Monday, July 18, 2016

Clayton Peak

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Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
Clayton Peak (10,721 ft) is one of my favorite, after work peaks to summit. Not only is the trail a mere 1.5 miles (one way), but you get amazing 360 degree views of the surrounding canyons. On a clear day you can see the Uinta Mountains, Jordanelle State Park, Heber, and the Strawberry Reservoir. There are two ways to summit Clayton Peak - Guardsmans Pass or Brighton Ski Resort.

I prefer to hike up the ridge from Guardsmans Pass, because dogs are allowed on this trail. Brighton Ski Resort is part of the watershed, so dogs are not allowed up that trail or on any trail in Big or Little Cottonwood Canyon for that matter. The trail is steep this way, and will take about 1-1.5 hours to summit depending on your hiking pace. In Summer, be prepared for very nasty mosquitoes - they tend to go away in September when the temperatures cool off in the evening. The last 1/4 mile requires some small boulder hoping and route finding, but as long as you stay on the ridge you'll reach Clayton Peak. Dogs and/or humans with knee or hip issues should sit this one out.

From SLC, take I-215, and exit on Wasatch Blvd (exit 6) and continue south. When you reach Big Cottonwood Canyon (at the corner of the 7-11), turn left into the canyon. Drive 14 miles up the canyon, past Solitude Ski Resort. Look for the big sign for Guardsmans Pass, and turn left. Follow this narrow, winding road for another 4 miles until you reach the pass. The trail starts to the south (right). There are no restrooms available. 

Distance: 3.2 miles RT
Elevation gain: 1,000 ft
Time: 2-4 hours
Dog friendly? Yes off leash via Guardsmans Pass
Kid friendly? Yes
Fees/Permits? None
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
 Parking at Guardsmans Pass - it was full at 6:30pm.
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
 Taking in the view from the pass.
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
 The trail starts on the South ridge.
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
 Head straight up the ridge, above the white sign.
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
 The trail is pretty shaded for the first half of the hike. Don't take any of the lower trails - stay on the ridgeline.
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
 Working our way up the ridge. Hiking poles may be helpful for some hikers. 
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
 Lots of flowers in July!
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass

Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass

Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
 Charlie is a good boy, and poses for his mama. You'll want to bring at least 1 liter of water per dog on this hike. 
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
 Off to our left (East), you can now see Blood's Lake.
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
 Looking back at the group, with a nice view in the distance.
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
 You'll reach a flat part of the trail, and will see a trail split. To get to Clayton Peak, head right (straight), and to get to Peak 10,420, turn left. Peak 10, 420 (there's no official name for it), is only another 100-200 yards to the peak. It's a 2 for 1 peak trail!
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
 We turned right and bypassed Peak 10, 420 - the mosquitoes were so bad that we just wanted to hit Clayton Peak as fast as possible.
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
 The trail will lead you down to the saddle. You'll see another trail split - go straight for Clayon Peak, and if you want to see Lackawaxen Lake, turn left and go down another steep section. 
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
 Work your way up the ridge, where you will now encounter more rocks and will soon have to scramble up some boulders. 
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
 Looking to our right (West) with a view of the Cottonwood Canyons.
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
 You should also see one of the ski lifts at Brighton below to your right.
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
 Finally on the summit with Charlie! Woot woot!
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
 We quickly took a bunch of photos, & applied more 100% Deet. I'm wearing my "Color Run" headband by FitnessFox Headbands!

People usually ask, "Is it ok to apply 100% Deet to my dog?" Charlie never seems to have issues with mosquitoes, but a better alternative for dogs (and even yourself) is rosemary oil, which contains an essential oil that acts as a natural mosquito repellent. Burt's Bees makes an all-natural mosquito repellent - it's a bit pricier ($18), but may be worth not putting chemicals on your body, or on your dog.
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
 Group photo of "Hiking in Utah - With our Dogs!" on Clayton Peak.
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
Return to your car the same way you hiked up.
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
 Here is a trail map looking directly East.
Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
Here is a trail map looking West, with Bloods Lake and Lackawaxen Lake shown.
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Hiking to Clayton Peak via Guardsmans Pass
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2 comments:

  1. I remember seeing the trail and such that day we hiked Lackawaxen- and oh I remember the bugs! Beautiful pictures looks like a great hike!

    Katie @ Katie Wanders www.KatieWanders.com

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