Park City and dogs go together like powder days and skiing so it makes sense to see dogs almost everywhere you go here. Despite leash laws, most owners opt to let their dogs run free and while it isn't an issue most of the time, problems can arise if you have a less sociable dog. As the owner of two larger dogs--one of which is very unfriendly to other dogs--off leash pups make walks and hikes more stressful than they should be. Rather than go on a crusade to force owners to leash their dogs (or at the very least make sure their dog stays close to them), I do my best to take my dogs to areas with less traffic so I can enjoy a pleasant walk without a disastrous confrontation.
McPolin Farm Trail
As a Park City icon, McPolin Farm is a popular spot for curious tourists, couples taking wedding photos, and families enjoying a picnic. Past the farm, however, lies a modest 1-mile nature trail hidden in an aspen grove. Shady and with plenty of creeks, the trail is an easy walk and always deserted. You can take your dog in peace and worry much less about other dogs or people in the area.
Bonanza’s Abandoned Mine Trail Loop
Located at Park City Resort amid an array of popular options, this loop trail is significantly less crowded than the nearby Jenni’s or Armstrong trails. The 2.5 mile loop has an elevation change of over 800 feet that gives you excellent glimpses of the resort and town below. Be wary of mountain bikers going up and down, but relax knowing this spot is lightly trafficked.
A short little trail through the base area near the Olympic Park, Run-A-Muk is actually one of the few areas in Park City designated for dogs off leash. Still, it remains a relatively hidden and empty spot with most owners opting for Round Valley's off leash areas. Run-A-Muk is perfect because you can see if anybody is coming for miles around. A late evening walk here also offers perfect solitude for watching the sunset over Olympic Park.
A short but steep hike, Iron Canyon lies relatively hidden at the end of a neighborhood. From early to mid morning, the trail is relatively quiet and empty compared to other local favorites. The top vantage point offers sweeping views of Old Town and Park City Mountain, and plenty of space for a dog to explore.
Mirror Lake Highway
If you're willing to drive out past Kamas, you'll find numerous hikes off Mirror Lake Highway. Shingle Creek hosts a few trailheads that are uncrowded during weekdays and also provides cooler temps than you'll find in Park City. Small lakes and ponds that can be found along most trails are also great if you have a pooch that loves to swim.