Kessler Peak Trail is a 4.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Salt Lake City, Utah that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October.

Length 4.5 mi Elevation gain 2,903 ft Route type Out & Back
Hiking Nature trips Snowshoeing Bird watching Cave Forest Views Wild flowers Wildlife Bugs Over grown Rocky Snow No dogs
Waypoints (0)
Getting There

The road to the trailhead closes seasonally, typically in November. There is another parking area near the turnoff on Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, that often remains accessible later in the season. Parking here will add about 1 mile to your trip each way.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (234)
Photos (600)
Recordings (195)
Completed (354)
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Jeremy Searle
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 18, 2020
Hiking

Steep, that’s for sure but it wasn’t as crazy as I expected given some of the reviews. I enjoyed this hike.

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Alvaro Bonilla
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 17, 2020
Hiking

Yikes! This trail is no joke. Goes from hard to harder to hardest. The view at the top is amazing though. Super worth it!

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Kevin Silva
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 16, 2020
Hiking

Great hike. Steep.

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Jaymie Christensen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 11, 2020
Hiking

9/11/20 Short little beasty! Beautiful Views! Steep incline but not technical. I wore my best hiking boots for traction on the way down.

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Jonathan Bowers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 11, 2020
Hiking

Super steep but worth it. The turn off Doughnut Falls trail onto Kessler’s trail is subtle and easy to miss. Keep an eye on the map.

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Braeden Campbell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 9, 2020
Hiking

Slippery on way down. Snow melting.

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Ashton Powers
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Hiking
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Jack Wach
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 4, 2020
HikingOver grownScramble

Lightly trafficked. Tough incline, like everyone says. Bordering a level 2, not overly scrambly. Not a lot of traction and plenty of loose dirt, with great incline makes this pretty intense. Wear good shoes, and enjoy.

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Jack Ledbetter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 4, 2020
Hiking

Great, steep trail, not as loose and scary as some reviews would have you believe: I brought poles and stayed on the balls of my feet while running down and it was a breeze. Incredible views!

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Meghan Peck
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Hiking

Fun hike! Not as intense as some reviews say.

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NYFB YDA
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 14, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

KESSLER PEAK TRAIL HIKE UP= 5@2.5 hr, LOAD= 22 lb HIKE DOWN= 1 hr 45 min TOTAL HIKE= 8, DIF= 5, ENJ= 2, WET= 3 IMHO= To understand how steep, narrow and how difficult this trail is, just look at the photo that I uploaded showing my left foot... meaning that I had to place my right foot at that narrow, loose dirt area in order to continue w my hike and if would miss or slip, I was going down few thousand feet to the bottom of canyon, right on the shear granite walls that u see on the right of the trail in that photo. Two guys made it to the peak, and both were trail runners with no water. One sat at the peak and started meditating. Another guy twisted his ankle which I have no idea how he got back to the bottom of the trail and another guy ended up with cuts in his hand. Nothing about this hike is normal so u need to consider many facts when hiking this trail. 1. First and foremost, you need to find the trail. When taking Donut Falls Trail, u need to go straight up a narrow path, right after the bridge although NF has a sign directing people to the left which is to the Donut Falls not to Kessler trail. Very stupid of NF to misguide people w that sign. That trail leads u to an unpaved road called Mill D South Trail. Kessler trail head is within few feet to the right of that unpaved road MDST. There are no signs or anything leading u to Kessler trail and w/ alltrails.com downloaded to ur smart phone, u will be lost in BCC with no help, guaranteed since this is not a popular trail, there is only 200 reviews not 2000 reviews. 2. It is a steep trail since after all u will be going up 3k ft in 2.25 miles. When going up, u will need to grab on to the roots and rocks so forget poles since u will not be standing but crawling especially at the peak. On the contrary, on descend/return, poles will be immensely helpful. 3. No type of shoe will help u on a slippery loose dirt trail and this trail will guarantee u that. Majority of runners wear sneakers not boots since sneakers stretch while hiking boots don't. 4. There is a reason why runners do not carry anything, especially a backpack. Back packs shift ur weight around and that makes it extremely dangerous & difficult on narrow trails, regardless if u r going up or going down. 5. I like to enjoy the trail with my backpack/hiking boots. Although Kessler is a very challenging, slippery, steep, narrow and over grown trail, it is a beautiful trail but painful to say the least since it requires too much attention to the technical end of the hike instead of the beauty of the hike . Hiking in between those pine trees, in shade, in cool climate with wind breezing through and views all over is what u get with this trail and that is why trail runners w no backpacks are going up and down like goats while others just suffer immensely. I must admit, saw few YDAs hiking alone by themselves which was very admirable especially for this kind of a trail. Kudos to those beauties.

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Mark Lowrance
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 12, 2020
HikingOver grownRocky
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Catherine Chamberlain
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 11, 2020
HikingOver grownRocky

I took stars off this hike for the loose dirt and rock on at least a mile of the trail. In the steepest section, it felt pretty scary to me and my teenager (we hike often, but I admit, not a fan of exposure, drop-offs or scrambling). I wasted a solid half hour debating if I liked it enough to continue. The peak views are great and for how crowded most trails are right now, it was really quiet. I wish I’d brought poles, certainly would’ve helped. My Suunto tracked 6.3 miles from the parking lot — maybe the 4.5 is just from the start of the Kessler Peak Trail.

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Kelly Hollin
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Hiking
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Andrew Armada
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Hiking

steep but good! fairly quick, with an awesome view at the peak

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Thomas Scott
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2020
HikingGreat!RockyScramble

An overall great hike. Kessler is short but steep for the whole way, and is mostly shaded until the top. You will find two caves, and an abandoned shack. Earlier on, you will also cross God’s Lawnmower, which has beautiful wildflowers and cliffs. At the summit there is a beautiful 360 view. On the way down you will encounter a split in the trail, where you have to go right. I strongly recommend this hike.

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jimmy brungos
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 2, 2020
HikingOver grown

Great Trail shaded almost the entire way, I would categorize this as a class 2 hike. There isn't really any scrambling at all. Make sure you have Gaia open before you hike in because the access trail off of the main Mill D trail is not marked and overgrown. After the it's uphill all the way to the top. Make sure you go right when you emerge from the forest on the ridgeline Gaia helps here to. Brings poles if you have them to save your knees on the steep grade going down.

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Rachel Powers
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HikingGreat!
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Francoise Hughes
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HikingGreat!
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Serdar Halac
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Hiking

Steep. Basically like a smaller version of Olympus in that regard. I highly recommend trekking poles, not only to help on the way up when it gets very steep, but also on the way down so it ensures sure footing as you try not to slide down. My poles were super helpful. The right turn towards the kessler peak trail is somewhat unassuming, make sure to check the app's map as you go down the mill D south trail so you don't miss it like I did! I'm a very average hiker, and it took me just under 3 hours to reach the top, and just under 2 to reach the bottom. Make sure you bring at least 3L of water. The bottom part of the trail is very bushy. It almost doesn't feel like a trail. This eventually subsides as the trail gets wider and easier to operate in. The top requires no scrambling. Just hiking all the way up. Overall a really good hike if you're looking for a challenge.

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Logan Foltz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 29, 2020
Hiking

I really liked this hike because it’s steep enough to get in a great workout in just about three hours. Not much loose rock but it was nice to have trekking poles. Mostly shaded and cool at the high elevation. Amazing view at the summit. I did this on a Tuesday evening and only saw one other hiker on the trail. Got lost on the way down and had to bushwack back to the trail, which was a little stressful as it was quickly getting dark. Probably worth downloading the map, at least just to find the trailhead.

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Michael Sansom
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 27, 2020
HikingScramble

Very steep trail. Great workout. Great view from the peak.

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Asher Perlmutter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 26, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Awesome hike - very hard without proper hiking boots and polls as it is very steep and slippery the last 1000 feet.

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