Mount Grandeur - Wasatch Mountains

Mount Grandeur
Elevation 8299'

Wasatch Mountains
Hiking & Mountaineering

          Grandeur Peak is the most easily accessible of the major peaks that form the Salt Lake City skyline. For many valley residents Grandeur Peak was their first major summit. The peak offers great views of the valley and year round access to hikers of all abilities.

General Information:
Click Here for Google Earth KMZ file.Click Here for Map          The summit of Grandeur Peak is 8299'. The peak is normally climbed year round by hikers of all abilities. The summit is accessible by two different routes. The easiest and most popular trail is Church Fork, which is accessed from Millcreek Canyon. The second and slightly more challenging route is the West Ridge, which is accessed form Wasatch Boulevard. It is also possible to traverse Grandeur Peak with a car or bicycle shuttle. If you attempt a traverse, the preferred direction is to climb the West Ridge and descend Church Fork.

          Both summit routes have their own personal advantages and charms. The Church Fork route is 3 miles long, follows a well-maintained trail, begins 900' higher, and is pleasant to hike in the evening on hot days. Church Fork is by far the more popular of the two options. 

          The West Ridge route is 2 1/4 miles long, a little more challenging, and offers amazing views of the Salt Lake Valley the entire climb. The West Ridge Route follows a maintained trail for the first part of the hike and a steep well traveled use trail for the second part of the route. This route is enjoyable to climb in the mornings on hot days. The West Ridge trail is not nearly as heavily traveled as Church Fork.

          Both routes will require approximately 2 1/2 hours from trailhead to summit. Both routes are rated 2 III using the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS). The summit is often climbed year round by experienced hikers and mountaineers. Beginners will find summer and fall to be the preferred months to climb this mountain.

          A GPS might be helpful, but is not required for either route. The USGS 7.5' Maps titled "Sugar House" and "Mount Aire" show the area described. All waypoints and maps for Mount Grandeur use the WGS84 datum.

          It is not uncommon to see rattlesnakes on this trail. During the spring and fall, rattlesnakes tend to be out during the daytime when the sun is out. During the heat of summer, rattlesnakes hang out in the mornings and evenings when it is cooler. Rattlesnakes are never and issue and are easy to avoid if you are cautious and watch for them. Rattlesnakes are a major incentive for not wearing headphones when hiking.

Mount Grandeur - Wasatch Mountains Mount Grandeur - Wasatch Mountains

Winter Climbing:
          The 8299' summit of Mount Grandeur is climbed year round by
experienced hikers and mountaineers. If you attempt this summit in winter I suggest you bring good waterproof boots, gaiters and ski or trekking poles. In late winter and early spring the snow will be approximately 10 to 15 feet deep on the summit. I have never required snowshoes to summit since the trail is usually well traveled and packed. If you want to snowshoe I suggest the Church Fork Route as the West Ridge is very steep in places. Avalanche danger is minimal using the West Ridge route, while the Church Fork route depends on other factors and precautions should be taken. You have been warned!

Mount Grandeur - Wasatch Mountains Mount Grandeur - Wasatch Mountains

Church Fork Trailhead:
          The Church Fork Trailhead is located up Millcreek Canyon east of Salt Lake City. From Wasatch Boulevard and 3800 South, Follow 3800 South east for 0.7 miles to the Millcreek Fee Station. A small fee is charged to enter Millcreek Canyon ($3.00 per vehicle in 2016). From the Fee Station continue following the road east up Millcreek Canyon for 2.3 miles to the signed Church Fork Picnic Area located on the north (left) side of the road. I always park on the main road. In winter the picnic area is closed which leaves you no option. In summer there is a small parking lot at the top of the picnic area, which is always full and never has an empty spot. The picnic area gate is locked at 10:00 p.m. so park on the main road if you will not be down before than. If you are hiking the trail, please do not take up a picnic site for parking.

West Ridge Trailhead:
          The West Ridge Trailhead is located east of Salt Lake City on Wasatch Boulevard. From the stop light at 3300 South and Wasatch Boulevard head east to stay on Wasatch Boulevard. Wasatch Boulevard immediately turns north and parallels I-215. Follow Wasatch Boulevard for 0.5 miles to where it ends at the West Ridge Trailhead. The trailhead consists of paved parking along with an information kiosk. The parking lot is gated and closed at 10:00 p.m. so plan accordingly.

Mount Grandeur - Wasatch Mountains Mount Grandeur - Wasatch Mountains

Church Fork Route:
          From Millcreek Canyon Road
(N40 41' 52", W111 44' 32") follow the paved road north through the picnic area for 1/4 mile to the small upper parking area (N40 42' 02", W111 44' 33"). Beginning at the parking area there is a well-maintained trail which is signed and easy to follow. Follow the trail north for 200-yards to where the Church Fork Trail crosses the Pipeline Trail (N40 42' 06", W111 44' 36"). You want to keep following the Church Fork Trail, which is the trail that heads north and follows the stream. From here it is 2 3/4 miles to the summit. The trail will soon reach some switchbacks that climb to a saddle with an outstanding view into Parleys Canyon and the Salt Lake Valley. From the saddle continue following the trail to Grandeur Peak (N40 42' 25", W111 45' 36").

West Ridge Route:
          From the West Ridge Trailhead
(N40 42' 27", W111 47' 45"), hike northeast for 200-yards up the trail to a fork (N40 42' 31", W111 47' 39"). Take the fork to the south (right) and follow the trail an additional 250-yards to a gully (N40 42' 26", W111 47' 29") entering from the east (left). The gully is formed by the first and second ridge south of Parleys Canyon.

          At this point you have two choices and both are equally as good. You can follow a trail to the south (right) which immediately climbs to the top of a ridge and follows it up. Or you can follow a well-maintained trail leading up the bottom of the gully. The trail follows the gully and than cuts north (left) to the ridge top and a view of Parleys Canyon. From the Parleys Canyon viewpoint the route is a well-used hiker trail that follows the ridge up.

          It really doesn't matter which trail you choose as they rejoin 1 mile above at a junction (N40 42' 28", W111 46' 31"). From the junction of the two trails just keep following the well traveled trail for 1 mile up the steep ridge to Grandeur Peak (N40 42' 25", W111 45' 36").

Mount Grandeur - Wasatch Mountains

          Enjoy a short video of a hike to the south summit of 8299' Mount Grandeur.



Grandeur Peak - Church Fork
Length: 3 miles - One Way.
Time: 2 1/2 hours - One Way.
Trailhead: 5,900'
Summit: 8,299'
Skill Rating: Easy, there is nothing difficult.
Season: Year Round.
Equipment: Ski poles & Gaiters in winter.
Water: 2 liters per person.
Difficulties: None. Navigation is extremely easy.

Grandeur Peak - West Ridge
Length: 2 1/4 miles - One Way.
Time: 2 1/2 hours - One Way.
Trailhead: 5,000'
Summit: 8,299'
Skill Rating: Easy
Season: Year Round.
Equipment: Ski poles & Gaiters in winter.
Water: 2 liters per person.
Difficulties: Minor Navigation.


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