Salt Lake City, UT: Grandeur Peak (West Face)

Climb the steep west face of Grandeur Peak for huge views of Salt Lake City and the surrounding Wasatch Range.
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Climb the steep west face of Grandeur Peak for huge views of Salt Lake City and the surrounding Wasatch Range.

While most routes to Grandeur Peak meander north from Mill Creek Canyon, this 5.2-miler climbs Grandeur’s steep and rugged west face. From the trailhead at the northern tip of Wasatch Boulevard, head north on the Bonneville Trail, which follows an old road, toward a junction with the Dragon Tail Trail. Turn left on Dragon Tail and begin pushing up and to the east. The trail’s lower stretch, which leads to a popular climbing spot called the Reef, is well-defined and easy to follow. Upon passing the Reef, the trail begins to trace a spiny, jagged rock formation known as the Dragon Tail. From here, the trail becomes rougher and steeper, winding faintly through brushy, rock-scattered terrain. You’ll have to employ a bit of route-finding to reach Grandeur Peak, which tops off at 8,229 feet.
From the summit, enjoy far-ranging views of Mill Creek Canyon to the south, Gobblers Knob and Mount Raymond to the east, and Salt Lake City to the west. Trek downhill via the well-marked Center Trail, sidestepping the occasional rattlesnake while notching additional Wasatch Mountain views along the way. Follow a Y-junction onto the North Trail, which you’ll follow for a brief stretch before connecting to the Overlook Spur. Just over 0.5 mile from the trailhead, the Spur leads to a flat, elevated knob offering an expansive panorama of the city below. After enjoying the view, descend from the knob and reconnect with the Bonneville Trail to return to the trailhead. 

-Mapped by Charlie Hart

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 8.2

Waypoints

WGP001

Location: 40.707647, -111.795799

From the parking lot at the end of Wasatch Boulevard, head north on the Bonneville Trail, an old road, en route to the Dragon Tail Trail.

WGP002

Location: 40.707952, -111.793021

At the four-way junction, take the middle fork to stay on the Bonneville Trail.

WGP003

Location: 40.70368, -111.789762

Turn left to climb a wooden ramp onto the Dragon Tail Trail.

WGP004

Location: 40.7032, -111.787047

Pass the Reef, a popular climbing area, as you push upward.

WGP005

Location: 40.707092, -111.759775

From the summit of Grandeur Peak, head north on the Center Trail to begin your descent.

WGP006

Location: 40.707706, -111.775063

At the Y-junction, bear right onto the North Trail as the Center Trail descends to the southwest. The North Trail begins with a steep, slippery section, but becomes smoother as you get lower.

WGP007

Location: 40.70895, -111.784113

At the Y-junction, bear right to pick up the Overlook Spur. The North Trail forks left and runs parallel to the Overlook Spur, which leads to big views of Salt Lake City.

WGP008

Location: 40.70908, -111.787047

Grab views of Salt Lake City as the trail flattens out 0.6 miles from the trailhead.

WGP009

Location: 40.707242, -111.791441

Turn right onto the Bonneville Trail to return to the trailhead.

Trailhead Panorama

Location: 40.708247, -111.795309

Left: Center Trail rolling over green knoll. Center: Grandeur Peak's snow-capped summit in distance. Right: Dragon Tail traversing a skyline ridge.

Dragon Tail

Location: 40.703505, -111.782037

After passing the Reef, you'll hike alongside the Dragon Tail, a series of cliffs flanking the trail's northern edge.

The Reef

Location: 40.703424, -111.786608

Pass by the Reef, popular among climbers, as you head north along Dragon Tail Trail.

Mount Olympus

Location: 40.70296, -111.776072

From the Dragon Tail Trail, look south for views of Mount Olympus looming over the southern ridge of Mill Creek Canyon.

Dragons Tail: End

Location: 40.70283, -111.7734

From the eastern edge of the Dragon Tail, look up the mountain for a glimpse of Grandeur Peak.

Nearing The Top

Location: 40.706571, -111.76486

As you near Grandeur Peak, turn around for views of Salt Lake City backdropping the ridge you just climbed.

Looking South

Location: 40.706441, -111.763401

Just before reaching Grandeur Peak, look south for views of Millcreek Canyon and Rattlesnake Gulch. The Pipeline, a popular mountain bike trail, is also visible.

Grandeur Peak: Looking East

Location: 40.707137, -111.759716

From the summit of Grandeur Peak, look east for a view of Gobblers Knob (highest peak in Mill Creek Canyon) and Mount Raymond.

Grandeur Peak: Salt Lake City View

Location: 40.707181, -111.759844

Look west from Grandeur Peak for a panorama of Salt Lake City.

Center Trail: Descent

Location: 40.707677, -111.774924

While descending the Center Trail, turn around for views of Grandeur Peak to the west. In this photograph, the ridge carrying the upper reaches of the Center Trail is visible on the left, while the Dragon Tail ridge is on the right.

North Trail: Descent

Location: 40.709141, -111.777091

Notch views of Salt Lake City sprawling to the west as you descend the North Trail.

Overlook Spur: Looking East

Location: 40.707938, -111.789746

While descending the Overlook Spur, turn around for eastward views of the terrain leading to Grandeur Peak. The North Trail weaves through the valley in the middle of the photo, while the Center Trail and Dragon Tail Trail trace the ridges on the right of the picture.