Bonneville/Avenues Loop

Paul Bernard

If you’re downtown, in the Avenues, or near the University, this hilly, scenic loop—mostly trail—is easy to get to, and can usually be run year round. Start at Popperton Park in the Avenues (11th & Virginia), and run west on the road until you pick up a bike path on the right. Follow that up and then down to the mouth of Dry Creek, where you’ll connect with the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, heading north. Now the fun starts. Put your head down and get used to various grades of uphill running… er, shuffling. At around the 2-mile mark, you’ll emerge at a saddle overlooking the valley, a sight you’ll enjoy for the next several miles.

Now continue west on the BST, following the foothill contours. On this stretch I’ve seen coyotes and, in summer, large gopher snakes right on the trail (though you’ll more likely see multitudes of mountain bikers). There’s a challenging hill at mile 3, but after that it gets easier. A little after mile 5 there’s a confusing intersection; if you stay to the right, you’ll remain on the BST. Soon you’ll be descending into City Creek, and at 6.6 miles you’ll emerge onto the hairpin curve of Bonneville Boulevard. From there, just 2.5 road miles to go: south to 11th Ave., and then east all the way back to Popperton.

A fellow runner told me that after finishing this 9-mile loop she “felt like bat barf.” I now think of this as The Bat Barf Loop. Enjoy!