Kessler Peak Trail

HARD 98 reviews

Kessler Peak Trail is a 4.4 mile lightly 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.

4.4 miles
2,874 feet
Out & Back


nature trips



bird watching




wild flowers



over grown



no dogs

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.

3 months ago

I didn’t find the views really worth the effort on this one. It’s a short punishing hike for sure.

3 months ago

Such a stunning view. Well worth it, very steep. Add 2+ miles since the road is closed and you have to walk to the donut falls parking lot. Quite a bit of snow for the second half!

5 months ago

We were looking for a short hike that was challenging, and we definitely got it with this one. The hike is pretty much a climb. No scrambling, you’re just constantly going up. The view at the top is amazing, and you can even see Twin Peaks from there. Fitbit tracked 7 miles round trip, so the mileage on the app is misleading. Took us 4 1/2 hours total, including the 30 minutes we spent at the top.

5 months ago

The trail is steep most of the way. The overgrowth is mostly after the turnoff by the cairns. Overall a very good trail up towards the top with a great 360 view. Mostly shaded.

5 months ago

Pretty hike (really a CLIMB!) with shade and lush foliage to the top. It’s a beast though, all the way up and down. Loose rocks and dirt, we slid a couple times so be careful. Very pretty at summit!
Apple Watch clocked nearly 7 miles round trip and 4,500 foot elevation gain!! So, much longer than the app says. Took us 4 hours because you have to be very careful going down.
When you cross bridge over creek, walk west behind the trail sign then left on service road till you see cairn on right, maybe 200 yards, then go up!

6 months ago

So lovely. Challenging!

6 months ago

Standing on the peak as I type. Going down may be a bit treacherous. That was the steepest 2 miles I have ever hiked up.

6 months ago

Awesome hike; great views at the top and well worth the steep elevation gain.

Hiked up and ran down from the First parking lot: 2:39

6 months ago

A relentlessly steep hike, and once at the top, the smoke created a haze that made it hard to enjoy the view. Nevertheless, it's a great hike and an even better workout. I took 3 liters of water and ran out by the time I was at the bottom.

6 months ago

Steep in sections, but nothing too technical. You aren't likely to see anyone else once you split off from the Donut Falls trail. The views are great, I recommend it!

6 months ago

I’m officially addicted ... 7 peaks in 7 weeks ... Mt. Kessler was a “shorter” one but gains elevation RAPIDLY ... Watch for the Cairn on the right when you are on the Service Road or you’ll think you are on the right path but are actually on private property ...

6 months ago

The trail is a tad overgrown at the beginning, but nothing too bad. This hike is decently well shaded for the first 2/3 of the trail as well. As the other reviewers stated, it is steep, but has an amazing view from the top and is great for getting away (only saw 1 other person).

6 months ago

Kessler Peak was definitely a hike to remember. Probably one of the more difficult hikes I’ve done in Utah. Glad we went in the early morning because by the time we were coming down, the sun was shining quite a bit. Great views from the top!

7 months ago

7 months ago

Steep but well worth it. Didn’t see a soul the entire hike after the turn off, so would recommend a hiking buddy and good hiking shoes. There’s a lot of loose dirt and rocks towards the top near some drop-offs.

8 months ago

Great hike.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Trail is beautiful right now. Snow starts to pop up intermittently around the halfway point but it isn't too bad. There's a decent stretch that crampons would've been helpful for, but for the most part a pair of good grip-y shoes will be fine. Super steep, though. Pretty much the entire way up. Zero signage though, so double check on the map here to make sure you're staying on track.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

The trail was steep, muddy and a tad snowy, with not much of a view. However, the view at the top is absolutely bonkers.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Steep and slippery but fantastic views. Some snow and mud. Even with a hiking pole I slipped several times. Better than neffs for city views.

Monday, September 25, 2017

great steep hike.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Here are some more specific directions:

Park at donut falls parking lot and begin walking the donut falls trail as if that's where you are headed. Continue along the trail until you cross the creek over the bridge. At this point you will be at a fork in the trail. There will be a trail sign for donut falls pointing to the left as you face it. Walk west, past and behind this trail marker for donut falls. You will immediately hit a service trail, it is wide and can't be missed. Turn left, head up the trail approximately 250 yds. You will see a trail on your right headed up the Mtn. It may be very overgrown in the spring. This is the trail to Kesslers peak. And it's hard as hell. Very steep throughout. But great views at the top.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Great trail, especially if you like the steep uphill stuff.

Bring your poles!

Saturday, September 02, 2017

If you do not like heights and crossing open slopes, it is not the hike for you! Take poles, take water, wear good hiking shoes. Loved this hike though I did not bag the Peak. I am a saddle bagger. This a steep climb and as you near the top you have open slopes, greater views, a beautiful sloping meadow of wild flowers, and 2 open mines! Go early and park at Donut Falls. Head west along the road and over the creek and pass through the gates service road. Follow the road a bit,. When you hit the Y in the road keep right. The trail head is unmarked and on your right. Lots of shade and some old pine groves! Enjoy!

Friday, August 25, 2017

A very strenuous steep hike.

Descending was a bit tricky as some sections of the path have loose soil with rocks on top.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Awesome hike with great views. Some really steep parts made going down a little tricky...with an 8 year old

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Did this with my 8 month old in a backing pack. It was a little cold for her at the start so I should have brought her warmer clothes. It was steep! We initially missed he trailhead, but once we went back and found it he trail was well cleared and easy to follow. The trail wasn't crowded at all. We got there at 7:20 and I would recommend that because by the time we got back the parking lot was full of people doing donut falls. It was a weekday in early August. No snow.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Hiked this today, July 9th. As of now, there is no snow field to pass through. You can see the remnants of it, but it is passable. When you reach the snow/ first avy area, you have around1.1k feet to the top. I saw two mines. The fist appeared stable; it's only around 150ft to the end and around 30ft deep. I didn't have an ascender and didn't want to get stuck in the second one. Anyone have any idea how large it is?

The main route contained no scrambling that I saw. It was a constant pitch, but not overly difficult. I found it to be easier than Olympus as a reference.Shaded most of way - which is nice. I fifth the opinion that the initial trail head is easy to miss; however, Suunto has it on their terrain map if you have one of their GPS watches.

Quick hike; moderate difficulty; worth the hike

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

This was a great hike! Be sure to get an early start if you plan on hiking this trail any time over the next couple months. I decided to start my hike early in the morning and it still ended up being fairly hot by the time I got back to my car. The snow on the north slope wasn't much of an issue and should be gone within a couple weeks. Be prepared to work for it over the last bit of this hike, as it becomes fairly steep on the final push to the ridge. However, the payoff/view at the peak is more than worth it.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Great hike to get away from people. Snow field was only about 70 feet to cross today, and was a bit sketchy, especially on the way back, as the sun had warmed it up. Peak was great, last KM was super steep and a bit rough.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

As noted previously the trailhead is easy to miss. If you were to keep going straight from where the Donut Falls trail intersects with FR019 you'll see it. Don't have too much to add to the previous reviews. Pretty steep, but you'll be alone and the views are awesome. I turned around at the snowfield because I wasn't comfortable crossing it and I was a bad hiker, alone without telling anyone where I was. Would have laid there for quite awhile if I slipped haha. Will definitely be back in a few weeks when the snow is all the way out.

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