This is the first installment in a series on the trail modernization taking place at Corner Canyon Trails in Draper, Utah.
By Lucy Higgins • March 9, 2023
Resting below Utah’s Wasatch Range and roughly 20 miles south of Salt Lake City, Draper is home to about 50,000 people. The suburban neighborhood is also home to the Corner Canyon Trails, a trail network that’s been a continual work of expansion, improvement, and modernization. Through efforts of the Corner Canyon Trail Foundation and its partners and the community at large, the trail systems winding through Corner Canyon remain some of the most prolific in the Wasatch Front, and with options to mountain bike, hike, and go horseback riding, offer a path for everyone.
Because the Corner Canyon trail network sits relatively close to the valley floor, the trails are accessible for a longer season that most others embedded throughout the Wasatch Mountains. And, as the double- and single-track trails are close to town, it’s an easy jump from home to trail, without the hassle of schlepping gear in and out of cars. Factor in the 150-plus trails to choose from and Corner Canyon Trails more than hold their own.
It’s all possible thanks to the permanent protection of Corner Canyon in 2005. When plans to create housing developments arose in 2003, the state’s Trust for Public Land, Salt Lake City County, and the city of Draper banded together to create an action plan to conserve the 1,021 acres—what would eventually become the largest conservation project the city had undertaken at that time. As with any endeavor of this size, it was a multi-step and multi-prong approach. The Land Trust first had to pass a conservation measure and get approval from Draper residents, and public and private partners worked together to ensure that the bond measure passed.
In a write-up on the Trust for Public Land’s website, the Director of the Land Trust is quoted saying, “The protection of Corner Canyon is a real win for the people of Draper, and is heartening for those of us who work in land conservation. More and more, communities are taking the initiative to protect their special places, and are making open space a priority and a local issue.”
From there, it’s been a constant effort to create, expand upon and improve the trails that lace through Corner Canyon. In 2012, Draper resident and Draper Parks and Trails Committee member Clark Naylor, along with Bill Decker, Tricia Kelly, and others, banded together to create the Corner Canyon Trails Foundation. The nonprofit’s goal is to “support Draper City and neighboring communities in any way we can to help fund and build new trails and to help in the maintenance and improvement of existing trails.”
Their projects and stretched across the Canyon, ranging in size and scope. In 2015, they partnered with Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction Co. Inc. to create the 185-foot Bear Canyon Suspension Bridge, and in subsequent years have added in ADA trails, horse-friendly trails, and those that are designed for young mountain bikers.
It’s steps like these that have secured the trails throughout Corner Canyon and the organizations involved with them as a cornerstone in trail modernization. Throughout this series, we’ll explore the people behind the Corner Canyon movement and their impact on the community at large.