Sunday, August 23, 2015

Big Mountain Hike - East Canyon


With me being a casual reader of the Fast Cory blog, I noticed that he recently did a bit of a run along the Big Mountain trail just outside of Salt Lake City.  

First off, I haven't been over to East Canyon since I've moved here and I've been itching to explore what lay over the east side mountains.

A little research and I found out that the Big Mountain trail is up I-65 about 8.5 miles north from an I-80 exit.  I studied the maps and figured out what I needed and headed out.

History Lesson

There is a lot of history behind I-65.  It appears that the first visitors to that area were the Donner Party, who came to Salt Lake City on their way westward.  One of the reasons why they were delayed was they had to come down the I-65 corridor and actually make a road of sorts.  This was one of their delays that caused a lot of destruction for them when an early winter snuck up on them when they got near Reno.

All along the I-65 there are historical markers and actual trails that were used by the pioneers.  I did make a quick stop at Affleck park where apparently the pioneers made camp for a night:

You also pass by Little Dell Reservoir on the way up, which appears to be a place for fishing:

I finally arrived at the Big Mountain Trailhead.  It is located at the Salt Lake City / Morgan County line (about 8 miles from the I-80 exit).  There is a parking lot on the east side and you walk across the street and jump on a tiny trail that appears to head north.

This trail quickly switchbacks and the initial mile or so is pretty intense.  However, after a while it levels out and the trail is actually highly runnable.  

I didn't see anyone on the trail except one hunter with a bow heading down and another silent on sitting on the side of the trail who barely acknowledged me when I passed by (it was something out of Deliverance and it made me extremely nervous).  I did see a few people when I was making my way down, but this trail is definitely one of the more quiet ones I've been on.

The middle miles of the hike made me nervous.  You go through a cluster of cedar trees and bushes and I was just really worried about a moose or a bear startling me.  Normally I am alert for such things but I also know that with lots of hikers the animals are usually gone.  However, not seeing anyone on the trail made me wonder what I was going to encounter.  Luckily, I had no run ins with wild animals.

There are no sign posts for Big Mountain.  After about 2.5 miles of hiking I pulled out my phone and was surprised I still had 4G connection up there.  Using Google Maps I determined I was at the base of Big Mountain.  There are no signs for it, other than some incredible views.

I went another .5 mile or so, but I was really nervous going anymore despite the clear trail.  The trail had split off a couple of times since Big Mountain and I wasn't terribly familiar with the lay of the land, so I opted to head back.  Until I learn the area a bit better, I'll hold off on exploring.  If I had seen other people out there, I suspect I would've gone further, but I felt oddly uncomfortable out there (could've been the "You are entering Bear Country Sign").

Either way, it was a very scenic hike and I definitely found a bunch more trails out there that I want to explore.  Enjoy the photos:

Looking down on I-65

A prairie in the middle of the 

Remnants of a burned out tree

Approaching Big Mountain

Making my way to Big Mountain

Don't look down

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