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Porter Fork Trail

HARD 84 reviews

Porter Fork Trail is a 6.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Salt Lake City, Utah that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 6.8 miles Elevation Gain: 3,254 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

cross country skiing






partially paved


wild flowers



Directions from Salt Lake City: Access #1: Via Mill Creek Canyon Road (3800 South Wasatch Blvd.) about 4.2 miles up the canyon to Porter Fork turnoff. Park along Mill Creek Road, vehicle access up to Porter Fork Road is permitted only to Porter Fork residents. Walk up Porter Fork Road until pavement ends about 1.25 miles. Trail begins here and follows the jeep road. Access #2: Via Desolation Trail: In Mill Creek from Thayne Canyon; in Big Cottonwood Canyon from Mill B North Fork, Butler Fork, or Mill D North Fork Trail.

over grown
5 months ago

Overall, great hike. I mean always nice to get out and in the mountains. However, the top of the hike just meets up with desolation trail, so if you plan to go all the way up to the top of porter fork, I would make the loop back down on desolation. (I did not do that but wishing I maybe would have). If you are just looking to do porter fork, I would just go up to about 3 miles. That is where the view is and it gorgeous! It was just me and my dog and I saw no one on the trail.

8 months ago

Great hike. Mostly paved trail. Snow at the top. Beautiful scenery. Fun with kids and dogs (on dog days). Watch for the occasional car.

Fri Jan 18 2019

Sun Nov 04 2018

With the dog, just a long street to walk up to the trail, than trail is steep and not fun to come down, stopped half way on trail . Least favorite so far.

Thu Sep 27 2018

I love this trail as it is very beautiful and seldom used. It is nice seeing the cabins and using the road through the neighborhood.

Sun Jul 15 2018

Loved this trail today! Walked about 1.5 miles up a paved road from Mill Creek Canyon Rd to the trail head - the road goes through the woods and along a creek, and has little traffic. The lower part of the trail continues through the woods, with nice shade for a hot summer day. The upper part starts criss-crossing alpine meadows, more sun-exposed and full of wildflowers at this time of year. Also lots of butterflies all along the trail. The vegetation got dense alongside the trail in the meadows, but not to the point that it was difficult to follow the trail, and I felt fine in shorts despite plants rubbing against my legs. Also quite a few flies but not to the point that I felt motivated to put on bug spray. The trail meets up with the Destination Trail, so a loop is possible (would need to walk a mile back up Mill Creek Canyon Rd to the Porter Fork Trail if hiking down Destination). Looks like a loop would also be possible with Bowman Fork Trail. On the trail part of Porter Fork, on the way up (starting at 10:30 am) crossed paths with a man and his dog, and a group of four people (they told me I was the first person they had seen), and on the way down crossed paths with a couple and their dog, so very lightly trafficked even on a summer Sunday.

Wed Jun 20 2018

The first mile is paved but pretty. We turned left at the fork which may not be the official trail head. It takes you past two more homes. You enter the trail at the end of the street on the left side of the red cabin. The trail is beautiful and meanders with the river. It was overgrown but not crowded at all. It is a pretty steep hike at times, so be prepared to huff a bit. The trail leads to an overlook and you can keep going up to the left. It took us about 1 hour and 20 to get to the overlook, including the paved section. Really gorgeous hike! I also snowshoed here and it was fun!

Tue Oct 31 2017

Paved road not too bad- most cabins shuttered- at 8 am saw no cars. Trail was good until about 8900 ft when it was too deep snow and slippery for me. Saw nobody else the first 4 hours of my hike.

Wed Sep 06 2017

9.5.2017 | 30lb backpack | Recommend: Sunscreen, Long Pants, Bug Repellent This trail should be split into the road portion and the actual hiking portion. The majority of reviews (and even my first experience) are about walking the 1.5-mile paved road. The trail to the pass is another 2 miles, making this a 7-mile round-trip affair. The actual trail starts by crossing a river (or dry ravine depending on season) and continues through forest and beautiful aspen groves. Eventually, you emerge into overgrown basin meadows with striking cliff views (long pants and bug repellent here)! The trail eventually connects with Desolation Trail and that will lead you up to the pass. Unfortunately, the air was smoggy/smokey so views weren't as good as they could've been but I was glad to have finallly seen this trail in all its glory. I believe you can follow the ridgeline to Mt Raymond which I will definitely go back to attempt. This is a hard trail (made harder by my pack) and my GSD and I were absolutely beat by the end of it. Take plenty of water as there's no access after the initial river crossing and enjoy something a little different!

Sat Aug 19 2017

This is great for a quick workout. A creek runs along the road, which is always cool. The road is shaded for much of the day, which was great during summer. I've been 5 times this summer and never saw more than 2 cars and 4-5 people on the road. I haven't gone all the way up the trail, but mile and a half or so I did go was a nice mix of steeper and less steep climbs. It's also great for a snowshoe in the winter. I found it more crowded during the winter months than summer and there is often no parking near the trailhead in winter.

Sun Jul 09 2017

Beautiful trail with lots of shade. I didn't mind the pavement road.

Wed Jun 21 2017

the first 1.5 miles is on a paved road, do not exactly "hikey."

Fri Jun 02 2017

Great hike for a quick workout.

Tue May 16 2017

The trail is paved almost the entire way to the pass. It is a continuously uphill. It didn't really feel like an adventure. It is a great leg workout... especially if you enjoy walking up a street for 1 hour passing beautiful water run off.

Thu Dec 29 2016

Fun trail in the winter. No need to snowshoes. The trail is packed down by skiers and snowboarders, just be wary of them. They don't have the same stopping and maneuverability you do.

Tue Jul 26 2016

6.22.2016 When I walked this in June, access to the upper portion of the canyon was closed so I randomly chose somewhere to explore. This trail is kind of tucked away and you have to walk around a gate to get to the "trailhead". This is a paved road that passes cabins. As this was my first time ever in Mill Creek Canyon I figured I'd just ended up on a country road but apparently it does lead to a dirt hiking trail. This was a great evening stroll and is enough of an incline to feel like you're working out. Whether you make it to the dirt trail or not, the paved portion is peaceful.

Tue Jun 28 2016

Not the nature walk we had hoped for due to all the cabins and walking on an asphalt road. Because of the extreme heat and steepness we never quite made it to where the trail turns into a dirt trail. We did enjoy the wild flowers and listening to the water the entire walk.

Sat Jun 25 2016

We thought was great work out pushing baby carriage up and down.... Would be nicer if more solitude don't really feel like in nature on the paved part

Sat Jun 04 2016

A very beautiful hike. A lot of uphill but we ended up at the base of Mt. Olympus. Great walk through cabin area on pavement and then turns into a trail that is a steep grade at times. Very wooded and lightly traveled in this Saturday that we did it. We only saw five hikers on the dirt trail.

Sun Jul 19 2015

On paved surface in the beginning. After a mile or so it turned to rocky trail with steep uphill. Then it gets flatter and leas rocky over time. Bugs are a problem in the summer. Well shaded until the end. During the summer, vegetation is slightly better controled than the ones nearby.

Sun Jul 05 2015

It was a great hike that starts really easy and becomes harder when the pavement road finishes

Thu May 07 2015

We hiked this May 3. Pretty easy walk up the paved road for about 1.5 miles. Then we started finding patches of snow. We made it about .5 from the summit before we had to turn back. It was a great hike! Lovely views looking back and fun to play in the snow. I usually do this trail each season because I love to see how the views change.

Sat Jun 14 2014

As mentioned the trail starts on pavement and is easy walking. It's steep enough to get you heart rate and breathing up it you push the pace. The trail still has snowbanks at the top so you need to search for the trail. It can be found but you need to think about where a switchback might go and look to the sides a lot in the last steep bowl. We found the trail 99% of the time but searching added 15+ minutes to the hike

Sat May 31 2014

First ~1.25 is on pavement through some cabins. There is a nice stream that goes through one part of the trail. After that it is a decently steep trail. We went the end of May and towards the last mile of the hike it was pretty snowy still. We lost the trail the last .5 miles and didn't know where to go and just turned around since there was a 1+ feet of snow. We got to the base of a bowl which I'm guessing we climb through to finish. We'll probably try it again in a month or two.

Wed Aug 01 2012

Awesome wildflowers.

Sun May 16 2010

The first mile or so is on a road through a cabin area. Makes for a nice relaxing walk. After leaving the cabin area it starts to get steep and stays that way for the next 1 1/2 to 2 miles. The top 1/4 of the hike is great for wildflowers when they are blooming. After finally reaching the ridge you can head west to Olympus and Neffs or head east along Desolation trail to Mill B North or continue on to Gobblers Knob / Mt. Raymond and Mill D North. The reward of this hike is the top 1/4 of the hike and beyond if you choose to continue on.

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