Grandeur Peak – A Hiking or Snow Shoeing Adventure

Grandeur Peak Summit Millcreek Canyon

View of Mount Olympus and the surrounding Wasatch Range from the top of Grandeur Peak in Millcreek Canyon

Grandeur Peak is one of Salt Lake City’s classic hikes and can be reached by most folks with a free morning or afternoon.  The peak is just below 8,300 feet and provides some beautiful views of the surrounding mountain ranges and the Salt Lake Valley.  It is a relatively easy trail and is great for a family outing, a fun date, a trail run or just a nice walk in the wilderness to clear your mind.

Getting to the Top

Grandeur peak is usually climbed from one of two different routes.  The most popular route is the from the Church Fork Picnic area in Millcreek canyon, while the other more sparsely travelled route is the West Ridge.

Church Fork Route – Head up Millcreek Canyon(If you are not sure where Millcreek

Wild Flowers in mid may along the Church Fork Trail in Millcreek Canyon

Wild flowers along the Church Fork trail

Canyon is just find 3800 South on the East Side of Salt Lake and head East) 3.5 miles and you’ll see Church Fork picnic area.  This is a rather large picnic area with a road that switch backs up the hillside.  There is a parking lot at the very top, right where the trail head is, but on weekends it usually fills up fast.  If it is full you can park down on the side of the road and walk up from the main road.  The trail is well marked and easy to find.  Trail details:

  • Distance: 2.75 miles (one way)
  • Elevation Gain: 2,398 Feet
  • Rating: Easy
  • Season: Year round
View of Mount Olympus from just below the Summit of Grandeur peak

View of Mount Olympus from just below the Summit

West Ridge Route – the trail head for the West Ridge trail up Grandeur peak is located at the end of Wasatch Blvd past 3300 South, where there is  usually plenty of parking.  From the parking lot walk up the dirt road and take the first right fork.  This trail is more challenging than the Church Fork trail, as it starts lower and is shorter, making the hike a steeper one.  It is also not as well marked as the Church Fork Trail.  Trail Details:

  • Distance: 2.25 Miles (One Way)
  • Elevation Gain: 3,267
  • Rating: Easy – Moderate
  • Season: Year round

What to Bring

Since the trail is a relatively easy one, just an afternoon hiking pack should be all you need to do this hike in the summer, a couple of liters of water, and a snack.  For spring and fall you may want to throw in a jacket, especially if you will be heading up in the morning or evening.  For winter you will want to prepare for mountain snow and consider using snow shoes or at least gators and trekking poles.

There is plenty of space at the summit to rest, take in the views and maybe enjoy a lunch or

Wildflowers along the Church Fork trail in Millcreek Canyon

Wildflowers along the Church Fork Trail

snack.  The summit of Grandeur isn’t as windy as some of the higher peaks in Utah, making it an ideal place to take a break and enjoy your surroundings.  Make sure to bring your camera as you can get some great shots of Mount Olympus, the Salt Lake Valley and Parleys Canyon.

This is a great hike for mid May as most of the snow is usually gone and there are a lot of wild flowers out.  It is also a great hike in the fall if you want to see the colors changing.  There is not a lot of tree cover on the West Ridge route, and the latter half of the Church Fork route is also without tree coverage, so I don’t recommend doing this hike in the heat of summer, but I don’t really like hiking in the heat anywhere.

This is a classic hike that I do at least once a year and recommend it to people of all abilities.  If you have any questions or comments feel free to drop me a line in the comments section below.  And remember, life begins where your comfort zone ends, so go out looking for an adventure!

About Dustin

Healthcare professional by day, Outdoor adventurer on the evenings and weekends.
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6 Responses to Grandeur Peak – A Hiking or Snow Shoeing Adventure

  1. Pingback: Trip Planning: Utah & Colorado Backpacking, Hiking and Snowshoeing – March 2016 – HikingGeek.com

  2. Jamie says:

    Dustin — Nice write-up! Headed from the flatlands of Ohio to SLC for a conference beginning next week. I’d like to take a cab/Uber out to hike Grandeur Peak from Church Fork and down West Ridge on the 18th, and then catch a cab/uber back to the hotel. First, how much snow, if any, is on the trail so far (I have poles and gaiters)? Second, any concerns about the route (another writer advised the opposite direction, but I’m concerned about cell phone connectivity at Church Fork to get a ride back). The same conference was in SLC four years ago, and we hiked up Olympus.

    • Dustin says:

      Jamie, thanks so much for your feedback and glad to hear you are taking time to explore the Wasatch while you are out here. I haven’t hiked the trail recently but it has been pretty warm in Salt Lake and I don’t think there is any snow on it now. If a big storm blows in that might change but for now I would plan on minimal snow. Church Fork likely doesn’t have cell reception so I would recommend starting there if you will need cell coverage for your way home. The West ridge is much steeper so if you like a steeper up that may be the way to go. Enjoy Salt Lake while you are here!

  3. Mimi says:

    Jamie, were you able to use your cell phone at Church Fork? I’m visiting SLC for a conference and was thinking about doing this hike, taking uber to/from the trail head. Thanks for your help!

  4. Mimi says:

    Jamie, were you able to Uber to/from this trail? I visiting from out-of-town and was thinking about trying this hike too, but would need to be able to call for a ride home.

    • Jamie Abel says:

      We weren’t able to get an Uber ride out to the Church Fork trailhead and had to pay a pretty stiff taxi fare. We did, though, get an instant response at the end of the route at the Wasatch Blvd. trailhead. It was a great afternoon on the trail, though a little slick on the ascent without spikes and the western descent was unrelenting, especially for this flatlander. Enjoy!

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