Monday, June 12, 2006

Hike Photo-Blogging: Grandeur Peak, Salt Lake County

I bagged my first peak of the season Saturday, hiking up to the top of Grandeur Peak in the mountains just east of Salt Lake City.

There are two or three different ways to get there, but the easiest is from the Church Fork trailhead. From there, it's only 3.5 miles to the top, with about a 2,600-foot elevation change. Top of the peak is about 8,300 feet above sea level. As you can see, much of the land around the trailhead belongs to the Boy Scouts but it has public access and parking. Just get there early: I didn't start until about 2:00 PM, and by then the parking lot was full and I had to park about a half mile down the road and hike to the trailhead.

To add insult to injury, I ended up taking a wrong turn and I added about 3 miles to my final total, so what would have been an easy seven-mile training hike turned into a fairly difficult 10-miler. Plus, I had to get back home by 6:30 PM, so I really pushed myself. I'm feeling it today.

The canyon was quite beautiful, and the weather was perfect for hiking. Temps were in the mid-70's, with little wind. Heavy rains earlier in the week had made things pretty muddy but except for a few wet spots it had dried out to the point where the trail was moist but not sticky. As a result, there was no dust kicked up and the air was clean and fresh.

In fact, besides the detour my only complaint was the dogs. Millcreek Canyon is one of the few in Salt Lake County that is not a designated watershed; hence dogs are allowed. They are supposed to be leashed on even-numbered days and most dog owners were in compliance Saturday, but of course I ran into one shirtless idiot whose off-leash Cocker Spaniel growled at me as I came up the trail (which prompted an angry response from Captain Holly). Cretin.

The view from the top, as you can see, is spectacular and well worth the climb (that's downtown Salt Lake City, about 6 miles away). If you try it, make sure you go on an even-numbered day sometime during the week. Weekends are too crowded, and off-leash dogs overrun the canyon on odd-numbered days. There's also a $2.25 per car charge for entry into the canyon, although they charge you on the way out instead when entering. Since the entry station was closed for the evening when I left the canyon around 6:15 PM, I didn't pay a thing.



At 10:55 PM, Blogger Rosemary said...

Those pictures are beautiful! How are you, Captain Holly? I pray you are well. Happy 231st and Flag Day. :)

At 4:56 AM, Blogger The Great El-ahrairah said...

I hope you aren't all hiked out by the time I get home. Hopefully, I'll be able to get a kitchen pass from the Sainted Wife and we can hike up to Timp-a-no-goes.


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