Check out the Top 6 Steepest Hikes in the Wasatch Mountains! The Wasatch Mountains are known for the amazing scenery, wildlife, easy access to wilderness, and #beUtahful trails. Included in that list are peaks - with over hundreds of peaks to hike, you're sure to find something for everyone. But what if you like a big challenge, and like hiking where most people don't go? Do you like pushing your legs until they turn to jelly? Breathing so hard you feel like you're about to pass out? If that sounds like fun to you (it is for me haha!) then keep reading.
Grandeur Peak (8,299 ft and pronounced like "grand-er") is the one of the high points in Millcreek Canyon, and offers fantastic views of the SLC Valley and into Parley's Canyon. Grandeur Peak is also a perfect intro to Peak Bagging - the fairly short trail with a moderate elevation gain makes it one of the easier peaks to summit with little effort (compared to some of the other peaks in the area). For beginner hikers, this may be considered a tough hike due to the same reason Peak Baggers consider it easy - it is only 6 miles round trip and gains 2,900 ft elevation.
Mahogany Mountain (9,001 ft) is located in Utah County, and considered one of the steepest hikes in the Wasatch. In just 3.5 miles to the summit the trail gains 4400 ft! Mahogany Mountain often gets overlooked for Mt.Timpanogos, which towers over it to the East. Because of this, not many people don't know this mountain even has a name. Except for peak baggers that is. This is one of those hikes every peak bagger must do, and even with a lot of peak experience, this one is daunting due to the steepness.
South Willow Lake is a high alpine lake in the Deseret Peak Wilderness, West of Salt Lake City, Utah. It is a fairly steep trail but only 3.5 miles to the lake. The best time to backpack here is mid-June - October, when the winter gate is open and the trail is mostly free of snow. There are two routes to get to South Willow Lake via the Deseret Peak TH or the Medina Flat TH (aka Stansbury Front Trail).
Memory Grove Park is located just north of downtown SLC, and offers an escape from cement, skyscrapers, and traffic into a secluded park with a year-round stream. The 9 acre park includes an off leash area, remnants of old buildings, fountains, restrooms, picnic tables, and the Memorial House. Memory Grove features several memorials to Utah's veterans as well as a replica of the Liberty Bell. If you decide to hike further than the park area, to the North you will enter City Creek Canyon.
Big Springs Trail is an easy hike for the whole family. It's not really a "spring" to check out, it's just a closed off and well-fed spring now. You can keep hiking all the way up the trail, and it eventually connects with the Cascade Ridge. Most people hike up about 2-3 miles then turn around, to get the best views. This hike is best in Spring when the fields are green and vibrant, and the stream is rushing from the snow melt.
The Kenny Creek Trail in Bountiful, Utah is not a trail you hear of often. In fact, when we hiked it we literally ran into only three other hikers the entire time. Though you will mainly see people crossing the bridge to hike Mueller Park Trail, Kenny Creek will offer you solitude, beautiful views across the canyon to Mueller Park Trail, and views of Antelope Island to the west. Even on weekends this trail will be less populated compared to Mueller. Along the trail you will cross two creeks; and at the end of the trail you will encounter an old miners cabin from the late 1800s. Though this trail offers fantastic views, it has it's own challenges: 1) the low brush will tear up your legs if you wear shorts, 2) the steepness makes it feel like you've hiked longer.
The Terraces Trail in Millcreek Canyon follows the Elbow Fork Ridgeline, starting from the Terraces Picnic Area, and ending at Elbow Fork along the Millcreek road. There are several options for hiking this route 1) loop, 2) point-to-point, or 3) out-n-back. This route is NOT safe in winter, due to how this trail is situated on a steep North slope, with higher elevations above you that can potentially slide.
Jack's Mailbox Peak (6,475 ft) is short but sweet - not only will you get great views of the SLC valley to the West, the Wasatch mountains to the East and South, but also get a great leg workout in, and is a safe peak to summit during Winter when avalanche danger is high. Though this trail is very short, the elevation gain and time spent hiking will make you think it's longer.
The Top 10 Peaks to bag in Salt Lake City, UT are right out our back door - no more than a 30-45 minute drive, these peaks are some of my favorites I've hiked over the years! Whether you are a newbie to peak bagging, or have years of experience, the Wasatch Front offers something for everyone. Start with the easy ones, then work your way up to some of the hardest and longest in the area. Of course there are several more peaks that some would argue should have made my list, but those are for you to decide which are your favorite. Set some goals, and start peak bagging this summer!