Grandeur Peak – Salt Lake City, Utah

Our trip to Salt Lake City offered us the opportunity to hike some beautiful trails. One was the Church Fork trail to Grandeur Peak. Located in the Watsatch mountains in Mill Creek Canyon, this hike began above 5,000 feet, an elevation that is pretty new to us. The trail begins under a blanket of trees and goes along a stream. Up, up, up! For some reason, we felt the elevation more on this hike than others. I had a tough time at first.

At the trailhead.

At the trailhead.

All that changed when we peaked above the tree line and saw the incredible view. I took a ton of photos at first, but soon realized that the views would only get better as we used the switchbacks to climb higher and higher. ¬†Because this was our first time in the area, we had no idea what our ultimate destination would be. Where was Grandeur Peak? Luckily, I didn’t realize that we would be going so far. I’m not sure I would have thought it possible to complete our goal if I knew we would be hiking so far!

See that peak over my shoulder? That is our destination!

See that peak over my shoulder? That is our destination!

IMG_3039

For those familiar with mountains, this hike may seem routine. For us, it was spectacular. We eventually reached the saddleback with views of Salt Lake City. We continued on and the 360 degree views were amazing. We had ascended about 3.5 miles, to 8299 feet, an elevation gain of over 2,300. IMG_3024

On the trip back, I tried to soak in the views. The trees were a beautiful mosaic of greens, reds, yellows, oranges and silvers. The evergreens, combined with the aspens and maples, made the mountains look prettier than any painting.

We got to the car and finished up just in time to go to the airport for our trip home. The opportunity to hike in Utah was a nice change from Maryland. We’ve had some great hikes so far this year!¬†IMG_3043

Bells Canyon, Sandy City, Utah

The Wasatch Mountains, decked in autumn, were calling to us as we spent the first couple of days of our vacation in Salt Lake City. For our first jaunt, we decided to hike up Bells Canyon to the first waterfall, an out-and-back hike of about 4 miles.

Reservoir_10-13-14

Our hike began with a series of switchbacks that tested our adjustment to the altitude. Then the trail stretched out to our right and led us to a beautiful reservoir. In it was reflected the deep blue of the sky and the changing colors of the trees and shrubbery. The scene was truly serene.

BellsCanyon_10-13-14

From the reservoir we got onto a service road briefly, which took us to the trail upward to the lower waterfall. The ascent was moderate until we reached and crossed the creek. When we reached the steepest part of the ascent, up a linear pile of rocks, we were about thirty minutes from the waterfall. To get to the waterfall, one must take a spur that breaks off to one’s left, around a huge tree, and then descend a rather slippery hillside. The effort, however, is well worth it.

Waterfall_10-13-14