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Hiking Utah
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By Nate Carlisle, Jason Bergreen, Erin Alberty and Brett Prettyman

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(Jessica Miller | The Salt Lake Tribune) A newly-erected sign on the Mount Olympus Trail, Aug. 10, 2014
Hike of the Week: Mount Olympus

Getting there • The Mount Olympus trailhead is located near 5800 South on Wasatch Boulevard in Holladay.

Directions • Right from the start, hikers will begin their strenuous climb to the iconic ridge by climbing a series of trail stairs, which level out for a brief moment at Pete’s Rock. Though the trail appears to divert to the left, hikers should keep their eyes trained ahead, climb over a rocky patch of trail, and continue upwards.

At a glance

Destination Mount Olympus

Hiking time About 7-8 hours

Round trip miles 7 miles

Elevation gain 4,060 feet

Difficulty Strenuous

Trail head restrooms No

Dogs allowed Yes

Bikes allowed No

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Continue hiking as the exposed trail winds up the mountain. About a half mile up, hikers will see a sign designating the area as "Mount Olympus Wilderness." A little further, and hikers enter Tolcats Canyon — an area filled with juniper trees and gambel oak that provides some shade for those looking to take a brief rest from the strenuous climb. Keep going, and hikers will begin to climb a steep, rocky trail as they crawl over the rocky west ridge of Mount Olympus. The hike up to this point is difficult, but pretty straight-forward — it would be hard to get lost. Though some short-cuts through switchbacks are slightly confusing, rocks and sticks have been placed to block further trail erosion and to help hikers stay on the right trail.

Eventually, the rocky trail will lead hikers to the saddle that overlooks Heughs Canyon. This is where the U.S. Forest Service’s new signage appears. Many hikers have become "cliffed out" during their final ascent/descent while scrambling the last 1/4 mile to the top, and are essentially stuck on the mountainside, unable to climb up or down. Cairns are now used in those rocky areas to help keep hikers in a safe area. These cairns, matched with a sign that simply reads "trail" that points hikers descending the mountain back to the proper Mount Olympus trail, makes what could be a confusing area easier to navigate.

When hikers finally scramble to the top, take a rest on the flat rocks and enjoy the 360-degree view from 9,026 feet.

Jessica Miller

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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