Backpack from Salt Lake City to Midway

Ben R

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Jun 29, 2015
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I've been trying to find a route to be able to through hike from Salt Lake City to Midway. Depending where I start it should take about 3 days. I would like to avoid as many roads as possible of course. I am running in to a few issues though.

An ideal start would be at the Bonneville Shoreline trail at the base of Grandeur Peak, summit Grandeur, then follow the ridge, or other trails, to Big water Gulch. (Or just start at Big Water, eliminating 10+ miles). Then follow Big Water Gulch Trail head south to Dog Lake and Lake Desolation. After Scotts hill and Scotts pass it looks like Guardsman's pass is the only route, and from there I stay on roads for quite a while. Are there other options?

Has anyone tried this before? What camping restrictions will I face, like near Lake Desolation and Midway Reservoir? Of is stealth camping my only option? As long as I stay off the south slope of Big Cottonwood Canyon is it okay for my dog to accompany me?
 

andyjaggy

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There is a great trail/ATV road down from Sunset/Pioneer Peak down into Midway.
 

WasatchWill

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I'm not sure if it'll help much, but my wife and I did something similar last year. We hiked a route from Park City (Summit Park) to Provo and it took us 4 days. I have a trip report for that here: http://backcountrypost.com/threads/park-city-to-provo-65-miles-in-4-days.3459. Warning: Long hikes make for long reports with lots of photos. Sounds like you would intersect and follow a small section of what we did...

...Alright, I just pulled out my Wasatch Hiking Trails Map. If you're really wanting to start up Grandeur Peak, here's a route you may consider if you'd really rather hike more miles of trail to stay off roads as much as possible (as I would):

From Grandeur Peak, continue along the ridge trail to Church Fork. Drop down Church Fork, crossing Mill Creek Canyon road there, and picking up the Thayne Canyon trail across the road. Go up Thayne Canyon and around Mount Raymond, traversing Maxfield Basin keeping to the left, and into Mill A Basin on the east slope of Raymond. There will be another fork there to take a right toward Circle All Peak. You'll then be able to take a left or keep traversing the northern slope of Circle All Peak for about a mile before reaching the Butler Fork Trail. Either way from Circle All Peak will take you down to Dog Lake. From there you can head on up to Desolation Lake and then pick up the Wasatch Crest or GWT section up there. Take that down to Guardsman Pass, drop down into Brighton, and then move up past Lake Mary, Martha, and Catherine to Sunset Pass. From there, you can stay on the GWT that descends down into Dry Fork of American Fork Canyon and then from there you'd keep to the left and follow the trail up to a ridge where you can then drop down Big Flat and on into the corner of Midway or stay along the ridge trail, #157 a little longer and drop down to Heber from any of the turn offs near Pole Line Pass. Or as @andyjaggy suggested, veer off to Pioneer Peak where it looks like there is a trail to ATV road that descends the east side of Pioneer down into Big Flat and thus on to Midway.

If you're really wanting to go up Big Water Gulch or make a visit there, it looks like you'd have no choice but to walk a good ways along Mill Creek Canyon road there if you stay along ridge from Grandeur all the way eastward to the road. Or you can just drop down it for a visit from Dog Lake using the route above.

I highly recommend going to REI up on 3300 S and picking up a map called Wasatch Hiking Trails there. I can't find it anywhere online. It is printed by Artistic Printing. That could be an invaluable resource for you. Good luck!
 

WasatchWill

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Oh, and a couple other things...if you make it through Brighton between the hours of 11 and 3, make sure to stop by Brighton Cafe for a burger and drink! People bike/backpack and camp all the time around Desolation Lake. I don't know much about MIdway Reservoir though. I guess, if you're looking to go that way, you'd definitely want to avoid dropping down through Brighton and just keep left at Guardmans Pass, but it looks like you might be encountering a lot of private property and what not out that way. So again, you might be better off looking for a camp down around Big Springs if need to stay a night down that way. I also don't think you'd have any trouble with your dog. I just know that you can't let them run loose or let them get in the water up in the watersheds for Salt Lake, which does include the south slopes of BCC.
 

Ben R

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Jun 29, 2015
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Thank you very much! These are great suggestions WasatchWill and Andyjaggy. We are headed out this weekend.

To be able to easily get to a good campsite on day one without over extending too many miles we are scrapping Grandeur peak and just starting from the Thayne Canyon TH. Staying on the Desolatoin trail, then GWT. It looks like even skirting the south slope of Mount Raymond and Goblers knob it is frowned upon to have dogs in the BCC drainage. So going down in to Brighton and hitting Lake Mary and others is out of the question. Unfortunately that may put us on Guardmans pass road, but it looks like there are a few side trails that run kind of parallel and won't be on too much private property. But we'll just be passing through.

The Wasatch hiking trails map looks like a perfect map to accompany us for this trip, and many more to come. Thanks for the suggestion.
 

paulster

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Jul 5, 2015
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Thank you very much! These are great suggestions WasatchWill and Andyjaggy. We are headed out this weekend.

To be able to easily get to a good campsite on day one without over extending too many miles we are scrapping Grandeur peak and just starting from the Thayne Canyon TH. Staying on the Desolatoin trail, then GWT. It looks like even skirting the south slope of Mount Raymond and Goblers knob it is frowned upon to have dogs in the BCC drainage. So going down in to Brighton and hitting Lake Mary and others is out of the question. Unfortunately that may put us on Guardmans pass road, but it looks like there are a few side trails that run kind of parallel and won't be on too much private property. But we'll just be passing through.

The Wasatch hiking trails map looks like a perfect map to accompany us for this trip, and many more to come. Thanks for the suggestion.
Beware, it is not frowned on to have dogs in the BCC and LCC drainages, it is illegal with something like a $700 fine, so being on the Desolation Trail with a dog could get you fined or glared at. Probably unlikely to get busted, but the chance is there.
 
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