Last Sunday, I obtained two bright, burning red shoulder burns from the hot weather we have finally fell into season. I blame that six+ hour hike to the Mount Olympus summit, but it was worth every ache and pain.
I can’t say that this was the best choice for my first hike of the year… it’s most definitely not for the beginner. I was literally aching for days after we finally made it down the mountain. And just trying to huff and puff my way up to the summit, I must’ve stopped to catch my breathe every twenty feet during that last third of the way.
When you make it up to the top though – no words. The view is incredible; it’s a magical feat to accomplish with heaping rewards. Do it if you have the will power and determination; I highly recommend it.
Start by parking at the Mount Olympus Trailhead. It’s well-marked and located on Wasatch Boulevard, approximately 5800 South. This is a very popular spot so arrive early to beat the heat and the crowds. You will also see lots of cars parked on the street; there’s an easy access trail from the road up to the beginning of the hike as well if you are not parked at the lot.
The very beginning has a bit of steepness to it but the well-cut trailblazers have tacked it into a stair-like structure for safer hiking. It’s fairly steep until after you past Pete’s Rock (that orange-y rock that jets out, easily seen from Wasatch Boulevard).
Pete’s Rock is also a popular scramble for a quick, great view of the city. You could also climb and rappel it as well. Mountain Project has some great climbing route information. *There are also a bunch of great climbs for Mount Olympus!
After you pass Pete’s Rock, it’s switch backs until you walk around the west face of Olympus. There are a bunch of great outlooks throughout the trail so feel free to take a breather at these spots.
You’ll pass by a couple of creeks (that may or may not be dry) and I’d say that first one is about the half-way point? Maybe? Maybe that second one…
Depending on where you look, there are varying distances for this hike. Utah.com says it’s a 7.5 mile round trip hike. UtahTravelCenter.com says it’s only about 6.4 miles round trip. SummitPost.org comes in around the middle with 3.5 miles one way. Wherever you look, it’s fairly across the board that you gain about 4,200 feet to the summit.
Once you hit the steep section (and you’ll know it’s the steep section), you are probably about 2/3rds of the way there. Keep it up and you’ll see a nice spot for photos against Big Cottonwood Canyon.
Continue past your Kodak moment to hike the last little bit before the summit. Push forward! It’s totally worth it!! Beware that this last bit is mostly a scramble up the rocky top so take care. Actually, it felt kind of nice to mix it up by using the upper body instead of just the legs at this point.
When you reach the top… take a 360 and enjoy!
Have lunch, take a breather, glam it up for a photo shoot, cool down in the mountain cool, fresh air….
Because, although, going back down was much, much faster… my legs were raw at the end of the hike! At every slight hill where I was too weak to stop, I could feel my legs jiggle with exhaustion.
How did you fair after this hike? Wait… don’t tell me. I already feel out of shape from the hike itself! Aiyah!