About Red Butte Creek

Red Butte Creek is one of Utah’s 10 major watersheds. It is one of the most pristine ecological areas in the Wasatch Front. With origins located within Red Butte Canyon, it runs west through the Red Butte Garden, continuing underground through the University of Utah campus and protracts into the Jordan River. The creek’s water is very clear with high mineral content and conductivity. The creek is a continually flowing watershed, running year round with year-to-year variability.

The creek can be enjoyed at such access points throughout the city:


The creek has remained mostly untouched with the exception of the U.S Army in the 1860’s, as the creek ran through Fort Douglas, being their main water source at the time. It has thus been declared the U.S Army’s sole property, under their protection for preservation. Since then, its base at Red Butte Gardens has converted into a private Research Natural Area (RNA) belonging to the University of Utah. Students and faculty can gain access to the creek on Red Butte Creek Canyon through research practices or volunteer work.

In June of 2010, Chevron Corporation spilled nearly 33,000 gallons of petroleum into the creek, polluting the mostly untouched watershed. The spill was not stopped until after it had reached the Jordan River. The affected animals were treated by the Utah Hogle Zoo. Today, evidence of the spill in the creek is nearly nonexistent.