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 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 southern-most end, by the stairs. No restrooms are available.
Distance: 5.2 miles RT
Elevation gain: 2,300 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. I like to go the "fun" way, which is along the ridge. However, it make it easier you can go up the small ravine just to the south. See my map below for a guide.
Once you get to the Living Room, continue past it (East) for about 100 yards. Look for the small, shaded trail headed North East (left) up another small ravine. This is the trail to Mt. Wire.
This section of the trail starts out with low brush, and in springtime, can be very muddy.
When you come to the first 4 way intersection in the trail, if you go straight for about 100 ft you will have a nice overlook of Red Butte Canyon to the North, and SLC to the West. Go back to the 4 way intersection and continue East up the steep hill.
From this point, the trail gets even steeper. Follow the switchbacks up the hill. This is also where the trail became even muddier!
Making our way up the switchbacks. It probably would be better to wait to do this trail later in the year, in May, once it dries out. SLC has been getting a lot of springtime rain/snow, so we knew it would be like this. My hiking poles were really helpful the entire hike.
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 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 been, 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.
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.
Map to Mt. Wire looking East. You can take the "easier" route, by walking south along the BST, then East up the ravine, just north of that oval building at the bottom of the map.
Close of of the route past the Living Room.