Hiking Neff’s Canyon to the Ridge
Neff’s Canyon is located just south of Millcreek Canyon near Mt. Olympus, which starts in the White Hill Estates neighborhood. The trail works steeply up the ravine until it reaches a popular turnaround point, the meadow, and continues on to the ridge. Neff’s Canyon gains a steady elevation of 1,000 ft per mile, so you’ll definitely get a great workout in. Hike up as far as you feel like it, or make it all the way to the ridge where you’ll have an amazing view looking down into Big Cottonwood Canyon.
Use this map, if driving from the North.
Use this map, if you are driving from the South.
Distance: 8 miles RT
Elevation gain: 3,600 ft
Time: 4-6 hours
Dog friendly: Yes, off leash
Kid friendly: Yes, but only for the first mile
To get to the trailhead you’ll drive through a neighborhood. You’ll also see a sign for Dead End, but it actually leads to the TH parking lot. Its a large parking lot, but there are no restrooms. The parking lot is only open from 6am-10pm, so plan your hike accordingly.
From the parking lot you’ll see several trails – they all eventually link up, but the easiest is to follow the trail behind the two signs.
You’ll walk along this old jeep road, and pass an old water tank on your left. Keep following the wide road as it starts to turn left (East) into the canyon.
Again, you’ll see more trail splits but they all connect. Once the trail curves into the canyon, stay right heading up. If you hike down in elevation, you went the wrong way.
Hike by the “Neff’s Canyon Spring” (Gaia GPS labels it) – its one of the few flat areas.
Then pass by the official Mt. Olympus Wilderness sign. From here, you’ll hike up two really steep sections.
This is where the spring should still be flowing year-round. It flows from the bathtub higher in elevation (you’ll end up hiking by it) down here – makes for a great water stop with dogs.
The trail hikes through a large Aspen grove. In Fall, this section is gorgeous!
Whew! Need to stop for a quick break. My calves were already feeling the steepness. Compression socks would have beens super helpful!
At roughly 2.5 miles you’ll reach the Neff’s Canyon Meadow. Keep an eye out for the trail turning right through here.
I really liked these large rock slabs that make up a few peaks. They don’t have names, just elevation as markers on the map.
More Aspen groves. So sad to see everything dead and waiting for Winter to arrive.
Here’s the upper spring that flows year-round – it flows out of an old pipe into this tin/wood bathtub. On the Gaia GPS app it will show as “Spr”. You can also see that we were now in snow from the storm SLC got back in October. Wished I had brought my microspikes! They’re in my pack for winter now after doing this hike. From here, you should only be about 15 minutes from the ridge.
Looking back, the clouds were starting to sock in on us and it started to flurry very lightly.
Approaching the ridge!
Charlie was super excited!
Wow! Totally worth the effort to hike all the way to the ridge. I’ll definitely be hiking this again next summer when it’s green. It took us 2.5 hours to get here. If you wanted to continue, you could hike along the ridge in either direction. East will take you over to Thanye’s Peak and canyon, West will take you back towards Mt. Olympus and Wildcat Ridge.
What Neff’s Canyon looks like Summer!
A shorter, easier option is to just hike to the Mt.Olympus Wilderness sign. This is about 2 miles one way, and great for after-work to get the pups out.
Here’s my trail map – unfortunately my phone died 2/3 of the way up! The trail is easy to follow the whole way until you reach the ridge. The pin is where the meadow is located.
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