Lookout Peak from Mountain Dell Canyon
Elevation Gain: 2,884
Distance: 8.1 miles
Date: November 3, 2019
I have driven down I-80 towards SLC hundreds of times and every time I pass Lookout Peak, I say to myself- I need to hike and/or ski that peak. The peak is a hair under 9,000 but it seems far more imposing which is due to the fact that it rises 4,000 feet above SLC and most of surrounding area.
There are a few different trailheads to summit this peak but since I was coming from Park City, I decided to start in the Mountain Dell Canyon which is accessed by taking the East Canyon exit off I-80 and driving 5 miles to Affleck Park campground. The trailhead is located inside the Affleck Park campground behind campsite 35/36 (you will see a gate).
I did this hike on November 3 and we had received a few inches of snow this past week but it had warmed up the last few days and melted most of the snow on this south facing peak.
The first section had a nice pitch but it then flattens out. Overall, the hike is very gradual gain on average 721 feet per mile compared to a steep summit like Gobblers Knob which gains 1,200 per mile. At the 1.2 mile point, there is an intersection and you will want to go right. The nice thing about this hike is that you quickly get out of the canyon and onto the ridge thus providing great views throughout the hike. I recall at one point saying "wow" to myself as the Cottonwood peaks came into view and it looked like the peaks went on forever.
The trail takes you along the east side of Lookout thus blocking the true summit so you think the summit is a different peak. You arrive at the first false summit (picture on right) at 3.4 miles and you think you are done but you are sadly mistaken. The good news is that you are now at 8,655 and the ultimate summit is only at 8,954 thus leaving only 299 feet to go and .6 miles. The last stretch consist of a series of 3 or 4 rolling peaks that you traverse along before you reach the final destination. The summit offers a good glimpse of Grandview Peak to the northeast and some awesome views of the Cottonwoods.
Besides checking off another summit in the Wasatch, I wanted to scope out some skiable lines for the upcoming winter. The first false summit is southeast facing which has a few lower angle spines (28-32 degrees) but there a few terrain traps (cliffs) that you want to make sure you don’t ski above. Skiing from the true summit is an option but it is further out the ridge and it would place you deeper into the canyon which requiring a longer skin out.