Mt. Wire is a small mountain that overlooks the University of Utah, Emigration Canyon, and Red Butte Canyon. It is conveniently close and can be hiked year-round.
Unfortunately, Mt.Wire isn’t much to look at, but what this little hill lacks in prestige, it more than makes up for with steep trails, nice views of the valley, and a spacious top to stretch out and enjoy the scenery. Plus, Mt. Wire is dog-friendly! Along the way, you’ll pass the famous Living Room trail, which is a great spot to take your first break. There are several ways you can reach the summit, but I’ve found the easiest to be this route.
In SLC, head east on I-80 towards Park City. Take exit 129 for Foothill Drive. Drive 3.3 miles, then turn Right on Wakara Way. Drive straight, until you pass the Natural History Museum/Red Butte Gardens sign, then turn right into the museum parking lot. Park at the southernmost end, by the stairs. No restrooms are available. Here is a driving map.
Distance: 5 miles RT
Elevation gain: 2,000 ft
Time: 3-5 hours
Dog friendly? Yes, off leash
Kid friendly? Yes, but it may be steep for them
*Be aware of mountain bikers along the first section of this trail if you bring your dog*
Follow the trail via The Living Room.
Walk South along the BST and turn left at the “174” pipeline marker.
Walk up the narrow gully. This can be really muddy in early Spring.
The trail becomes more open and you’ll see the gulley you’re about to hike up (in the shade).
Around 1.2 miles turn right, following another tight gulley called George’s Hollow.
This section of the trail starts out with low brush, and in springtime, can be very muddy.
You’ll come to what looks like the trail splitting, but they both meet up along the ridge trail. Continue right (East).
From this point, the trail gets even steeper. Follow the switchbacks up the hill.
The trail will level out for a little bit, then will quickly climb back up the next hill. The final push to the summit…
Interesting facts about Mt. Wire
– Mt. Wire is named after Lester Wire, an SLC policeman who, in 1912, developed the first red-green traffic light
– Mt. Wire used to be identified by two large, plain white billboards, which were actually passive microwave repeaters. These structures were used to bounce microwave signals over the mountain to the northeastern parts of Utah.
– The microwave billboards were removed in 2013 due to people vandalizing them.
– Mt. Wire is an old air beacon, that has long been out of service.
– Evidence of the air beacon is still present, as old electrical wire can still be seen along with breaker boxes.
– You can still climb up to the top of the old air beacon, but be sure to have someone “spot” you in case you slip.
A perfect late Spring hike! On the summit with Charlie, looking West. You can clearly see the Oquirrh Mountains and the SLC Valley. The summit is almost always windy. Be sure to bring a light jacket
On this day, I decided to turn this hike into a loop. Hike up the standard route, then down the South Ridge, hiking back to my car. It was only 6.3 miles RT as a loop. Not bad!
My track to Mt.Wire via standard route, past The Living Room trail via Gaia GPS – the best tracking app! Get your app here for a discount.
Turn this into a loop hike and take the South Ridge to Mt.Wire!