Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak

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Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
Kelsey Peak (10,373 ft) is located along the Oquirrh Mountains, the large mountain range just West of SLC. It's not the highest summit in the range (Flat Top Mountain is the high point), yet hiking to the peak is very rewarding. You can knock out three peaks in one morning - Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak (aka Wans Peak on some older maps), and Kelsey Peak. If you had enough time and energy you could make it all the way to Lowe Peak, or if you set your goals really high you could even complete the Oquirrh Ridgeline Ascension Trail (the whole ridge line point to point)!

My friends and I weren't up for that much of a hike - our goal was Kelsey Peak. Before you reach Kelsey Peak, you can knock out Butterfield Peaks, and White Pine Peak. The trail is easy to follow - you mainly stay on the ridge the entire time. Only the first two miles are shaded. It's a good idea to start this hike early in the morning to beat the summer heat, stay in the shade a little longer, and stay cooler. You'll want to carry a minimum of 3L of water.

Dogs can hike this route too. Dogs that aren't used to hiking long distances over rough terrain should stay at home, since the trail can tear up their paws. Bringing dog booties for an emergency is always a good idea. The trail can get hot on their paws, and part of the trail does have a lot of loose, shale rock. I always carry a little dog first aid kit, including temporary dog booties. You should carry at least one liter of water per dog.

Use this map if you are driving from SLC.

Butterfield Canyon is only open June 1 - October 30th. Small, passenger cars can easily make it. There is a large parking area of the top of the canyon where the trail starts. The road is very narrow and winding.

Distance: 10 miles RT
Elevation gain: 3,833 ft
Time: 7-9 hours
Dog friendly? Yes, off leash
Kid friendly? No
Fees/Permits? None

Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
 The trail starts right behind the barricade in the SW corner of the parking lot. As soon as you step around the barricade you'll see a trail heading directly south - you'll want to veer left, uphill. The trail should head up and almost directly south. If you start heading down, you took the wrong trail.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
 The first 2 miles if very green and shaded. You should be hiking uphill the entire time. In late June all the wildflowers were blooming!
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
 Your first open view - you can't see Kelsey Peak yet, but the peak with the snow on it is White Pine Peak.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
 Staying near the ridge, the trail is very well defined. The peak ahead is Butterfield Peaks.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
You will see a trail split around 1.75 miles. A cairn may or may not be there. Either trail takes you to the summit. We chose to stay right to stay in the shade longer for the dogs.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
 When you reach the next ridge, head East to get up to the peaks. A little bit of snow remains in late June.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
 Working our way up to Butterfield Peaks, you should have an amazing view looking down to Tooele, UT (for all the non-Utahans reading this you pronounce that town like "too-ella", not "tool").
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
 You'll reach Butterfield Peaks at mile 2. This is the radio tower that I believe is still running/working. We took our first real break here, had a snack, and generously applied sunblock for the hike ahead.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
 The view from Butterfield Peaks looking East. It was kind of a hazy morning so you can't really tell that that is SLC out there. The mountains across the valley are the Wasatch.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
This photo was from September 2015, the first time Charlie and I summited Butterfield Peaks as a sunset hike. Looks a little different at night!
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
 On the summit of Butterfield Peaks, looking South. The tall peak above my head is Lowe Peak. The highest peak to the right is Kelsey Peak - our destination.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
 From Butterfield Peaks, follow the ridge trail West. The trail will favor the northern side of the ridge, where you'll have shade for a few more minutes.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
 So green and forested! Many people don't realize how pretty the Oquirrhs really are.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
 Eventually the trail will favor the south side of the ridge. From here make your way down to the pass. That ridge to the far left is where you'll hike up and make your way to White Pine Peak.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
 At the pass. Ready to hike up a long, steep section.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
 The dogs blaze the way for us.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
Indian Painbrush & Lupine flowers everywhere!
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
This shows how steep this ridge is. Kelsey Peak is to the right, Lowe Peak to the left. 
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
Taking a break on the ridge. Butterfield Peaks is now right above my head.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
The trail along the ridge can be very faint at times, but as long as you stay on the ridge you'll be fine.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
 Last stretch to White Pine Peak.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
 On the 2nd summit of the day - White Pine Peak (10,321 ft). Someone did a nice job of placing a summit sign there (reading Mt. Wans and some Chinese writings), and a nice/new summit register. The ziplock bags looked brand new. There were also two water bottles. 
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
 We hung out on the summit for a bit, taking in the awesome view.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
 Next, we started to hike over to Piney Pass. We cut across the side of the mountain so we didn't have to hike up and over again. There's no trail here, just aim for the pass.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
 A big snow patch was still present at Piney Pass. 
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
 From Piney Pass, just stay on the ridge as you make your way to Kelsey Peak.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
 Real or vandalism? Looks like brand new carvings to me, though I'm not sure why someone would fake a year like that.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
On the summit of Kelsey Peak, looking NW.

Deseret Peak is the snowy mountain to the far left (West).
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
Summit #Selfie with the gang! 

This is on Kelsey Peak looking South to Lowe Peak. From Kelsey, Lowe is another 2 miles one way.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
On the way back, we took the shortcut route. Once you get back to Piney Pass, follow the faint trail that cuts across the middle of the ridge you initially hiked up. If you had no interest in summit White Pine Peak, you could take this over to Piney Pass instead of hiking up the ridge like we did (see map below).
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
Cutting across the shortcut route.
Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
Back below Butterfield Peaks the dogs started to get pretty hot. We took a break at this snowfield and cooled off.


Here is a trail map for the three peaks. 

It took our group about 7 hours to complete the route, but we also took several breaks and hung out on each summit for at least 10-20 minutes. Fast hikers/runners could probably complete it in under 5 hours (with no breaks).

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Hiking to Butterfield Peaks, White Pine Peak, & Kelsey Peak
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4 comments:

  1. I really like how your group hikes...enjoying your surroundings and not making a race out the hike. The dogs did a great job. That was quite a lot of dogs that joined you. One day I would love to join you and Charlie for a hike:)

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  2. Hi Alicia
    I want to come on the tues eve dog hikes if you still have them. Please let me know how I can find out about them. Thanks! Lucinda

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    Replies
    1. Definitely - they are all announced and posted in the Meetup group here: https://www.meetup.com/Hike-Utah-With_Our-Dogs/

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