I am actually going to describe it from the reservoir, since there are multiple ways to get to that point. Then I will go back and talk about the different trailheads.

Bells Canyon Lower Reservoir

Bells Canyon Reservoir is such a beautiful place! I love it in every season!

From the reservoir you want towards the top of the hill on the west side of the reservoir. If you are coming from Boulder Trailhead, you will take a sharp left to head up the hill about even with the bridge.

You’ll walk up for about 20 feet and then it evens out to a wide dirt road type trail. head north. Alternately, if you come up the Granite Trailhead, head south until you see the small trail heading up on the north side of the hill, shown in the second photo.

Here is a view from standing 30 feet up the trail looking down towards the wide road-type trail. From this view the Granite Trailhead is to the left and Boulder Trailhead comes from the right.

This trail is a bit overgrown, but there are multiple trails. I found the first opportunity to turn left here the best. You can see it’s a bit narrow, but not steep or anything.

From the top you get awesome 360° views of the Salt Lake Valley and Bells Canyon!

The southwest view

The northwest view

The eastern view

Then you’ll need to take the little path about 10 steps to the east to get around the bush and see the reservoir from above.

This viewpoint has a steep edge, so hold on to younger children. Then you just retrace your steps to get back down to the wide trail you can see in the bottom left of the photo above.

If you choose you can spend more time at the reservoir or head to the north side of the reservoir (left in the photo above) to head up to the waterfall.

Here is more detail on the two trailheads.

Boulder Trailhead

(shorter, but steeper)

The Boulders Trailhead is a parking lot on the east side of Wasatch Boulevard at 10122 South.

There are quite a few stairs at the beginning as it winds it’s way between private property. Because it’s fairly steep you gain elevation quickly and can see a nice view early on.

Soon you come to the bridge. Bells Canyon is part of the watershed that includes Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, so no pets on the trail or swimming in the lake.

As you get higher, there are even more impressive views of the valley below.

Soon you will see the boulders that gave this trailhead it’s name. It’s unfortunate that there has been a bit of graffiti over the years. My kids love to climb all over them.

As soon as you pass the boulders you can see the lake ahead.

Granite Trailhead

(Longer and less steep)

The Granite Trailhead begins just below the entrance to Little Cottonwood Canyon at 3450 E Little Cottonwood Road. This path has more switchbacks, so it gains elevation more gradually and doesn’t require all the stairs. Very soon you have views of the city.

The path then winds around through the trees. As you can see this is lovely in the fall.

From this trailhead you come out on the northwest side of the reservoir. You can head south a tiny bit and then take the little trail to the overlook or continue along the northside of the lake towards the waterfall.

Stats to Overlook from Boulders Trailhead: Distance – 1.4 miles roundtrip
Approximate hiking time – 45 to 120 minutes
Elevation gain – 492 feet
Difficulty – Moderate
Trail – well maintained trail of dirt and rocks.
Bathrooms – None
Seasons to hike – Year Round (in winter use micro-spikes)
Permits needed – None
Pets allowed – No

Stats to Overlook from Granite Trailhead: Distance – 1.6 miles roundtrip
Approximate hiking time – 45 to 120 minutes
Elevation gain – 482 feet
Difficulty – Moderate
Trail – well maintained trail of dirt and rocks.
Bathrooms – At Trailhead
Seasons to hike – Year Round (in winter use micro-spikes)
Permits needed – None
Pets allowed – No

Other trails nearby are Rocky Mouth Falls, Bear Canyon Suspension Bridge and the Temple Quarry Trail.

utahhikingbeauty

We have so much beauty in Utah to explore! I love hiking and photography and can help you find your next favorite hike! All photos were taken by me!

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