Jordan River Parkway Trail
Salt Lake City to North Salt Lake
excerpted from our book
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The Jordan River Parkway Trail is Northern Utah’s crown jewel of paved recreational trails. This multiuse trail starts at a point near the northern end of the
Jordan River on the east side of the Great Salt Lake and follows the river south for a distance of 45 miles to its inlet on the north shore of Utah Lake.
Along the way the trail crosses the boundaries of 12 Utah cities and passes through many parks, historic sites, and nature reserves. The northern end
of the Jordan River Parkway Trail also connects with the Legacy Parkway Trail (page 271), a recently constructed multiuse path that continues north along the Wasatch Front
for another 14 miles to the city of Farmington. Unfortunately the Jordan River veers west where the two trails meet and soon ends in the wetlands east
of the Great Salt Lake. Consequently, the Legacy Parkway Trail does not follow the Jordan River, but rather continues on a northerly course that closely
parallels the Legacy Highway. For that reason the Legacy Parkway is not as interesting as the Jordan River
Parkway Trail; however if you are looking for a longer bike ride you might want to make use of the Legacy Trail.
The Jordan River Parkway Trail is a work in progress, and as this book goes to press there are still two uncompleted gaps in the trail: one in Salt Lake City and
one near the city of Bluffdale. Nevertheless, the completed sections offer a number of relatively long, uninterrupted rides or walks. In this book I have
split the Jordan River Parkway Trail into six suggested bicycle rides as follows:
Salt Lake City to North Salt Lake (6.4 miles, pages 132-137)
Salt Lake City to Taylorsville (6.1 miles, pages 138-143)
Taylorsville to West Jordan (7.1 miles, pages 144-150)
West Jordan to South Jordan (6.0 miles, pages 151-155)
South Jordan to Bluffdale (5.6 miles, pages 156-160)
Bluffdale to Saratoga Springs (9.8 miles, pages 221-229)
The middle four segments are all contiguous and can be joined to form a single bicycle ride up to 25 miles long. Also there are many intermediate access
points along the length of the Jordan River Parkway Trail, so a variety of shorter walks or rides are also possible. In this chapter I will describe the northernmost segment
of the Jordan River Parkway Trail, which runs from Constitution Park in Salt Lake City to the Center Street Trailhead in the City of North Salt Lake.
Heading south from Constitution Park the paved trail follows the Jordan River for 0.3 mile, skirting along the west side of the Utah State Fairgrounds,
before abruptly ending at North Temple Street. The trail starts again 0.5 mile further south at 200 South Street; however at the present time the two segments
of the trail are not connected. The Jordan River Commission plans to eliminate this gap in the
Jordan River Parkway Trail sometime in the future, but as this book goes to press
construction on the missing portion of the trail has not yet started.
Going north from Constitution Park the path follows the northeast side of the river for 0.4 mile before coming to a footbridge that crosses the stream
to Cottonwood Park. This stretch of the trail is very pretty, with many trees growing along the shores of the river. Also, there is a nice network of
walking paths in Cottonwood Park, and many people prefer to use this park as an access point to the Jordan River Parkway
Trail. 0.2 mile further along you will
come to a second footbridge accessing Cottonwood Park, There is also an off-leash Dog Park here, on the east side of the river near the bridge.
The Jordan River Parkway Trail crosses the river on the footbridge near the dog park and continues on in a northerly direction for
0.2 mile to a pedestrian crossing at 500 North Street. (This part of the Jordan River Parkway
Trail crosses active streets in four different places, but each
crossing is equipped with a pedestrian activated stop light.)
A short distance after crossing 500 North you will come to another footbridge where you must cross to the east side of the river. Then, 0.4 mile beyond
500 North Street, the trail again crosses a road at 600 North Street before entering Riverside Park. This is mostly a quiet residential area, and the river
continues to be lined with trees and other vegetation-perfect for a pleasant walk or bike ride.
The next street crossing is on the north side of Riverside Park at 1000 North Street, and beyond that you will be skirting
along the east side of the Jordan River Golf Course. The Jordan River Course is a small 1212 yard course that caters primarily to beginners. It lies entirely
along the western side of the Jordan River. It is, however, situated just south of the Rose Park Golf Course, and upon leaving the Jordan River Greens the
river cuts right through the middle of one of Salt Lakes largest and best known public parks. Shortly after entering Rose Park the trail crosses a footbridge
in front of the pro shop and cafe and continues along the west side of the river for the next 0.7 mile as it winds through the park.
The Jordan River Parkway Trail crosses Redwood Road at another pedestrian crossing on the north side of Rose Park and then resumes its meandering along the east side of the river.
You are only two miles east of Salt Lake International Airport at this point, and you will probably see a lot of airplanes landing and taking off. A half
mile after crossing Redwood Road the trail also passes within 300 yards of a small, little used airstrip in the open field west of the river. You probably
won’t be able to see it, however, because of the thick vegetation along the river. Also in this area the trail makes use of 300 yards of recently constructed
boardwalk in order to get across a particularly sensitive section of wetlands.
After crossing Redwood Road the Jordan River
Parkway Trail continues to wind along the side of the Jordan River for the next 1.3 miles before crossing into Davis County and coming
back to the west side of Redwood Road. It runs along the side of Redwood for 250 yards before veering away again to the west. This is an interesting area
because the west side of the river is occupied by the Jordan River Off-Highway Vehicle Park. This state park boasts two motocross tracks for off-highway
motorcycles as well as courses for 4-wheel ATVs. Part of the course runs just 150 feet from the trail, and if you are there on a Saturday between April
and October you can enjoy watching the riders zoom past of the opposite side of the river.
0.6 mile after leaving the side of Redwood Road the
Jordan River Parkway Trail veers away from the Jordan River to cross under Interstate Highway 215. The treeless grassland north
of the highway is technically a part of the wetlands on the east side of the Great Salt Lake, but it is almost entirely dry now. Historical evidence indicates
that the water level of the lake rises and falls with a frequency of about one cycle every hundred years, and the lake level is currently about 16 feet lower
than its 1986 peak.
Finally, 0.9 mile after leaving I-215 the
Jordan River Parkway Trail, crosses another 100 yards of boardwalk and goes under Center Street to arrive at the Center Street Trailhead
in North Salt Lake. At this point you are actually traveling on the Legacy Parkway trail; the name change takes place where the path crosses under Interstate
Highway 215. As mentioned earlier, the Legacy Parkway continues on for another 14 miles to the city of Farmington.
The Legacy Parkway Trail is quite popular, and you are likely to see many cars with bike racks parked at the Center Street Trailhead (see page 271). In my
opinion, however, the Legacy Parkway trail is not as interesting as the Jordan River Parkway. It closely parallels the Legacy Highway for its entire
distance, so it is very straight with little change in scenery. Also, there is considerable traffic noise along the trail.
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