Monday, September 26, 2016

Hiking to Grandeur Peak

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Hiking to Grandeur Peak, Millcreek Canyon, Utah, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
Grandeur Peak (8,299 ft and pronounced like "grand-er") is the one of the high points in Millcreek Canyon, and offers fantastic views of the SLC Valley and into Parley's Canyon. Grandeur Peak is also a perfect intro to Peak Bagging - the fairly short trail with a moderate elevation gain makes it one of the easier peaks to summit with little effort (compared to some of the other peaks in the area). For beginner hikers, this may be considered a tough hike due to the same reason Peak Baggers consider it easy - it is only 6 miles round trip and gains 2,900 ft elevation.

Grandeur Peak is a very popular trail and summit, so it's best to start early in the day to beat the crowds. The other nice thing about this trail, is that it is safe to hike year-round. The south facing slopes aren't of real danger during Winter, and the other seasons are just as spectacular. Because this trail is in Millcreek Canyon, dogs are allowed off leash on ODD days only. You can still take your dog here on EVEN days but they must be leashed. This upper half of this trail is very exposed to sun and wind, so bring plenty of water for you and the dogs, and sun protection. The ridge can get really hot in Summer. 
From SLC, head East on I-80, then take I-215 South. Take exit 4, then turn left. Turn left again onto Wasatch Blvd. At the next light, turn right, which will put you into Millcreek Canyon. Drive up the canyon until you reach the Church Fork sign, pointing left. This is where you'll need to park. The gate up the hill to the official TH is closed from Nov 1 - July 1. In Summer months, the gate opens at 8am, which you could then drive up to the TH. However, every time I've hiked here I've never been lucky enough to get a parking spot at the TH. In this case, park at the gate, then simply walk up the road to the TH. The restrooms are locked during winter. Here's a driving map.

Distance: 6 miles RT
Elevation gain: 2,900 ft
Time: 3-5 hours
Dog friendly? Yes. Dogs are allowed off leash on odd days; dogs must be leashed on even days.
Kid friendly? Yes
Fees/Permits? There is a $3 fee upon exit of Millcreek Canyon. You can also purchase an annual pass for $40. Millcreek does NOT accept the National Park Pass, American Fork Pass, nor the Mirror Lake Highway pass.
Hiking to Grandeur Peak, Millcreek Canyon, Utah, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
 Look for the Church Fork Picnic sign. You'll need to park on either side of the road, then walk up the road to the trailhead.
Hiking to Grandeur Peak, Millcreek Canyon, Utah, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
 Walking up the road, passing by this small waterfall. I was surprised it was still running at a decent flow since I hiked Grandeur Peak the last week of September.
Hiking to Grandeur Peak, Millcreek Canyon, Utah, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
 At the end of the paved road, you'll reach the official TH and upper parking lot.
Hiking to Grandeur Peak, Millcreek Canyon, Utah, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
 Grandeur Peak trail sign!
Hiking to Grandeur Peak, Millcreek Canyon, Utah, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
 At the next 4-way intersection, you'll want to continue straight. Don't turn right at this sign. I made this mistake the very first time I hiked here, and ended up hiking along the Pipeline Trail for about 1 mile before realizing I was going the wrong way.
Hiking to Grandeur Peak, Millcreek Canyon, Utah, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
 The lower section of the trail is very well shaded and a stream runs along the right side. Perfect for the dogs to drink from!
Hiking to Grandeur Peak, Millcreek Canyon, Utah, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
 Climb up some stairs, and eventually the trail will turn left.
Hiking to Grandeur Peak, Millcreek Canyon, Utah, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
 The upper half of the trail works up several switchbacks, and you'll now be fully exposed to the sun. Even though we hiked in late September, it was HOT on this section! In summer it worse because there is very little breeze until you reach the ridge.
Hiking to Grandeur Peak, Millcreek Canyon, Utah, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
 Looking across Millcreek Canyon to Thaynes Canyon Peak, and the two peaks in the back with snow on them are Gobblers Knob & Mt. Raymond (which are both best accessed via Big Cottonwood Canyon).
Hiking to Grandeur Peak, Millcreek Canyon, Utah, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
 After many switchbacks, your last switchback is across several fallen rock piles. Charlie has his happy face on!
Hiking to Grandeur Peak, Millcreek Canyon, Utah, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
 Once you reach the ridge, you can go to this little overlook, which looks down into Parley's Canyon. 
Hiking to Grandeur Peak, Millcreek Canyon, Utah, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
 The trail begins to get steeper.
Hiking to Grandeur Peak, Millcreek Canyon, Utah, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
 Finally, a perfect view of Grandeur Peak.
Hiking to Grandeur Peak, Millcreek Canyon, Utah, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
 On the summit of Grandeur Peak, looking out to SLC! It took us 1 hour 37 minutes to reach the summit.
Hiking to Grandeur Peak, Millcreek Canyon, Utah, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
 On the summit, looking East into Millcreek Canyon.
Hiking to Grandeur Peak, Millcreek Canyon, Utah, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
 On the summit, looking North. The white peak in the distance is Grandview Peak (still on my to-do list!)

 Grandeur Peak trail map.
Hiking the West Ridge to Grandeur Peak
For a more challenging route, hike The West Ridge to Grandeur Peak!
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Hiking to Grandeur Peak, Millcreek Canyon, Utah, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
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