Monday, February 20, 2017

Hiking Mt. Olympus

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Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
Mt. Olympus (9,030 ft) is the prominent peak above Murray/Millcreek, Utah and is recognizable from anywhere in the SLC valley due to its two long, rocky spines on the West face. Though it's not the tallest summit in the area, hiking Mt. Olympus is sure to give your legs a workout. Gaining 4,100 ft in just 3.3 miles (one way), your legs will feel like jelly quickly. The rise of this peak from the valley floor to summit impresses locals as well as visitors alike. The trail also quickly changes from city to backcountry, as you enter the Mt. Olympus Wilderness in just 30 minutes of hiking.

Hiking Mt. Olympus is a popular trail year-round, especially for Peak Baggers: 

- Summer months are quite hot but the trail is dry; start hiking as early at 5:30-6am to beat the heat

- Spring and Fall are perfect for hiking as the trail is dry, yet valley temperatures aren't too hot to hike mid-day. The stream still flows at 2 miles in.

- Winter provides a fairly "safe" summit, as the avalanches are less prone compared to surrounding peaks. However, always check avalanche conditions before heading out that day. Snowshoes and/or microspikes will be required.

Dogs are allowed off leash on this trail; however, I only recommend that dogs who have experience hiking in this kind of terrain, steepness, and mileage go. Dogs also need to be fairly comfortable hiking up the last 600 feet, which is a class 3 scramble. If you bring your dog, bring plenty of water, as there is only one water source at the first stream 2 miles in.

From SLC head east on I-80 then than I-215 south. Take exit 5 for 4500 South, and turn right. At the next stop light (Wasatch Blvd) turn right. Drive south for 1.5 miles, then look for the left turning lane that takes a very sharp left turn uphill, which leads you into the parking lot. If this lot is full, you can also just park along Wasatch Blvd then walk up to the TH. Here's a driving map. There are no restrooms at the TH.

Distance: 7 miles RT
Elevation gain: 4,100 ft
Time: 6-8 hours
Dog friendly? Yes, off leash
Kid friendly? No
Fees/Permits? None

Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 The upper parking lot can fit about 20 cars.
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 The trail begins right from the parking lot. If you parked along Wasatch Blvd, you'll need to hike up to the official TH.
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 Your heart gets pumping very quickly as you make your way up the stairs.
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 You'll hike past this rocky outcropping, popular for people working on their rappel skills.
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 Follow the main trail, and within 10 minutes you'll see your first trail split sign - turn right up the switchback. Hiking straight/left follows the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST), and leads you over to the neighborhood below Neff's Canyon.
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 The trail offers pretty amazing views the entire time. This is looking South towards Cottonwood Heights.
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 Pass the official Mt. Olympus Wilderness sign.
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 You'll come to another trail split area with a sign. Stay right again. Going left will connect back down to the BST.
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 At 2 miles, you'll cross the first stream. This is a great place to take a quick break and let the dogs drink.
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 After the first stream is where the trail begins to get even steeper. Hike up roughly 12-15 small steep switchbacks. This is where we began to see a mix of snow and mud, but we didn't need to put our microspikes on just yet.
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 Near this narrow rock crossing you'll hear the 2nd stream down to the right. It's a little hard to get to, so I don't recommend hiking over to it. Past this point is where the trail gets even steeper.
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 We finally needed to put our microspikes on.

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Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 The trail alternated between mud and snow, but we just kept out spikes on since the distances between each were pretty short.
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 I actually felt like hiking Mt. Olympus in a bit was snow was easier because you don't have to hike over all the rocks, just packed snow.
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 Looking down to the valley - almost to the saddle!
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 Charlie smells a peak nearby...
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 Finally at the saddle! Whew! The last little bit leading to the saddle is by far the hardest part in my opinion.
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 From the saddle, turn left and continue following the packed trail. The green arrow points to the gully you will be scrambling up. If you don't want to attempt the scramble but your friends do, I recommend waiting at the saddle. A fun idea would be to bring a hammock and kick back while your friends summit.
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 You'll pass through this small rock.
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 And here begins the scramble! The last 600 feet is a class 3 scramble, but it's not as bad as it looks. The very first time I summited Mt. Olympus in 2014 as a solo hike, I was able to get up and down by myself.
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 Looking down from where we came from. The snow was starting to get a little slushy and my friends punched through a few times. Make sure you test each step before placing your full weight on it.
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
Charlie only needed a boost in two areas of the scramble. Otherwise he was able to do it on his own without slipping.
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
Almost there...
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
....keep going...
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 The last 50 feet to the summit.
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 Finally! 3 hours 23 minutes later we made it to the top. This view is looking East towards Wildcat Ridge - you can read more about that here.
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 Mama was pissed Charlie took her seat on my friends lap! LOL!
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 Loving my favorite trail snack made by Wild Friends! This is my new favorite flavor, Vanilla Espresso Almond Butter. I found these packets at Harmon's right by the peanut butter. 
Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
 On the summit looking down to the valley. This was my first peak for 2017, and my 3rd time on the summit.
Hiking Mt. Olympus trail info & map
 Total hiking time, including our break at the top, was 6 hours 32 minutes.
Hiking Mt. Olympus trail info & map
My trail map via Gaia GPS.
Hiking Mt. Olympus trail info & map
 Mt. Olympus trail map looking NE.
Hiking Mt. Olympus trail info & map
Upper half of the trail map, from the 1st stream to summit.







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Hiking Mt. Olympus, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Utah peak bagging
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4 comments:

  1. Haha this hike is brutal in summer. I ended with a blister the size of a silver dollar on the bottom of my foot. Surely it has to be easier in the winter. The day after hiking this back in August Watson was still rearing to go... To be a dog. - Heather @ ExploreWithHeather.com

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    1. It's brutal any time of year LOL! 3 days later my legs are still sore & tight! -Alicia

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  2. You people are crazy:) Way to go, Charlie!!

    Thanks, Alicia, for the tip about Black Mesa Indian Ruins! We are moving to White Tank Regional Park on the west side of Phoenix after Tucson in March. Maybe we can check it out then. I LOVE ruins!!

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    1. I know, the crazy things we enjoy doing! LOL! The soreness and pain is all worth it thought ;) -Alicia

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