I’ve had my eye on the Living Room Hike on the bench above the Red Butte Gardens for over a year now, but it seemed a little difficult for my kids. This weekend, though, we decided to take the plunge. The hike was a climb the entire way, but out kids made it and the views were worth it.
The Living Room is a viewpoint that overlooks downtown Salt Lake City. Someone has taken flat rocks and built Flintstone-style furniture so that you can sit and gaze off at the city while you relax. It is really quite a site.
The trail starts out near Red Butte Gardens. In fact, you drive to the gate of the gardens, but instead of entering, you turn right on the road called Colorow. Drive about a quarter mile, and the trailhead is on the left.
The trail itself is steep and rocky. It climbs over 1000 feet in less than a mile and a half (1.35 miles to the Living Room, or 2.7 miles RT). We took it slow with our 5 and 8 year-olds walking and the baby on Dad’s back. For the 5 year-old, it was quite a slog. There was a bit of whining and grumpiness, and Dad had to carry him for several short stretches.
The trail can be a bit confusing at first, so follow these directions. Climb up the hillside and cross the small stream by the Russian Olive Tree. Continue straight east (it doesn’t matter which branch of the trail you take) until you hit the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. It’s big, wide, obvious, and only about 75 yards past the stream. Go slightly to the right (south), not more than 50 feet or so, and turn east again. Several trails have been tramped by “cutters,” which makes it a bit confusing, but head for the single post marker.
From there, the trail is obvious for about a mile. It climbs steeply up a ravine and is well-marked and easy to follow. Sometimes a few small, faint trails branch off, but stay on the big trail that is always on the right and you’ll be fine. Once you climb up to the top of the ravine, you will come to an obvious fork in the trail. Head left (north). It isn’t quite so steep here, and there’s only about 100 yards to go. In fact, as you start heading up the trail you can see the Living Room above you on the ridge line.
At the end of the hike, we were pretty worn out, but the furniture made it all worth it. There are about a dozen nice comfy chairs and loveseats (if rocks can be comfy) and maybe 5 more crude projects built down below. Luckily, no one was there when we arrived, but I’d guess you’ll often have company at this destination. We passed lots of people and their dogs on the way up and down.
Finally, the hike down took us about 15 minutes of our 2 hour and 15 minute hike. We recommend that you do this hike in the morning or on a cloudy day like we did. It would be pretty hot in July crossing that face. The Living Room was an awesome and rewarding hike, but it’s also for children with a bit of hiking experience. Add this to your bucket list. If you are looking for easier trails, check out our Family-Friendly Hikes in Northern Utah.