Monday, August 7, 2017

Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak

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Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
Mill Canyon Peak (10,349 ft) sits on the backside of the Wasatch Mountains and offers amazing 360 degree views. For a 10,000 ft peak this is a relatively easy summit - there's a trail most of the way and no scrambling. You will likely not see another hiker which is great, but the biggest downside to this route is the amount of dirt bikes. We passed seven of them by 9am, and the noise and dirt they kicked up wasn't the best, and I had to make sure I moved Charlie far enough off the trail. However, if you can get past that you will get a huge reward in scenery and views on Mill Canyon Peak.
This trail is only half shaded so you'll want to start early to beat the heat. Bring plenty of water for you and the dogs. I found my Paria Outdoor Trekking Poles to be really helpful, especially along the ridge.
I tried using Google Maps to get to the trail head, but it didn't work very well (it told me to turn where there was no road). I will post it here, but I recommend having a good paper map with you and printing off the directions. You can access the TH either from American Fork Canyon OR from Heber, UT. My directions are coming from Heber since that was closer for me.

Start by following the signs for Soldier Hollow from Midway/Heber. When you reach the "T", turn right onto Stringtown Rd. It will immediately cross a cattle guard and become a well-graded dirt road. Follow this for 7 miles until you reach Cascade Springs TH. Turn Right when you reach the second "T" at Cascade Springs. You should now be on a well paved road, HWY 114. Drive 3.4 miles past Cascade Springs and look for the dirt road heading right (there's only one) with a sign for Mill Canyon Road. Drive to the very end of the dirt road where the TH starts on the right. 

If you are coming from the Alpine Loop Road in AF Canyon, just follow the signs for Cascade Springs, then the Mill Canyon Road will be a left turn.

Distance: 7 miles RT
Elevation gain: 1,954 ft
Time: 3-5 hours
Dog friendly? Yes, off leash
Kid friendly? No
Fees/Permits? None

Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
 Sunrise over Soldier Hollow. I drove up from the Heber side since it's closer to my house, however, you can also get to the trailhead from American Fork Canyon. Near Soldier Hollow the road turns to a well-graded dirt road for 6 miles.
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
 After driving for 6 miles you'll reach a small pass, and the road turns into a roughly patched paved road. Once you reach Cascade Springs, turn right following a now, well paved road.
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
 From Cascade Springs, coming from Heber, drive roughly 3.4 miles until you see the dirt road turn off for Mill Canyon Road. From the AF Canyon side its about the same distance from the Alpine Loop Road. Drive to the very end of this dirt road to reach the Mill Canyon Peak/Ridge Trail 157 TH.
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
 The map shows this being a 4x4 road, however, as you can see my little Sonata made it 90% of the way. I literally had to walk less than 5 minutes to reach the official TH. Keep in mind that after a big rain or in Spring this road may be very wet and muddy, and you would need a 4x4 car. Most cars can make it most of the way, depending on how rutted out the road is. I found a pull out on the side of the road that would be able to fit 2 cars. Just past this point the road turned extremely bumpy and I could see deep holes that I knew my car wouldn't be able to get over without bottoming out.
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
 Walking up the rest of the road to the TH.
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
 When you reach the end of the road, the trail starts to the right. You won't see any sings for Mill Canyon Peak - you will be following Ridge Trail 157.
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
 I started hiking by 7:30am, and the temperatures were so refreshing! I knew it would be hot, so the earlier the better with Charlie to beat the heat. You can barely see Deer Creek Reservoir in the distance.
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
 The trail is very dusty, but gradually gains elevation for the first 2 miles. Lots of wildflowers!
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
 As you turn to head in a more East direction, you'll have your first view of Mill Canyon Peak.
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
 #Selfie! It was chilly enough in the morning to need a long sleeve shirt. 

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Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
 You will hike underneath this hanging log.
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
 As you start to get higher in elevation, the trees disappear and you should have an amazing view of Mt.Timpanogos! Down to a tank top now. Provo Peak is the summit to the far left.
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
 You can see exactly where you need to hike from here - follow the ridge all the way up. The peak you see here is a false summit.
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
 Working our way up the ridge - the trail is either very faint or non-existent at times. However, as long as you stay on the ridge you'll make it.
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
 The views up here are SO pretty! I caught Charlie licking his nose.
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
 Still hiking up.
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
 You'll pick up a good trail again half way up the ridge. This is also where I found the hike to be hardest since it's pretty steep. A good calf-burner!
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
 When you reach the false summit you'll hike through a small area of boulders. There was also a huge cairn built here - this isn't the true summit so I'm not sure why people would build that here. Peak Baggers, continue following the ridge.
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
 The final stretch. Again, the trail becomes faint/non-existent but it's easy to see your destination.
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
Almost there!
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
 YAY, we made it to the summit in 1 hour 45 minutes!
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
 Summit dog!
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
Summit Selfie with Charlie! We made it to the summit by 9:15am.
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
Did I mention how awesome the views are on Mill Canyon Peak? Look at all the peaks you can see from here. I've got AF Twin Peaks, Sugarloaf Peak, Sunset Peak, and Clayton Peak on my blog.
Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon
Quick note about older maps/trail guides. The original route was following the blue arrows, which I anticipated hiking but never saw the trail splits. There has been a lot of trail reconstruction, and the correct route is now shown in red. The two blue arrows are for the old trail, which has been blocked off and no longer exists.
Here's the current trail map.

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Hiking to Mill Canyon Peak, American Fork Canyon

4 comments:

  1. I did this one in winter, except we did it from Tibble Fork in AF Canyon. The trail went on and on and on forever! Need to try it again from where you did! Thanks for the great trip report and description!

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    1. Wow! Yeah someone else said going that route is 16 miles?! Too long when you can cut it in half lol -Alicia

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  2. Alicia...I would like to purchase a back pack for my Bouvier so he can help carry some of his supplies. Can you recommend one perhaps what Charlie has? I love your site and thank you for making it for all of us that hike with dogs.

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  3. Charlie wears the Ruffwear Approach Pack. We've had it for about 3-4 years and love it! -Alicia

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