Thursday, July 21, 2016

Hiking to Murdock Peak

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Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
Murdock Peak (9,600 ft) is a peak located in the Central Wasatch mountains and can be access three ways: 1) Millcreek Canyon 2) Guardsmans Pass or 3) The Canyons Ski Resort in Park City, UT. In summer months you'll hardly see anyone on the summit, but winter is a different story. Taking the lift up from The Canyons resort will shorten the hike, oh, about 3.5 miles! 

July is a great time to summit Murdock Peak because all of the wildflowers are in full bloom, the days are long, and the cool breeze on the summit is very refreshing. This is a great peak for beginners looking to "bag a peak" - there are no obstacles or scrambling required - only a sense of adventure and a love of hiking! The information provided will be starting from Millcreek Canyon. This is a dog friendly trail starting from Millcreek - the trail is half shaded and very scenic, though you'll need to carry water for both you and your pup. Keep in mind that in Millcreek Canyon dogs are only allowed off leash on ODD days, and must be leashed on EVEN days.

From SLC, head East on I-80, then south on I-215. Take exit 4, and turn left at the light. At the next light (Wasatch Blvd), turn left again. At the next light, turn Right, which will put you in Millcreek Canyon. Drive to the very end of the road (9 miles), and park in the big lot. Sometimes parking is full, so you may need to park at the Little Water TH parking lot, then walk up. The trail starts in the Eastern-most side of the parking lot. Restrooms are available.

Distance: 7.6 miles RT
Elevation gain: 1,940 ft
Time: 3-5 hours
Dog friendly? 
Yes, off leash on ODD days in Millcreek. Must be leashed on EVEN days.
Kid friendly? Yes
Fees/Permits? $3 fee upon exit of Millcreek Canyon. No permit.
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
The trail starts in the Eastern-most side of the parking lot. We started hiking at 6:30pm on a Tuesday, and this parking lot was full. Arrive early or at an odd time of day to get parking.
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
At the first trail split, turn left. This will put you on the Old Red Pine Road trail.
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
Cross the bridge. This is a good place to let the dogs get a drink and play in the stream.
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
About 100 yards past the bridge you'll see another unsigned trail split. Stay left! Going right just leads you down to the stream.
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
A small stream along the trail was perfect for the dogs to drink from!
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
The trail gains elevation pretty slowly, and starts to open up.
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
You'll pass a small meadow to your right.
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
And then you'll pass a big meadow to your left. You'll cross one more bridge, and you'll want to stay left again. 
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
Follow the Great Western Trail East for another 1-1.5 miles. You'll then reach another trail split on the ridge. Continue left.
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
This part of the trail is known as the "Park City Overlook", and is often a stopping point for many people. From this spot, you are only 1 mile away from Murdock Peak!
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
Looking back at the rest of the group, Hiking in Utah - With our Dogs!
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
You'll come to another intersection, and see a chair lift to your right, and the ski sign for Murdock Peak to your left. Head up this steep hillside, following the game trails until you reach the next ridge. If you haven't noticed, all trail splits are LEFT.
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
Hiking up the steep hillside...
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
There seemed to be a good game trail close to the Ski Boundary signs. As long as you stay near these as you work your way up, you'll make it to the ridge.
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
Ahh, finally on the ridge. Only another 10 minutes from here to the summit! Dave is hiking by skis that are a memorial.
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
As you work your way up to Murdock Peak, you'll have amazing views of wildflowers and the Big Cottonwood Canyon ridgeline to the South.
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
The evening light was so pretty!
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
Charlie leads the way to the peak.
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
On the summit of Murdock Peak is an old electrical shelter/box.
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
On Murdock Peak, looking East to Park City!
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
On the peak looking South.
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
Just in time for the sunset! The peak can be very windy and chilly, even in summer. Plan on bringing a long sleeve shirt or light puffy.
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
More beautiful light from the sunset!
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
 Working our way down from the peak, the same way we hiked up. 
Hiking to Murdock Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
Looking back to Murdock Peak on the way down. Gorgeous!
Murdock Peak, Utah trail map
 Murdock Peak Trail map looking NE.
Murdock Peak, Utah trail map
 A close up of the trail map, from the Park City Overlook to the summit. 
Murdock Peak, Utah trail map
Overview of the trail map, looking West.
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Hiking to Murdock Peak
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