Mount Olympus

Specific Area Information

Location: North Central Utah, adjacent to Salt Lake City, Utah
USGS Quad: Sugarhouse, Mount Aire and Draper
Difficulty: Moderate to severe with elevations from just under 5,000 feet to over 10,000 feet. Trails are easy to follow, but may cross extremely rough terrain at high elevations. Mount Olympus is at 9,028 feet.
Use: Light to moderately heavy, depending on the day of the week.
Weather: Summer temperatures can range from near 90 degrees in the daytime to below 40 degrees at night. Occasional summer thunderstorms can be expected.

About the Area

The Mount Olympus Wilderness was established by Congress in 1984 with the passage of the Utah Wilderness Act. Located within the central Wasatch range, the Mount Olympus Wilderness consists of approximately 15,856 acres and is generally bounded on the north by Mill Creek Canyon, on the south by Big Cottonwood Canyon, on the west by the Salt Lake Valley, and on the east by Gobbler's Knob, Alexander Basin, and Dog Lake. The portion in Big Cottonwood Canyon falls under Salt Lake City watershed restrictions.

Photo of a Mount Olympus Wilderness sign.There are several entry points in each canyon and along the Front as well. They include the following: Mount Olympus Trail and Neff's Canyon from the benches along the front; Thayne's Canyon, Porter Fork (private road), Bowman Fork, and Alexander Basin on the northern or Mill Creek Canyon side; and Mill B North Fork and Butler Fork on the south side from Big Cottonwood Canyon. You can also enter the Wilderness about a quarter of a mile west of Dog Lake.

The Dog Lake entry receives most of the mountain bicycle violations. Bicyclist like to ride the Desolation Trail to the Mill A Basin Trail and out or exit the forest by way of Butler Fork. Due to the fact that there are no lakes in this Wilderness, it is not used as much for overnight camping. You will also see a little less use here in general except for the increasing problem with mountain bikes (mountain bikes are not allowed in wilderness areas).

The Mount Olympus Wilderness provides a spectacular backdrop for the Salt Lake Valley and is dominated by rugged terrain, narrow canyons, and high peaks, including Mount Olympus, Mount Raymond, and Gobbler's Knob. The geologic structure of the area is varied and complex, consisting of granitoid rock masses and several sedimentary formations. Carving of the present alpine topography is due to glaciation with erosion the current dominant force in the land sculpturing process.

Much of the higher elevation is alpine, characterized by large, open cirque basins, and exposed rocky ridges. Vegetation includes dense mountain brush mixed with sagebrush and grass. Patches of various firs and aspen are common in isolated patches on north facing slopes. Snow remains in some areas until mid-summer.

To preserve and protect the physical and aesthetic environment, National Forest wilderness areas are closed to motor vehicles, mechanized equipment, hang gliders, and bicycles. In addition, parts of this wilderness lay within the culinary watershed for Salt Lake County and special restrictions concerning camping, swimming, and domestic animals apply. Please help protect wilderness for future generations by learning and practicing "No-Trace" camping and hiking techniques.

The following acts are prohibited in the Mount Olympus Wilderness Area: Group sizes exceeding 10 persons, camping within 200 feet of lakes, streams, springs, or other water sources, camping within 200 feet of trails, camping for more than 3 days at one site, short cutting a trail switchback, and disposing of garbage, debris, or other waste.

For further information contact the Salt Lake Ranger District
at (801) 733-2660
 





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/uwcnf/about-forest/districts/?cid=fsem_035478