cross country skiing
The Mount Olympus Wilderness was established by Congress in 1984 with the passage of the Utah Wilderness Act. Located within the central Wasatch range, the Mount Olympus Wilderness consists of approximately 15,856 acres and is generally bounded on the north by Mill Creek Canyon, on the south by Big Cottonwood Canyon, on the west by the Salt Lake Valley, and on the east by Gobbler's Knob, Alexander Basin, and Dog Lake. The portion in Big Cottonwood Canyon falls under Salt Lake City watershed restrictions. Photo of a Mount Olympus Wilderness sign.There are several entry points in each canyon and along the Front as well. They include the following: Mount Olympus Trail and Neff's Canyon from the benches along the front; Thayne's Canyon, Porter Fork (private road), Bowman Fork, and Alexander Basin on the northern or Mill Creek Canyon side; and Mill B North Fork and Butler Fork on the south side from Big Cottonwood Canyon. You can also enter the Wilderness about a quarter of a mile west of Dog Lake. The Dog Lake entry receives most of the mountain bicycle violations. Bicyclist like to ride the Desolation Trail to the Mill A Basin Trail and out or exit the forest by way of Butler Fork. Due to the fact that there are no lakes in this Wilderness, it is not used as much for overnight camping. You will also see a little less use here in general except for the increasing problem with mountain bikes (mountain bikes are not allowed in wilderness areas). The Mount Olympus Wilderness provides a spectacular backdrop for the Salt Lake Valley and is dominated by rugged terrain, narrow canyons, and high peaks, including Mount Olympus, Mount Raymond, and Gobbler's Knob. The geologic structure of the area is varied and complex, consisting of granitoid rock masses and several sedimentary formations. Carving of the present alpine topography is due to glaciation with erosion the current dominant force in the land sculpturing process. Much of the higher elevation is alpine, characterized by large, open cirque basins, and exposed rocky ridges. Vegetation includes dense mountain brush mixed with sagebrush and grass. Patches of various firs and aspen are common in isolated patches on north facing slopes. Snow remains in some areas until mid-summer. To preserve and protect the physical and aesthetic environment, National Forest wilderness areas are closed to motor vehicles, mechanized equipment, hang gliders, and bicycles. In addition, parts of this wilderness lay within the culinary watershed for Salt Lake County and special restrictions concerning camping, swimming, and domestic animals apply. Please help protect wilderness for future generations by learning and practicing "No-Trace" camping and hiking techniques. The following acts are prohibited in the Mount Olympus Wilderness Area: Group sizes exceeding 10 persons, camping within 200 feet of lakes, streams, springs, or other water sources, camping within 200 feet of trails, camping for more than 3 days at one site, short cutting a trail switchback, and disposing of garbage, debris, or other waste.
So, I took this trail during a snowstorm this past Sunday (not the best idea). Honestly,it was not a difficult trail until the last mile. Partly because of the incline but mostly because the snow started dumping heavily and I was without poles or shoe spikes. Needless to say I was using the tree branches along the path as anchor for the final ascent. I had zero grip on the way down so I essentially slid down the mountain. The snow had accumulated so much it was a soft ride down.
I hiked this on 11/26. The first half of the hike is not too bad. The second half was steep & snow/ice covered. Once you get to the saddle, you have a welcomed break (flat land) for a short distance and then you have to scramble up (maybe 600-700 ft?) to the summit. Tbh, hiking up wasn't too bad. I knew it was going to be difficult. The hardest part for me was hiking down between the saddle & the half way point. It was steep and very slippery even with trek poles and spikes. If your doing this in the winter, I recommend crampons with a minimum of 8 teeth for the descent. I wouldn't have eaten it so many times if I had better spikes/crampons haha
Hiked this on Thanksgiving 2016. The first snow of the year was the day before, but the weather was warm and clear. About a foot of snow once I reached about 8000 ft. The last 500ft, commonly referred to as the "scramble", were treacherous. Views from the top were amazing! Saw some mountain goats at the Summitt. Recommend doing this without the snow:-).
Sheila and I started off with head lamps at 04:30. By far the most difficult hike I've been on. I read the reviews before attempting it. I figured 3.5 Ltrs would be fine. Wouldn't need a hat or sunscreen because the ratings said 5 plus hours. Let me tell you, it took 12 hours out and back. The last mile plus is a 45 degree angle. Stair master.....the scramble was a bit scary up and down but, doable. there was a 5 year old girl that made it with ease. (pissed me off lol) I'm 60. you can hear I-215 at the top :( I can now say I made it to the top of Mt Olympus. Thanks Sheila :)