If you live along the Wasatch Front you may be enjoying the Jordan River Parkway Trail now that it’s completed. The river that runs from fresh water Utah Lake in Utah County to the Utah’s own version of the ‘Dead Sea’ (the Great Salt Lake) has been here for eons, but the paved trail and bridge sections for runners, walkers and bikers was only just finished in 2017 when the final bridge by the Utah State Fair Park was erected. This sweet path running through our valleys connects to the Legacy trail on the north and the Murdock Canal trail to the south, giving us 100+ miles of paved trails along the waterway. You can fish in it for Channel Cats, Bass, Bullheads, Carp and even trout with simple worm bait, kayak, and paddle board. The group ‘Utah Outdoors’ leads regular trips down the river in the summer, but you have to provide all your own equipment from boat to paddles and mandatory life jackets. There are about a dozen boat launch ramps that begin in the Orem area and lead past downtown Salt Lake. Outdoors types here love our mountains and red rocks down south but often forget about the Jordan River and the trails we have now.
Utah historians agree that the first part of Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, and five days later another party led by Brigham Young cross the Jordan River and bathes in the Great Salt Lake. The religious explorers likened the Utah river to the River Jordan in the Middle East across the planet where the Sea of Galilee drains into the Dead sea. Soon Utahn’s named the Jordan River here and groups of settlers began camps along feed creeks and rivers to the Jordan along Big and Little Cottonwood Creeks, Parley’s, Emigration and Mill creek. The river was used to float granite rock from the Little Cottonwood quarry to North Temple to be hauled up the street to Temple Square. The railroads also used the slow moving river to float logs and ties as they built rail lines through the urban areas.
Salt Lake City has announced that a second Tracy Aviary will build a second location along the river as it’s second campus in the next year and City officials plan to fund rope courses, climbing walls, canoe and bike rentals in a new park planned @Highway 201 North to about 4500 South. There’s funding for this and police from several different agencies are also stepping forward with help to monitor homeless camps and heavy crime spots at and near those camps to make the trail safer for recreation seekers and just folks wanting to experience nature here along this slowing winding river. Grab an E-bike or just a group of friends and take a stroll this winter to see the wildlife along the banks and in the trees. Get some fresh air when you can during a low inversion day and you’ll come back as it gets warmer to maybe actually get in the water with a kayak or boat.