Monday, May 8, 2017

Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak

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Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak
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. Most people hike from to the summit from Millcreek at the Church Fork Trailhead, since it's considered the "easiest" way to the summit. From Church Fork the trail is 6 miles RT with 2,900 ft. Want a challenge and a better workout? Hike the West Ridge to Grandeur Peak! Taking this route gains 3,300 ft in 4.4 miles RT. This route is not for the beginner hiker due to the steepness. 


Many people make it their goal to summit Grandeur this way in under 1 hour. My time? 1 hour 50 minutes - and you all know I hike all the time so that tells you how steep it is! The fastest time I know of is 38 minutes - wow! The West Ridge is more popular with runners, but hikers along with dogs also frequently hike here. You'll want to start hiking this trail early in the morning to beat the heat - there is zero shade on the trail until the last 1/2 mile. Bring plenty of water for both you and your dogs. Hiking poles are also helpful for this route.

There are two ridges you can take for the first half of the hike - the north or the south ridge, both on the West face or ridge. My preference is to hike UP the north ridge, summit, then hike DOWN the south ridge. I've marked the route on my maps below. You can go either way it's just my preference. Both are steep with loose rock, but I do think the north ridge is less crowded and you can see better into Parley's Canyon.


From SLC, use this driving map.

Distance: 4.4 miles RT
Elevation gain: 3,300 ft
Time: 2-4 hours
Dog friendly? Yes, off leash
Kid friendly? No
Fees/Permits? No
Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
The parking lot can hole about 20 cars, plus there's space just outside these gates on the street. They close this gate at 10pm so make sure you get down in time to drive out. There has also been a lot of vandalism and glass damage in this parking lot. Don't keep valuables in your car!
Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
The first 10 feet of this hike are part of a small park and dogs are supposed to be leashed. Past this sign you can unleash them (however many people just start off without a leash from the parking lot).
Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
Follow the trail to the right to get up to the BST (Bonneville Shoreline Trail).
Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
You'll see two trails. The one on the left take the North ridge, the one to the right takes the South Ridge. As mentioned before, I like to hike UP the North ridge.
Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
This route takes you up through the small gully.
Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
You'll see a trail heading up to the ridge in two spots - you can take either one to get to the ridge. I usually take the 2nd trail.
Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
You should now be on the ridge and can sort of see down into Parley's Canyon. Across the canyon is the Emigration Canyon Ridge for Dale & Perkins Peak.
Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
Have I mentioned how steep this hike is?
Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
When you hike up the North ridge, the trail eventually intersects with the South ridge trail. Turn left to continue up to Grandeur Peak. The only shade on this entire route is the last 1/2 mile.
Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
Looks like a little bit of snow still remains.
Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
Whew, this route is a butt-kicker! Hiking poles are definitely helpful.
Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
Getting higher...
Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
Ok, this trail just seems never-ending!
Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
Found a small patch of snow. You'll want to make sure you shoes have good tread so you don't slip as easily on the loose rock. I'm using my Inov8 Mud Claw 300s here. And yes, I sometimes buy men's shoes since they are wider! I alternate between these shoes and my Altras.
Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
A bit more snow left near the peak.
Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
Finally on the summit! 

Let me say that I am not a person who normally sweats no matter how hard I hike. That's just how my body is. It takes awhile for me to warm up any time of the year, so you know it's hot when my whole back is drenched! Not only was it hot, but it was a really tough hike for me. My exercise-induced asthma was not a fan of this route (but of course, I don't let that stop me!).
Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
Working my way back down. I just love the green hills with snowy peaks in the distance!
Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak, Hiking in Utah with Dogs
On the way down, you should see the trail you hiked up, if you took the North ridge.
Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak
I love doing this hike at sunset as well!
trail map for the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak
Here's a trail map. I've marked the way I hike up and hike down. The halfway mark is a great place to hike just half of this route. I often hike the "half loop" as I call it, during the week after work.
trail map for the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak
Another angle of the trail map for the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak.


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Hiking the West Ridge of Grandeur Peak

4 comments:

  1. Usually the steepness doesn't come through in photos, but your photos sure show the steepness. Wow! What a climb! Great job!

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    1. Thanks! One of the steepest in the Wasatch! -Alicia

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    2. Thanks Alicia! Found your blog not too long ago, so I've gone back and read most everything! Thanks for all the detailed info and photos! I've done lots of the hikes in the past (or partials of them !! ). I've turned 60 and am slowing down but still need to tackle this West Grandeur trail as I've only been about 3/4 of the way up. Hope I can get up there slowly, steady and sixty! Also, I'm collecting things for my dog first aid kit, thanks. Your blog and emails are the best - I have a Rhodesian Ridgeback, have hiked with a dog for 28 years! I'm also going to go out the The Notch for sure!!!! Wish I could keep up with your young legs!!!

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    3. Awesome, glad you found my blog! I hope to keep hiking when I'm 60! Have fun - there are SO many trails to explore with our dogs in UT! -Alicia

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