Monday, December 4, 2017

Ferguson Canyon Hike - Cottonwood Heights, UT


Another weekend -- another hike.  I decided to do the Ferguson Canyon Hike -- located at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon on the east side of the Salt Lake Valley.

I used to live in this area and I never did get the opportunity to do this hike, let alone even know about it.  It is a popular one -- particularly for dog walkers and rock climbers.  

I went there on a Saturday looking for a short, doable hike that wouldn't completely wipe me out.  Also I needed something with low elevation as to avoid a lot of snow and ice.

The hike is located here, just off of Wastach Blvd.  There is some parking but if you get there late or it is busy, you'll have to park a little ways away, as the roads directly near the canyon are by permit only.  Luckily, I arrived fairly early and found a spot.

The trail head is easy to find and involves what looks like the Bonneville Shoreline Trail:

You basically hike up the trail going north before it turns eastward.

The trail is listed as hard and at first I thought, wow, did they totally over state this one.  The trail was very smooth and I almost felt like running on it.

However, once you get into the canyon it gets more tree-shrouded, and rocky.  You'll be walking by a stream for the majority of the hike and you'll see various small waterfalls as well.

The trail starts to get steep about 3/4ths of a mile in and you'll be scrambling over rocks.  The trail, surprisingly, was easy to follow.  Sometimes I lost it, but if you keep going east, it'll show up again.  You can follow my path here.

The trail in December had an inch of snow on it and I was in running shoes.  I would highly recommend ski poles and sturdier shoes.  There were a few sections where it was really slick and I almost thought about turning back.  I also didn't see anyone after about half a mile into the canyon (on the return trip I ran into nearly a dozen people, however).

There are some interesting rock formations and I imagine this trail is a delight in the fall.  However, after about 1.25  miles the trail suddenly becomes exposed.  No more snow!  My pace picked up tremendously and I managed to make it to Ferguson's Overlook.  Here you can get some beautiful views of the valley and the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon.

I came up with a one-way trip of about 2 miles, with 1600 feet of elevation climb.  It is definitely a workout, but I made the round trip in under 2 hours (excluding kick-back time at the top).

The views at the top are awesome and I found this hike enjoyable and not terribly strenuous.  I could see this one also being busy in the high-hiking months.  So choose your visit wisely.

Enjoy the photos:

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