Skip to main content

This peak stands alone as great nearby hike

Oct 10, 2019 10:24AM ● By Josh Wood

The long hike up Lone Peak means starting early. (Joshua Wood/City Journals)

By Joshua Wood | [email protected]

Lone Peak offers local hiking enthusiasts a rigorous challenge and incredible payoff once they make it to the top. Getting there requires the necessary precautions and a good part of a day, but the reward is worth it for those who tough it out.

Standing at over 11,000 feet, Lone Peak is a major feature of the Wasatch Front. It is also a goal for many who want to scale the most prominent peaks in the area. 

Planning a hike up Lone Peak requires some preparation. Hikers will want to read up on the trail options to decide their approach. The well-known Jacob’s Ladder is a grueling hike up steep trails covered with loose turf that can frustrate even experienced hikers. It is, however, the most direct route from the trailheads near the southeast corner of the valley and Corner Canyon. Another option is Cherry Canyon Trail, which offers a more gradual climb, though still steep. Taking this approach will add another mile or two to the overall hike.

Whichever trail hikers choose, another thing to keep in mind is the fact that the trails can prove elusive. Having a hiking app open during the trek is a big help, as is going with someone who has already done it. Also, trekking poles are must-haves for this type of terrain.

The hike to the peak and back can take 10–12 hours for most hikers. Taking plenty of water is essential for the journey. Hikers should plan on a minimum of three liters, but twice that is necessary for hotter days. Enough food and snacks to keep up with the massive amount of calories the hike will burn is also important.

As with any difficult hike, people should work their way up to something like Lone Peak by starting the season with shorter, easier hikes. The trail is best approached between May and October, depending on how much snow has fallen. Hikers can therefore plan on a late summer ascent and spend the earlier months of the season getting in shape for it.

Despite the need for preparation and the workout the hike presents, the payoff is well worth it. Even just a few hours into the hike, the views are amazing. Early morning vistas of the Salt Lake Valley below are followed by views of Utah Lake and the surrounding landscape. Plus, once the trail continues beyond the initial few hours of ascent, it becomes more shaded and the scenery immediately surrounding the trail is stunning.

The latter part of the hike involves a good amount of scrambling up rock. The final climb up the rock toward the peak can be harrowing for those who are less than fond of heights. Knowing this in advance can help people decide whether they want to do the hike and how far they want to go. There are a few places on the way to the very top of the peak where the views are just as incredible without the final scare. As always, people should practice caution.

Once up top, the sights are awe-inspiring. On a clear day, which is advisable for this hike, the 360-degree views of cities and mountains below provide the kind of reward to make the long hike worth the effort.

Another thing to keep in mind when hiking Lone Peak is that the trek down takes as much work as the hike up. This is especially the case in descending Jacob’s Ladder and its loose footing. However, once returned to the trailhead, the feeling of accomplishment, of conquering one of the most rigorous hikes in the area, is a Rocky Mountain high that can’t be beat.