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Hiking Neff's Canyon to the Ridge

Neff’s Canyon is located just south of Millcreek Canyon near Mt. Olympus, which starts in the White Hill Estates neighborhood. The trail works steeply up the ravine until it reaches a popular turnaround point, the meadow, and continues on to the ridge. Neff’s Canyon gains a steady elevation of 1,000 ft per mile, so you’ll definitely get a great workout in. Hike up as far as you feel like it, or make it all the way to the ridge where you’ll have an amazing view looking down into Big Cottonwood Canyon.


Neff’s Canyon is dog-friendly, and is a popular hiking spot for after work. The trail is accessible year round, and a creek flows through mid-summer. After that, the only fresh water source is just below the ridge flowing out of an old pip into a tin bathtub. Depending on the year, the stream may flow down for about 1.5 miles or so, giving the dogs a quick spot to drink. In early spring, you’ll want to wear water shoes to cross all of the water.
I’ve hiked up Neff’s countless times after living in Utah for 4 years, but this was my first time to the ridge. Normally I just hike up a mile or so then turn around for a quick walk with Charlie. This time, I wanted to see the meadow and ridge, plus I knew it would be a bigger day and would work my legs hard.
 

Use this map, if driving from the North.

Use this map, if you are driving from the South.

 

Distance: 8 miles RT

Elevation gain: 3,600 ft

Time: 4-6 hours

Dog friendly: Yes, off leash

Kid friendly: Yes, but only for the first mile

Fees/Permits: None

Hiking Neff's Canyon to the Ridge

To get to the trailhead you’ll drive through a neighborhood. You’ll also see a sign for Dead End, but it actually leads to the TH parking lot. Its a large parking lot, but there are no restrooms. The parking lot is only open from 6am-10pm, so plan your hike accordingly.

Hiking Neff's Canyon to the Ridge

From the parking lot you’ll see several trails – they all eventually link up, but the easiest is to follow the trail behind the two signs.

Hiking Neff's Canyon to the Ridge

You’ll walk along this old jeep road, and pass an old water tank on your left. Keep following the wide road as it starts to turn left (East) into the canyon.

Hiking Neff's Canyon to the Ridge

Again, you’ll see more trail splits but they all connect. Once the trail curves into the canyon, stay right heading up. If you hike down in elevation, you went the wrong way.

Hiking Neff's Canyon to the Ridge

Hike by the “Neff’s Canyon Spring” (Gaia GPS labels it) – its one of the few flat areas.

Hiking Neff's Canyon to the Ridge

Then pass by the official Mt. Olympus Wilderness sign. From here, you’ll hike up two really steep sections.

Hiking Neff's Canyon to the Ridge

This is where the spring should still be flowing year-round. It flows from the bathtub higher in elevation (you’ll end up hiking by it) down here – makes for a great water stop with dogs.

Hiking Neff's Canyon to the Ridge

The trail hikes through a large Aspen grove. In Fall, this section is gorgeous!

Hiking Neff's Canyon to the Ridge

Whew! Need to stop for a quick break. My calves were already feeling the steepness. Compression socks would have beens super helpful!

Hiking Neff's Canyon to the Ridge

At roughly 2.5 miles you’ll reach the Neff’s Canyon Meadow. Keep an eye out for the trail turning right through here.

Hiking Neff's Canyon to the Ridge

I really liked these large rock slabs that make up a few peaks. They don’t have names, just elevation as markers on the map.

Hiking Neff's Canyon to the Ridge

More Aspen groves. So sad to see everything dead and waiting for Winter to arrive.

Hiking Neff's Canyon to the Ridge

Here’s the upper spring that flows year-round – it flows out of an old pipe into this tin/wood bathtub. On the Gaia GPS app it will show as “Spr”. You can also see that we were now in snow from the storm SLC got back in October. Wished I had brought my microspikes! They’re in my pack for winter now after doing this hike. From here, you should only be about 15 minutes from the ridge.

Hiking Neff's Canyon to the Ridge

Looking back, the clouds were starting to sock in on us and it started to flurry very lightly.

Hiking Neff's Canyon to the Ridge

Approaching the ridge!

Hiking Neff's Canyon to the Ridge

Charlie was super excited!

Hiking Neff's Canyon to the Ridge

Wow! Totally worth the effort to hike all the way to the ridge. I’ll definitely be hiking this again next summer when it’s green. It took us 2.5 hours to get here. If you wanted to continue, you could hike along the ridge in either direction. East will take you over to Thanye’s Peak and canyon, West will take you back towards Mt. Olympus and Wildcat Ridge.

Hiking Neff's Canyon to the Ridge

What Neff’s Canyon looks like Summer!

Tip:
A shorter, easier option is to just hike to the Mt.Olympus Wilderness sign. This is about 2 miles one way, and great for after-work to get the pups out.

Here’s my trail map – unfortunately my phone died 2/3 of the way up! The trail is easy to follow the whole way until you reach the ridge. The pin is where the meadow is located.

Mt. Olympus

Hiking to Mt. Olympus, Utah

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Hiking Neff's Canyon to the Ridge

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