Bear Canyon Suspension Bridge: Draper, Utah
Updated: Jun 18, 2020
The hike to Bear Canyon Suspension Bridge is a must for any family along the Wasatch Front in Utah. It offers gorgeous views of the Salt Lake Valley, as well as a fun destination to Draper’s newer suspension bridge that connects the well-groomed Bonneville Shoreline trail over Bear Canyon.
Fun: ⭐⭐⭐ (out of 5)
Difficulty: Very Easy Easy MODERATE Hard Very Hard
Distance: 2.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 440 ft
Terrain: Even dirt trail, rocks, bridge, minimal shade
Time: 1 to 3 hours
When to Go: Spring, Summer, Fall
Bathrooms: During the summer and fall months there are 3 bathroom stalls and water available. During the colder months, there is only a single bathroom accessible.
Grass area with picnic tables
Covered picnic tables with gazebos
Climbing area for kids
Drinking fountain on in warmer months
THINGS TO BRING
Sunscreen (exposed trail)
Good hiking shoes
We hiked to the Bear Canyon Suspension Bridge, also named the Draper Suspension Bridge Hike, in early spring. The weather was perfect and we even brought our dog. We went on a Saturday, during the social distancing from COVID-19.
I was a little worried at first when I saw the amount of cars parked on the street with the parking lot full, but there are so many hikes in the area and everyone was well spread out. I felt like the trail was not too crowded and we were able to social distance appropriately.
The trailhead is at Orson Smith Park just north of the bathroom building. The parking lot can hold 30 to 40 vehicles and there is also some street parking available if the parking lot is full. There are several trails in the area, but you will want to follow signs for the Bridge Loop for the quickest and most direct path to the suspension bridge.
The hike begins with a wood stairs followed by a few quick switch backs and then levels off as you continue north and come to the Aquaduct trail.
From here, you can continue on the Aquaduct trail which is first flat and then you hike upwards to the bridge or you can get the uphill portion done at the first and continue east following signs for bridge loop.
We chose to get the uphill portion done first while the kid’s legs were still fresh. We continued on a few more switchbacks following the bridge loop signs eastward and then continued north connecting to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST). Follow BST until you come to the Bear Canyon Suspension Bridge. This is about 1.1 miles from the trailhead.
The suspension bridge is 185 feet long and was finished in 2015 to connect the Bonneville Shoreline Trail over Draper’s Bear Canyon. The bridge will slightly rock and move as you cross. This is normal and the bridge is very well built. We had fun walking across the bridge as is swayed slightly beneath us. We enjoyed the beautiful views from the bridge.
From the suspension bridge you can choose between 3 route options to return to Orson Smith Park or continue hiking the BST:
Go back the way you came for an out-and-back hike
Head west(downward) continuing to follow the bridge loop trail or
Continue onward on the BST for more mileage.
We choose option 3 and continued along the BST another 0.4 miles to see a small rock tunnel. This area of the BST is flat, easy and goes under several large boulders. My kids enjoyed exploring this area for a few minutes. We didn’t stay long because of the busyness of the trail that day and the bikers who needed to pass us on the trail where we were.
From the rock tunnel, we turned around and headed south until we came back to the suspension bridge, then continued west (downward) on the Bridge Loop Trail. As you connect back to the Aqueduct Trail you head south and will see the Orson Smith Park parking lot below. The hike ended up being about 3 miles with the extra distance we added to the rock tunnel from the suspension bridge on the BST.
This trail in Draper is well trafficked by hikers and bikers. However, we felt like the hike was long enough that people were well spread out. Just be on a look out for passing mountain bikers.
The terrain is fairly easy and the trail is well groomed. I even saw a family on the trail with a running stroller, although I wouldn’t recommend this on the switchbacks. There are also lots of signs and maps along the way to get in in the right direction. If my directions seem a bit complicated, just follow signs for the Bridge Loop and you will get to the bridge pretty easily. It is hard to miss.
Due to the switchbacks, which are actually quite short, I rated this hike as moderate instead of easy for kids. We enjoyed this hike and it is one I would definitely do again.
PROS & CONS
Fun destination to a suspension bridge
Not too steep or long for families
Amenities (bathroom and picnic tables available throughout the year)
Need to keep an eye out for mountain bikers
Popular (can become crowded)
The trailhead is located just off Highland Drive in Draper at Orson Smith Park. You can search Orson Smith Park on your maps app to get you to the right location. The trailhead is located at the north side of the parking lot just north of the bathrooms. There is a dirt road to the south of the parking lot ---- this is not the trailhead for the suspension bridge.
OTHER NEARBY ADVENTURES
Alien Tower hike (15 minutes)
Rocky Mouth Waterfall hike (10 minutes)
Horsetail Falls hike (30 minutes)
Hi, I'm Corrine! I'm an outdoor enthusiast, mother of four, wife, nurse and runner. I believe God gave us this beautiful earth to explore, enjoy and protect.
My goal is to inspire you to get outside and create your own amazing memories as a family. Life is precious and there are too many adventures to be had to spend life on the couch or in front of a screen.
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