Investment in New Butterfield Canyon Trail System Rises to $6.9 Million

Salt Lake County is investing an exceptional amount of money to help alleviate trail congestion on the Wasatch Front.
View from the upper reaches of Butterfield Canyon. Photo: ©Jeremy Christensen via Canva.com

Salt Lake County is investing big money in a new trail system to help alleviate congestion on the popular singletrack trails spread along the Wasatch Front. The Butterfield Canyon trails are technically a part of the larger Southwest Canyon Trails Network, which includes the Yellow Fork and Rose Creek Canyon areas. The new Butterfield Canyon trailhead is located just outside of Herriman, to the west of Sandy, and southwest of downtown Salt Lake City. While most people head east to the towering Wasatch Mountains to recreate, the rolling Oquirrh Mountains to the west of the city now finally offer attractive trail opportunities.

The new trailhead rests on what was once mining land, and according to an article on KSL.com, it was a 20-year process to get this trailhead built. The area has long been home to a network of social trails, but for many years, trail users had to trespass to access them. Kennecott Rio Tinto has leased the land on which the trailhead is located, providing legal public access to this trail system.

Butterfield Trailhead Regional Park map
Map of the new Butterfield Canyon trails. Source: slco.org

Salt Lake County is currently finishing construction on two downhill mountain bike trails at Butterfield Canyon, which are expected to open in June. These two trails will bring the total mileage in the new trail system up to 17. The downhill-specific trails will be a welcome addition because the first phase, which opened last year, consisted of mostly smooth, machine-built singletrack designed for all trail users. Consequently, reviews from mountain bikers were mixed. 

One group of riders who were quite pleased with Butterfield’s Phase 1 were adaptive mountain bikers. The first phase was specifically built with a wide trail corridor so adaptive bikes can negotiate the singletrack. This is yet another example of an adaptive-friendly trail building trend sweeping the nation. 

Butterfield Canyon is a true multi-use trail system, and the latest $2.7 million investment (bringing the total investment up to $6.9 million) is designed to “further improve the canyon’s trailhead with better equestrian access and construct a county trail maintenance building,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune. While mountain bikers are one key user group that Salt Lake County is building for, they’re far from the only user group. This trail system is specifically designed to balance all of these diverse use cases. 

A $6.9 million investment is far from pocket change, and even still that number is likely to grow in subsequent years. There currently isn’t a restroom at the trailhead, but according to the Salt Lake Tribune a restroom facility is eventually planned—even though the latest allocation of tax funds doesn’t cover the restroom construction. That means Salt Lake County is planning to invest even more money into this wonderful new trail asset at Butterfield Canyon.

A video from Phase 1 of the Butterfield Canyon Trails

Have you ridden at Butterfield Canyon? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

 

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