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 Utah Travel Center ActivitiesHiking • Mount Ogden

Ogden Peak

Distance: 10.0 miles (round trip)

Walking time: 7 hours

Elevations: 4,730 ft. gain/ loss
     • Malans Peak Trailhead (start): 4,840 ft.
     • Malans Peak: 7,080 ft.
     • Mount Ogden: 9,570 ft.

Trail: There is no trail for most of the last mile. Furthermore, this part of the route is very steep, gaining 1,600 feet in one mile. It is a very strenuous climb.

Season: Summer through mid-fall. The upper parts of the trail are usually covered with snow from mid-November through mid-June. For current conditions call the Ogden Ranger District, Wasatch-Cache National Forest, at (801) 625-5112.

Vicinity: Near Ogden

     Mount Ogden is a popular hike primarily because it is so close to the city of Ogden. The trailhead is only a three mile drive from Weber State University. The lower part of the climb, across Malans Peak and into Waterfall Canyon, is very pleasant, but beyond that the route to the top of the mountain is extremely strenuous. There are some gorgeous views from the peak, not only of the city of Ogden, but also of the Snow Basin ski area and Pineview Reservoir. Unfortunately, however, the summit is now marred by the presence of a microwave transmitting tower. Mount Ogden can also be reached from its east side by way of a jeep road that ascends from Snow Basin to a saddle 0.2 mile south of the peak.

     There may be some confusion near the trailhead because of the existence of many intersecting ATV and motorcycle trails. Just make sure that the path you choose heads east, toward the obvious mouth of Taylor Canyon. After you enter the canyon, 0.3 mile from the trailhead, you won’t encounter any more ATV roads.
     The trail follows a picturesque stream through the bottom of Taylor Canyon for about 0.5 mile before climbing out the south side to begin its ascent up Malans Peak. Next, a series of wide switchbacks ascend through a forest of Douglas fir to an elevation of about 7,000 feet, where the trail finally reaches the top of the ridge separating Taylor Canyon from Waterfall Canyon. As it crosses the ridge the path passes by the summit of Malans Peak. As you will see from this perspective, Malans is not really a peak at all, but rather just a prominent knob on the end of the long ridge that comes down the western slope of Mount Ogden. From Malans Peak the trail continues south into the bottom of Waterfall Canyon.
     Once you reach Waterfall Canyon turn east and follow the drainage all the way to a saddle just south of the summit. For the first mile you can walk on a primitive trail on the left side of the stream, but at about the same time the water disappears the trail also disappears. From there on it is a steep, strenuous climb up the dry, rocky streambed to the saddle. Once you reach the saddle, just south of the peak, there is a good 0.2-mile trail to the top. The summit is clearly visible for most of the last two miles. It seems so close while you are on the trail, but so far when the trail runs out.

Lower Waterfall Canyon
     An alternative to the Taylor Canyon-Malans Peak trail is to make the first part of the hike up through the lower part of Waterfall Canyon. To reach the Waterfall Canyon Trailhead, drive to the end of 29th Street, then turn right onto a dirt road that leads to a large public parking area. The parking lot is on the east side of a highrise apartment building. A sign at the back of the parking lot marks the beginning of a 1.2-mile-long trail to the Waterfall Canyon Waterfall.
     This is a good trail as far as it goes, but once you reach the 200-foot waterfall you must exit the canyon and do some steep, off-trail climbing to get around it. About 100 feet to the right of the waterfall there is a notch in the side of the canyon through which you can climb out. The route is very steep and there are a lot of loose rocks, but it isn’t dangerous if you are careful. Some hand-over-hand scrambling is necessary in a few places. After about 600 vertical feet of climbing you will cross over a ridge and see the upper part of Waterfall Canyon again below you. If you drop back down into the canyon at this point you will find a primitive trail that leads upstream to a junction with the Malans Peak Trail.
     A lot of hikers make a loop hike up Waterfall Canyon, across Malans Peak, and down Taylor Canyon, with Mount Ogden as a possible side trip. If you do this I recommend you go up Waterfall and down Taylor-not the other way around. It is much easier and less dangerous to climb up the detour around the waterfall rather than down.

Content provided by David Day of utahtrails.com. Click here to order his book Utah's Favorite Hiking Trails.

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