Lower Bell Canyon Reservoir is a fun family hike and a great way to get a little exercise at any time of the year. While the warmer months are the most popular to visit Lower Bell Canyon Reservoir its relatively low elevation and close proximity to the city make this a great way to get out of the house during the winter months as well. This hike is suitable for most healthy adults and children however snowshoes or traction devices may be required during the winter.


Lower Bell Canyon Reservoir can be reached from two trailheads: The Granite Trailhead or the Boulders Trailhead. The Granite Trailhead is slightly longer but not as steep as the Boulders. This trail guide assumes travel from the Granite Trailhead however directions to both are listed.

Reaching the Granite Trailhead from I-215:

  1. Take Exit 6 for 6200 S/Wasatch Blvd.
  2. Drive south on Wasatch Blvd. for 3.9 miles.
  3. Bear right onto Wasatch Blvd. at the junction to Little Cottonwood Canyon Road.
  4. Continue for 1.2 miles on Wasatch Blvd.
  5. Turn left onto 9600 South/Little Cottonwood Road.
  6. Drive 0.1 miles to the Granite Trailhead on the right side of the road (40.571827,-111.797036).

To reach the Boulders Trailhead, use the above directions but instead of turning left onto 9600 S (step 5), continue 0.6 miles south on Wasatch Blvd to the Boulders Trailhead on the left side of the road (40.565016,-111.803681).

The Hike

From the Granite Trailhead, begin hiking up the switchbacks that climb the hill south of the parking lot. Continue up the steep trail for about one third of a mile before cresting over the ridge into a ravine to the south.

Follow the trail as it descends gently into the ravine before turning south again for the final climb to the reservoir. After approximately 0.75 miles, the trail arrives at the north end of the reservoir. From here many possibilities exist for further exploration.

Fishing is generally good at Lower Bell Canyon Reservoir but be sure to check current regulations. The reservoir is catch and release only.

Those wishing to hike a little farther can walk the trail that loops around the perimeter of the reservoir or continue hiking up Bell Canyon and turn around at any time. For those snowshoeing in the winter, the off-trail possibilities near the reservoir are fantastic, offering plenty of fresh snow to stomp around in.

Return the way you came. Hiking distance from Granite Trailhead to the north end of the reservoir and back is approximately 1.5 miles round trip.

Rules and Regulations

  • No littering.
  • Pack out all trash.
  • No pets allowed.
  • No swimming.
  • No campfires.

Special Considerations

  • Avalanche danger may exist anytime when hiking in snowy conditions. Check with the Utah Avalanche Center for more information and current conditions.
  • Those hiking the trail in the winter may require snowshoes or traction devices due to deep snow and ice.
  • This hike can be very hot in the summertime. Pack plenty of water for everyone in your group.


This trail guide is provided by Backcountry Post.