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Kessler Peak Trail

HARD 147 reviews

Kessler Peak Trail is a 4.5 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.

Distance: 4.5 miles Elevation Gain: 2,903 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

bird watching

cave

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

over grown

rocky

snow

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.

hiking
snow
1 month ago

Lovely hike and beat the storm today. There was decent snow (2 inches) to make it slippery with spikes. After today’s storm spikes and if possible poles will be necessary. Not sure how well snow stays on the ridge at the top but below that starting at 8000 feet will be a challenge.

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
snow
2 months ago

This is pretty challenging with some very slippery, narrow, and mildly terrifying sections at the top, at least one “I fall, I die” spot as I crossed the God’s Lawnmower on a slippery slope above a cliff. Overall, about the same effort as Lake Blanche, but way more use of hands on sketchy spots. I was very glad to have my micro-spikes, as there was snow and ice over slippery mud on the upper sections. Last night (Monday Sep 23) the highway and Jordan Pines gates were open, and I could have driven in all the way past Jordan Pines to the Donut Falls parking lot. The gate is often closed at the highway lot though, so don’t count on it. The start of the steep narrow footpath is easy to miss as it turns sharply right off the 4WD road beyond the Donut Falls trailhead. Look for a small pile of sticks on the right and use the All Trails GPS tracking. I missed it at first since the footpath looks like nothing more than a little dry creek intersecting the 4WD road.

hiking
muddy
2 months ago

Wicked hike! Definitely slippery throughout with the rain last night. Killer workout though!

hiking
over grown
rocky
scramble
snow
3 months ago

Hey Russo - ditto on your review!!!!! If you want to test your endurance, go ahead. I had this at 2.6 miles and 3505’. All trails is way off. My legs and feet need a brake job after that descent. We all talk about how steep it is, but this is basically a controlled fall all the way down. That said - there aren’t many views of the cottonwood ridge and beyond that rival this one. HELL YEAH!!!!!

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked on an overcast morning, September 3, 2019; perfect hiking temperature. The overgrowth wasn’t that bad: leg-brushing but not skin scratching; fine wearing shorts. I’d like to clarify the mileage discrepancy between AllTrails and the review that said it was longer. From the Donut falls parking area we measured 2.8 miles to the summit. But it’s 0.6 miles to the point where the steep, somewhat overgrown single track trail splits off from the 4WD road that the hike starts on. From the start of the single track trail it’s 2.2 miles to the top. So the AllTrails distance of 4.4 miles round trip is correct only if you start measuring from the beginning of the single track. All in all, a great half day hike. Plenty steep, really good workout, tremendous views from the peak of the central Wasatch. Look forward to doing it again!

hiking
3 months ago

A bit overgrown in the first mile or so, but overall a stunning and beautiful trail. Incredible bang for your hiking buck, especially if you get parking near the doughnut falls trail head. there are probably 3-4 places where you have to cross a chute or Rocky path that you will want to be careful and slow, but other than that, fantastic steep and challenging hike. Took about 1:10 to get to the top and a bit more to get down with some picture taking.

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike and a great workout, even for Peakbaggers. I think I'll petition for a name change for this beast. "Killer" Peak instead of Kessler. Happy hiking and be safe. The view is definitely worth it.

hiking
3 months ago

Like others have said - overgrown, then REALLY steep. Difficult footing, but worth it for the views.

hiking
over grown
3 months ago

First half mile is pretty overgrown. gets steep quick after. view is worth it, and only saw 2 other people. at the peak trail disappears, have to stumble up the last bit.

hiking
3 months ago

A little overgrown at the bottom but trail is in great overall shape. Trekking poles would have been a solid idea.

hiking
over grown
rocky
scramble
4 months ago

Steep trail that oddly seems steeper on the walk down; recommend shoes with good ankle support for the descent. Lower sections have slight overgrowth over good quality packed-earth with some deadfall. The last mile is characterized by some patches ofd loose earth and rocks up to football-sized, becoming persistent near the summit. A short section of class II scrambling is optional in the final 50m to the summit. Trail was mostly shaded from 1530 - 2000; insects and mosquitos were not a factor.

hiking
4 months ago

This trail is longer than 4.4mi. We started from the upper parking lot that is shared with Donut Falls and had to stop before reaching the highest peak due to a time restriction and had already reached 2.8 mi. I forgot to turn off the recording when I got in the car because we were in a rush so my total mileage isn’t accurate. I would guess the distance from car to peak and back would be around 6.0-6.1 miles. It’s a steep and steady incline the whole way. Have plenty of water and snacks at the ready!

hiking
4 months ago

This hike is not for everyone. It is very strenuous at times, but the views are pretty awesome along the way. It was not the most spectacular hike, but if you love a good up hill challenge it's well worth it.

hiking
over grown
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Giggled at the writeup below with the emphatic language about the steepness of this hike. Yes, it is steep. No joke. Your legs will tell you so. And you will believe them. The trail is pretty easy to follow. Some deadfall on trail. One 6ft long snow patch. Summit is very nice and is worth the effort.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful views from the top of Kessler Peak of all the other peaks in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. Steep hike but good trail. Having hiking poles is a good idea for hiking to ensure you don't slip or slide down the steep trail.

hiking
7 months ago

Mother of god prepare your muscles and your lungs and your blood sugar. This is steep AF. Cool, exposed views at the top to explore but damn

hiking
Tue Oct 30 2018

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

Mon Oct 22 2018

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!

hiking
Sun Sep 09 2018

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.

hiking
Sun Sep 02 2018

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.

Tue Aug 28 2018

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!

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