Rattlesnake Gulch in Millcreek Canyon is one of my go-to after work hikes. You don’t have to drive very far up the canyon to have great access to this moderate trail, which leads to a beautiful overlook of the Salt Lake valley. I highly recommend this as sunset hike – bring a thermos of hot chocolate or tea and sit at the overlook to enjoy the view. This trail works steadily up the mountain for the first mile, then is level for the second mile, making this a great trail run. There is plenty of shade, but no water.
Millcreek Canyon is owned by the Salt Lake County Parks and is managed by the US Forest Service, and therefore charges a $5 fee per car upon exit. You can also buy an annual pass for $50. Other annual passes such as National Park Pass and Utah State Parks pass do not qualify as a pass for Millcreek.
From SLC, head East on I-80 towards Park City, then head south on I-215. Take exit 4 for 3900 S Wasatch Blvd. Veer left, then take a left at the first light (Wasatch Blvd). At the next light, turn right on Millcreek Canyon Road. Drive 1.5 miles up the canyon, and look for the Rattlesnake Gulch parking area to the left.
Distance: 3.5 miles RT
Elevation: 700 ft
Dog friendly? Yes. Dogs can be off leas on ODD days, and must be leashed on EVEN days.
Kid friendly? Yes!
Fees/Permits? There is a $5 fee upon exit, or FREE if you buy the Annual Millcreek Pass ($50). Millcreek Canyon does NOT accept the National Park Pass, American Fork Pass, nor the Mirror Lake Highway pass. No permit is required to hike this trail.
The trailhead parking got a big upgrade in June 2020 – a brand new paved parking area and new TH signs.
The new TH.
As of 2021, there are now two trails. Stay to the right for the “original” trail, and go left for the “new” trail. The new trail has 17 switchbacks and is 1.4 miles to reach the Pipeline. I like to hike UP the original trail, go to the overlook, then DOWN the new trail creating a semi-loop.
At the large rock jetting straight up, turn left. There is a small trail heading right, but it is a game trail.
Work your way up the small gulley.
Hike up a few small switchbacks.
At the 2nd trail split, stay left.
At the 3rd trail split, stay left again.
Once you reach the leveled out section, you will be walking on the ledge of the mountain, and will have great views of Millcreek Canyon. This is my favorite section of the trail – the first time the trail really opens and you get a great view of the valley.
Just around the corner – the view! Keep working your way to the very end, so you get the best view. Those are the Oquirrh Mountains in the distance.
Pass the WNF sign.
At then very end you will have a great view down to SLC!
Looking back up Millcreek Canyon.
Winter is a great time to do this hike since there’s no avalanche danger. Smog Lake City is down there somewhere!
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