Thursday, September 17, 2020

Lower Grandeur Peak Loop

Grandeur Peak West Face trail to West Face Alternate trail
Trailhead Elevation: 4,962 ft.
Turnaround Elevation: 6,728 ft.
Grandeur Peak Elevation: 8,270 ft.
Distance: 2.86 mi.
Elevation Gain: 1,779 ft.
Start Time: 1:37pm
End Time: 2:56pm

Trip Report:
With just a couple hours to spare before I would be picking my brother up from SLC airport, I was looking for a fun hike to get the legs loosened up. I just so happened to have been shopping at the REI on the east side of Salt Lake and realized the west face trailhead for Grandeur Peak was just a stone's throw away. This isn't necessarily the main trailhead for Grandeur, nor is it the easiest trail, but it is the shortest route to the summit. I wasn't necessarily gunning for the summit with the limited time I had and I also didn't want to wreck my legs today. My brother and I would have plans for the Teton Crest trail over the next few days and I wanted to stay fresh.

From the parking lot at the end of the road there is a clear doubletrack trail heading up the hill. There are several use trails in this area so you need to look for the obvious trail that begins to gain the ridge up Grandeur Peak. There is one obvious word to describe every inch of this trail I faced: steep. My goodness this trail was steep.

When you look at the mountains from within Salt Lake City and see how they rise so tall so near the city you can see why the trails are steep. Some parts were so steep I was afraid I'd have to go on all fours to continue to climb. It was also a warm 85 degrees and sunny. In my haste I brought nothing with me but a nalgene bottle of water planning to keep this one simple.

As a whole the trail was easy to follow. In parts it was heavily braided but still evident as to where to go. I wavered as to how far I would want to go today. I thought about turning around after a mile. When I hit that landmark I had a saddle and more ridge climb ahead of me. The map showed I wasn't too far from the trail junction where the west face alternate trail broke off. I decided to hike for that to see if it would provide an easier descent.
I made it there at almost a mile and a half in. One of the interesting things of hiking this trail, and likely others on the east side of Salt Lake, is the stark contrast between the views in front of and behind you. In front of you is a beautiful mountain vista and a trail that could well be back in the wilderness somewhere. Behind you is the large metropolis of Salt Lake. It is remarkable how close together it all can be.

The descent on the alternate trail was no less steep. I did everything I could to not slip and fall in the steep dirt. I was also concerned about keeping my quads in good condition and not wrecking them with too much banging on the way down. My quads are notorious for getting sore after lengthy steep downhills. On the downhill I missed a turn as I neared the bottom of a small canyon, I noted this spot on the map.

As I made it back to the car my legs had definitely had their fill of a workout for the day. What water remained in my nalgene was also getting warm so it was definitely time to be finished.

I have a track and waypoints from the hike all contained in the embedded Google Map. Check it out and use at your own risk.

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