Easy Urban Escapes

National Geographic ranks Salt Lake City in the top 15 urban cities with easy access to hiking.

With 10,000-foot peaks within 20 minutes, Salt Lake City may very well be the easiest major American city to get out of, which is why it attracts a large population of outdoor-minded folk. (Depending on the season, you’ll see skis, bikes, or kayaks on top of those Subarus.) One beloved local hiking area is Big Cottonwood Canyon, 30 miles from downtown.

Get Hiking: From the Brighton Ski Resort, follow the Brighton Lakes and Lake Mary trails to some of the wildest scenery near any American city: high-altitude wildflower meadows, three serene alpine lakes, a ring of ragged peaks surrounding the valley, and, if you make it just more than five miles to Sunset Peak, views over the canyons surrounding Salt Lake.

Après Hike: Squatters Pub is a downtown favorite. Wash down locally made bratwurst with a pint of Captain Bastard’s Oatmeal Stout.

Photograph by Mike Schirf, Aurora Open/Alamy