Grandeur Peak Loop - December 4, 2021


Dec 23, 2013
I've been contemplating this route for about two years now, and with the weather still holding out here in Salt Lake, I thought Saturday would be a great time to give it a try. Jeff, aka Circles, who joined me last weekend on Dale Peak decided to join me once again on this 10.8 mile loop. The route would take us up the west side of Grandeur Peak, to its summit, and then we would head down the most popular route, the Church Fork Trail, before jumping on the Pipeline Trail and then heading west to the Pipe Line Overlook, from there we made our way north until we intersected with the Dragon's Tail Route Trail and then on, back to our vehicles. The Pipe Line trail west of the Church Fork Trail, and the route from the overlook to the Dragon's Tail Trail I had never hiked before, so I was excited to see some new scenery.

We began at the trailhead at 8:00 am and began our route up Grandeur via the West Slope Trail. Now the West Slope Trail is one of my least favorite trails in the Wasatch. It's essentially straight up and exposed for most of the way to the summit. My knees and left hip were not to happy with me yesterday, so I just plodded along until the summit. When we reached the summit, we took one of our three breaks on the hike and enjoyed some snacks and the views. After maybe thirty minutes up top, we headed down the Church Fork Route, where we ran into quite a few people heading up to the summit.

We eventually reached the intersection with the Pipeline Trail, where we stopped and took our second break. A quick snack this time and we were off for Rattlesnake Gulch and the Pipe Line Overlook beyond. It was a little over three miles to the overlook, and when we reached it, we took our final break before making our way back north to the trailhead.


Route overview map


Reaching our trail that heads up the west side of Grandeur Peak


Common Storksbill along the trail


Once again, my obligatory Mount Olympus shot


Parley's Canyon and I-80 still in the shadow of Grandeur


Sunlight on Parley's Ridge


Nothing but up from here on.


My knees are screaming! :)


These asters have seen better days


Sunlight reaching the northern ridge and summmit


The east side of the Dragon's Trail dipping down into the drainage


Catching the morning sun through some Mountain Mahogany above us along the Dragon's Tail Ridge to our south


Alost 2/3rds of the way up we ran into some aster that is still blooming in December!


Jeff, stopping to take a picture of the aster


Reaching the mountain mahogany


Good to have the sun finally hitting us.


View to the north from the ridge


Lookout Peak in the distance. To the left of center is Dale Peak, where we hiked last week


Jeff, getting close to the summit


View from the top, looking east. There is no snow this time unlike two weeks ago on my Dragon's Tail hike


View from the top


Millvue Peak ahead, Murdock Peak beyond, and the snow covered Uintas in the far distance


From Mount Aire to Gbller Knob, and upper Millcreek Canyon


Summit shot thanks to a a trail runner


Snack and relaxation time


Jeff, taking some shots of the valley below before heading down Church Fork


Inversion building up in the southern end of the Salt Lake Valley


Beginning our decent into Church Fork


Oregon Grape along the trail


Aspen along the ridge


Nice view of upper Church Fork with Church Fork Peak. Can you spot the yurt?


A couple of spruce on the ridge


A view down into Church Fork


A look back up at Grandeur from the Church Fork side


The art of moseying. :)


Church Fork


Arriving at the Pipe Line Trail intersection


Limestone cliff band above


A look back up Millcreek Canyon with Millvue Peak at the center


Old piece of pipe and thus the name of the trail


Some donut humor on the pipe.


Making our way towards Rattlesnake Gulch


Entering Scout Hollow with Grandeur above


The Pipe Line Trail


@Titans - more spurge. :(


Unbelievable! A grass hopper in December. That's a first for me in the Wasatch.


The switchbacks down into Rattlesnake Gulch


Next stop: Pipe Line Overlook


View of Grandeur from Rattlesnake Gulch


Jeff on his way to the overlook


National Forest Signpost


Looking at the ridge across the canyon with Triangle Peak in the upper right


View north from the lookout


Grandeur Peak from the lookout


Leaving the lookout


Still some green in December amongst the scrub oak


Looking up towards the summit


Paraglider ahead


The Dragon Tail formation


More spring green in December


Jeff and the Dragon's Tail


I loved the looks of this juniper on the point


Another shot due east of the Dragon's Tail and a second paraglider


View of Grandeur from near the trailhead


Home sweet home! Back at the Jeep. The Subaru is in the shop. It had a seized caliper and they have to order a new one in. Can't
wait for that bill. :(

I've attached the KMZ file of our route for those who want to see it in Google Earth.

The End


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Last edited:


Aug 18, 2018
Nice loop, great to see it in Google Earth. What’s up with your knees?
Too much spurge, it will take over everything….! Uh.
Good luck with your Subaru. Think you got to be happy, if the parts are available nowadays!


Dec 23, 2013
Nice loop, great to see it in Google Earth. What’s up with your knees?
Too much spurge, it will take over everything….! Uh.
Good luck with your Subaru. Think you got to be happy, if the parts are available nowadays!

I think it is called old people disease. :moses: :) I just woke up and my knees were a bit stiff and achy on Saturday.

True. The Subaru will be 20 years old next summer. It needs a new starter also, as I had been having problems starting it periodically. In addition, it needs a new rotor and a brake pad on the right side rear wheel since the caliper seized up there. They had all the other parts, just not the caliper.
Jan 18, 2014
Amazing to see snow and ice in your jaunts a few weeks back and then seein’ it lookin like fall in this one….crazy weather. Love th scenery!
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