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The Pipeline Trail in Mill Creek Canyon runs about 7.5 miles from the Salt Lake Valley Overlook near the mouth of the canyon to Elbow Fork about 1/2 way up the canyon. The Pipeline Trail is one of my favorite running trails! With three trailheads, it is easy to find a section or loop that fits the mood of the day. Much of the path is relatively flat, with all of it being wide, mostly rock free, and easy to run on.
In addition to being well suited for running, the trail makes a great hiking or biking trail as well. The lower section, from about Church Fork down is often done even in the winter. On a cold winter day, the sun on the south-facing slopes can feel glorious!
My favorite section is from Church Fork to Rattlesnake Gulch, or all the way to the overlook if I am feeling motivated. With each ridge crossing as you head down from Church Fork, the views become better and better.
Millcreek Canyon is on the east side of the Salt Lake Valley, just south of I-80 and Parleys Canyon. To get there, take I-215 South from I-80 and take exit 4 off of I-215 and go left (east) on 3900 South.
Turn left on Wasatch Blvd just after crossing under the highway, then the next right on Millcreek Canyon Road.
0.7 miles from the junction of Wasatch Blvd and Millcreek Canyon Road is the entrance to Millcreek Canyon and the pay booth.
Mileage below is from the pay booth.
The Pipeline Trail has three trailheads. From the mouth of the canyon up:
Pipline Trail/Rattlesnake Gulch/Salt Lake Overlook
This connector trail is steep, and about 0.8 miles from the road to the Pipeline Trail. A tough way to start a run, but makes a great hike, especially if the Salt Lake Overlook is your goal. The gulch can be quite icy in the winter.
A short stroll from the parking area to the trail or about a 0.75-mile walk from the road if parking is full. This trailhead is also the Grandeur Peak trail, and often quite busy. The picnic area gate is closed during the winter and only open from 8 AM to 10 PM in the other seasons. If you have a k-9 companion with you, Church Fork has flowing water.
This trailhead doesn't seem to see quite as much traffic as the others. A good bet for a parking spot on a busy day. It is only a few minutes walk from the parking area to the Pipeline Trail. Left, to Church Fork, is a lovely 3-ish mile round trip amble that is one of our families favorite outings. Right, to Elbow Fork, is the steepest section of the Pipeline Trail.
Elbow Fork Trailhead is a small parking area with a pit toilet. This trailhead is also the trailhead for Mt. Aire and is often very busy and hard to find a parking place.
Distances between sections are shown on the maps.
|Trailhead - Overlook||
12T 435023mE 4504792mN
N40° 41' 29" W111° 46' 08"
|Trailhead - Church Fork||
12T 437270mE 4505784mN
N40° 42' 02" W111° 44' 33"
|Churck Fork Piplene Jct||
12T 437233mE 4505910mN
N40° 42' 06" W111° 44' 35"
|Trailhead - Burch Hollow||
12T 439070mE 4505642mN
N40° 41' 58" W111° 43' 16"
|Burch Fork Pipeline Jct||
12T 438813mE 4505651mN
N40° 41' 58" W111° 43' 27"
|Trailhead - Elbow Fork||
12T 441731mE 4506379mN
N40° 42' 23" W111° 41' 23"
12T 433915mE 4505036mN
N40° 41' 37" W111° 46' 56"
12T 435086mE 4505574mN
N40° 41' 55" W111° 46' 06"