Thurston Peak Trail is a 17.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Kaysville, Utah that offers scenic views and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and backpacking and is accessible from May until September.
Great hike with some friends. This is the highest point in Davis County & Morgan County. This is the start of my journey to summiting the high points in all 29 counties of Utah.
There are several routes to Thurston Peak. The easiest is to drive to Francis Peak and walk the well defined trail along the ridge to Thurston Peak. This route requires minimal climbing, offers great views of Davis and Weber counties, can be completed in three to four hours, but is only mildly satisfying as you let your car do all of the hard work. Better to start from the bottom of the mountain to get the true experience.
If you are going to start from the bottom of the mountain the Adam Canyon trail head is the most popular and most convenient starting place. Leave the Adams Canyon trail head and hike through the sandy bench up to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Now instead of heading into Adams Canyon look for the trail just to the north that heads up the ridge. It is pretty steep from the very beginning. If you haven't done something like this recently your legs are going to feel it. Average elevation gain is about 800 feet per mile.
Early on the trail is really easy to follow. It mostly stays right on top of the ridge. In a couple section you have to navigate through or around some rock outcroppings. After about 2.5 miles the trail can become harder to follow as fewer people make it up that far. If you get off the trail just stick to the top of the ridge the best you can. The trail doesn't make any detours into the canyons. While you are climbing the homes of Layton and Kaysville continually shrink. It is amazing how quickly they become specs on valley floor.
The trail is very open and only occasionally offers shade. Early in the season it will be adorned with wildflowers and crowded with oak brush. The best time to hike it is as soon as the snow at the top is patchy, or late September to November depending on snow. Starting early will mean a lot less sun as you climb. A fit person can expect to spend 2.5 to 3 hours to make it to the top.
Be on the lookout for rattle snakes as they love to sun on the ridge. I have seen rattle snakes on two out of three trips to the peak. At the top there is a monument with some information on Thomas J. Thurston. Thomas Thurston was the motivation behind the first road through Weber Canyon according to the plaque. Elevation is 9,706 per the monument. While not a breathtaking or spectacular as other hikes along the Wasatch Front the peak has it's charm. It is also the highest point in Davis County.
The descent can be hard on the knees and there is a lot of loose rock on the trail so be careful coming down.