This is the first in a series of three hikes that will take beginner hikers to the top of a mountain. Check back next week for part two of this journey, where we travel to Weber County and add considerable distance and a bit of elevation.
When I moved to Salt Lake City almost four years ago from Oklahoma, the Wasatch Mountains entranced me. They made my life a movie, providing a grand and beautiful backdrop for my most mundane chores. Getting gas or driving to the grocery store became a transcendental experience. I’d take pictures of my view from parking lots to send to people as if I was on vacation and not dropping a package at the post office.
But after a while of living here, just seeing the mountains wasn’t enough. I needed to actually climb one.
It seemed doable, even for someone like me who could not run a mile. From down here in the valley, the peaks seem smaller and almost accessible. Then I tried to climb one.
It was hard. But worthwhile. I’ve learned that is how it goes with peak bagging.
I still haven’t reached any of the Wasatch’s premier peaks. I haven’t tried Mount Olympus, or Pfeifferhorn or even Mount Timpanogos. I have, however, gotten to the top of some of the less intimidating mountains. They’re good starting points for people with peak fever but who aren’t already avid hikers.
If that describes you, keep reading. In the coming weeks, we’ll be showcasing three easy hikes (and please understand that climbing to the top of a mountain, no matter how small, is not actually easy) that’ll get you to a mountain summit.
We’ll start with the easiest one.
Avenues Twin Peaks
The Hike: This is about as mellow as it gets if you’re looking to bag a peak. Some might even contend it shouldn’t be in this list, but if it’s got “peak” in the name, it’s got to be a peak. That’s the rules.
From the trailhead atop Terrace Hills Drive, the hike begins with a short but steep ascent during which you’re partially covered by the trees. The shade is nice, but soak it in, because it’s about all you’ll get on this hike. For that reason, consider going early in the day or later in the evening as it gets hotter this summer.
You’ll follow this path up and reach your first viewpoint of Salt Lake City, where the trail veers to your left. You’ll see a metal signpost telling you there are 1.5 miles left to reach the summit.
Continue on that trail until you reach a convergence of trails and a wooden fence. To the right of the fence, you’ll see two possible routes. One will keep you on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. The other is just above that trail and takes you on a bit of an imposing climb. That’s the trail you want. Follow it up. At the top of that ridge, you’ll get an even better view of the Salt Lake Valley. Depending on the time of year, the yellow arrowleaf balsamroot flowers are abundant here (and beautiful).
From this point on, you’ll begin to notice a lot of smaller trails people have carved looking for shortcuts or alternate routes. Stick to the main trail along the ridgeline for the next half mile (it’s very wide, rocky and sometimes seems unnecessarily steep).
There is one last steep climb. It’s approximately 175 feet of elevation over about two-tenths of a mile, but once you reach the top, the summits are in view and very much within reach. From there, there’s about another few tenths of a mile to go.
The first summit is gravelly and slippery. The next summit is just a brief descent and ascent from the first peak, with a better view of the valley. It is also gravelly and slippery.
Enjoy the sights, take some photos, feel incredible pride for having bagged a peak and head back down.
Descending will be much easier, just watch out for traction issues because of the gravel. Return the way you came.
Getting there: The trailhead for this hike is at the top of Terrace Hills Drive in the Avenues. Take 11th Avenue in Salt Lake City toward the cemetery. Turn north onto Terrace Hills Drive and follow it to its end. There’s street parking available near the trailhead. Depending on the time of day, you might have to park a short walk from the trailhead, which is on the east side of the dead-end at the top of the street. There’s also a trash can there so you can dispose of dog poop.
Region: Wasatch Canyons/Avenues
Destination: Two peaks
Distance: 3.6 miles
Time: 1 hour, 34 minutes
Elevation gain: 1,000 feet
Dogs allowed: Yes, on leash
Bikes allowed: Yes
If you do this hike and a ready for more of a challenge to get your next peak, check back next week. We’ll kick it up a notch.
Follow this path for more Trib Trails: https://www.sltrib.com/tag/recreation/