Trib Trails: Yellow Fork Trail seldom used except by bees, butterflies and hummingbirds

Views of the Wasatch are there if you work for it, but a stroll along the creek also makes for a nice getaway

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Yellow Fork Trail outside Herriman, Wednesday, July 21, 2021.

Sweeping views or dramatic elements, like waterfalls and cool rock formations, tend to beckon to us when it comes to hike selection. More often than not, though, a hike is just about getting out in nature and away from the crowds.

Enter Yellow Fork Trail.

Located in the Oquirrhs, Yellow Fork Trail can provide unique views of the Wasatch range if you go far enough up the ridgeline. But if you’re just looking for a pleasant hike, mountain bike or horseback ride alongside a small stream with enough shade to prevent heat stroke, it also fits that bill. Picnic areas are sprinkled throughout and, best of all, it’s scarcely used by anyone other than hummingbirds, bees and butterflies.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) A bird collects thistle seeds on the Yellow Fork Trail outside Herriman, Wednesday, July 21, 2021.

The Hike: Begin on the wide trail on the right side of the parking lot, near the house. Within a few hundred feet, you’ll pass by some couches on the right. Don’t let them deter you (or suck you in).

Walk alongside the creek, and within half a mile, you’ll reach the first picnic area. It surrounds a meadow full of beautiful purple thistles and big, bright yellow swallowtail butterflies. After observing the bees and butterflies, which will let you get quite close, continue on for another 0.3 miles, along which you’ll see more thistles and butterflies.

Here, the trail splits, with the Yellow Fork Trail continuing straight and the Yellow Fork Road going right. We stayed on the road the entire way up and followed the trail on the way back, but they crisscross numerous times, so don’t fret about taking the wrong branch. Pass the Nicoletti Trail in another 0.8 miles, then the Turkey Hollow Trail off to the right in another 0.3 miles. Stay to the left to continue on the road. Almost two miles into the hike, you’ll arrive at another picnic area. Go left in the direction of the “Gunslinger” trail and then walk toward the “Motor Driven Vehicles Prohibited " sign. Cross the stream. Going right will take you up to a ridgeline with views of the Wasatch Mountains but will also nearly double your mileage.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Couches are placed on an offshoot of the Yellow Fork Trail outside Herriman, Wednesday, July 21, 2021.

We turned sharp left to follow the Yellow Fork Trail back down along the stream. It will take you all the way back to the parking lot, mostly under a canopy of trees. Keep an eye out for a wooden lean-to and fire pit hidden in a thicket about a tenth of a mile from the parking lot.

Getting There: From I-15, take exit 289 for Bangerter Highway and keep right. Go 5 miles, then turn right onto 13400 South. In 3.2 miles, turn left onto 6200 West. Turn right on Rose Canyon Road in .6 miles. Go 1.4 miles before taking a left to stay on Rose Canyon. The parking lot is another 2.1 miles up the road.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Mountain biking on the Yellow Fork Trail outside Herriman, Wednesday, July 21, 2021.

Region: Herriman

Destination: Loop

Distance: 3.85 miles

Time: 2 hours

Elevation Gain: 494 feet

Dog Allowed: Yes, on leash

Restrooms: Yes (pit)

Biking/horses: Yes


For more trail suggestions, check out our other Trib Trails here: https://www.sltrib.com/tag/recreation/