Utah Hike of the week: Wheeler Canyon
Directions • From Salt Lake City, take Interstate 15 to the 344 exit at 12th Street. Turn right at the exit, continue on 12th Street heading east. The street will turn into Canyon Road. Follow the road through Ogden Canyon, where you'll find a pull-off and parking lot for the trailhead on the right side of the road, just before reaching Pineview Reservoir.
About the trail • In this five-mile journey, you will experience three different trails, each unique in its own way.
First, begin at the parking area below Pineview Reservoir on the south side of the highway. This is Wheeler Canyon trail, a wide, rocky trail that steadily climbs uphill through the canyon. Keep your eyes trained to the left of the trail, and after just over half a mile of hiking, you'll see a small path that dips down and meets the river. Pools of chest-deep water surrounds a large fallen tree, making a perfect little swimming hole to cool off in during the summer. (Beware, the water is very cold!)
After dipping your toes in the river, head back to the main trail and continue up another half-mile or so, where the Wheeler Canyon trail ends and two others begin: Ice Box Canyon trail and Art Nord trail.
Go right to enter Ice Box Canyon. The trail immediately narrows to a single track trail vastly differently from the wide path at Wheeler Canyon often used by horseback riders and mountain bikers. Here, you are walking closer to the river, and the temperatures dip as you stroll through lush landscapes marked with wildflowers and an abundance of wild raspberry bushes. There are a few steep uphill climbs in Ice Box Canyon, but overall it is a relaxing, peaceful walk through the trees.
The Ice Box Canyon section lasts only about a mile, and after a small uphill climb, you'll see signs pointing to Art Nord trail. The trail, who is named after a Forest Service employee who worked in the area in the mid-1900s, weaves through grassy fields, with the east side of Mount Ogden towering overhead. After hiking alongside a river through the two previous trails, the Art Nord trail seems almost eerily quiet, with no babbling brook filling the void.
After a quiet hike through the fields, the Art Nord trail will eventually open wider and begin to look more like the Wheeler Canyon trail you started on. Keep following the trail, and eventually you'll get back to where Art Nord meets Ice Box and Wheeler Canyon. Continue on Wheeler Canyon to return to the parking area where you started.
Jessica Miller For GPS data on this hike go to: http://www.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip/2360945 Destination Wheeler Canyon Loop
Hiking time 2 hours
Round trip miles 5.1 miles
Elevation gain 1,019 feet
Trail head restrooms Yes
Dogs allowed Yes
Bikes allowed Yes