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Monday, January 26, 2015

Winter Hike to Grandeur Peak, Millcreek Canyon, Utah

The best way to meet people, is through hobbies.
  And I love to be active so I decided to keep joining Meet Ups (
 until I had enough friends to host a dinner party. 
Thankfully, I have a small kitchen table. 

I signed up with the Utah Outdoors! Meetup and we met at 9:30 for a winter hike up to Grandeur Peak in Millcreek Canyon.  There are two (maybe a few?) ways to get to Grandeur Peak (elevation 8,299').  For our Saturday winter hike, we chose the easier trail up Church Fork.  We drove through the entrance for MillCreek canyon, a few miles past the guard station to get to the trail head.  

In the summer you can drive all the way to the trail head at Church Fork camp sites, but in the winter you have to park along the road and add an extra .5 miles to your hike. 

If you aren't sure which route to take up to Grandeur, consider this: Church Fork is the more popular route, and a little easier as you already start at 900' elevation gain.  The other route is more challenging and is called the West Ridge route.  It is accessed from Wasatch Boulevard and it is shorter, but steeper. You have 900' more of elevation gain, and a half a mile less to climb it.

Here is the map at the Church Fork trail head. 
 "You Are Here" is where we started and my finger is pointing to the peak. 

The snow is well packed (this is a popular Utah hike) so you do not need snowshoes.  However, you do need some form of microspikes as the snow is packed and quite icy in many spots.  A few hikers did it without spikes but when I took mine off to try, trust me when I say it was A LOT easier in the spikes.  You did not even feel them on your feet and they made walking in the packed snow and ice just like taking a walk in the summer.  I really put them to the test when I jogged down some icy trails and I did not lose my footing at all.

The spikes were $40, slipped on any type of shoe, and were so comfortable you didn't realize they were on.  Buy yours off Amazon here! After talking to the gentleman at REI (we bought ours on the way to the hike- better late than never!) he recommended strongly against Yak Traks, stating they were the most returned pair and you can often find broken pieces scattered on Utah trails.

The trail is easy to moderate at first, and the last mile gets steep fairly quick.

Even the parts of the mountain where the sun had melted the snow, the trail was still snowy and slushy due to the way it was packed by all the hikers. 


The views all the way up were pretty amazing.  
This landscape is so foreign and beautiful, it's incredible. 

You are rewarded with this gorgeous view of the mountains, and the city. 
 And you are above the inversion which is always nice. 

It was a great hike for dogs and Olive had a blast.  
Dogs are allowed off leash on odd days and on leash on even days .

This was the group at the top of the mountain.  

I was really thankful Thatcher agreed to come with me, because it is wayyyy less awkward to meet a group of really fit strangers in the woods when you at least know someone. 

I am also happy to report I met a lot of pretty wonderful people. 

While this hike is a popular hike in the summer, it was really great in the winter too.  In the winter, you don't have to worry about the heat, and with the amount of use the trail gets, you do not need snow shoes, just a decent set of spikes.  

Another beautiful Utah hike for the books blog. 

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