Friday, September 7, 2012

Labor Day Labor of Love Hike

I admit that I am always pushing my family to do big things. I mean, why hike 3 miles when we can hike 10? I have an "I can do it" attitude and figure that if I think I can do it, then everyone else can too:) I have always been this way. Just ask my high school friend Sharee about some of our bone breaking, deep snow hiking, steep hill rollerblading, and more recently geo-caching experiences. She may laugh a bit and then definitely confirm that it somehow always ends up harder than I say it will be. I truly believe that we can do hard things and that it is good for kids and myself to always be reminded of this. 

This hike came about because I was anxious to do a new hike. I wanted it to be hard and long and beautiful. I wasn't disappointed. 

This hike starts at Brighton and goes up through Alta and then back down to Silver Fork Lodge. It was about 8.25 miles and took us roughly 4 1/2 hours with a 6 year old. Make sure everyone is well equipped with water, food, sunblock and good hiking shoes will not be enough for this hike....we found out the hard way with that one.
Looking down Silver Fork Canyon
We started at the Silver Lake boardwalk in Brighton Utah. We hiked to the left around the boardwalk until we came to the Solitude Lake Junction. Instead of continuing around the lake we continued straight towards Solitude Lake. In no time at all we came to the Twin Lakes junction. You can turn here, but with it being such a busy day, we continued another 1/2 mile or so until we came to an unmarked trail that headed to the left. It can be overlooked if you are not careful. Turn onto this won't be disappointed. We rarely run into anyone on this trail. It is secluded, serene and very beautiful. It will eventually merge with the Twin Lakes trail. Continue to Twin Lakes. 

Once at Twin Lakes, on the north side of the lake is a small utility shack. After taking in the scenery and a break if needed, hop onto the trail near the utility shack and continue up the mountain towards Solitude Ski Resort. 

At the saddle you will be able to either go right and head down into Solitude Lake or stay left on the trail. Stay left and follow this road. You will come to a trail that goes left...
Here is the road and the trail is right where the man is standing. I took the photo looking back.
...take this trail until you come to a ski run sign that has 3 blue runs and one black run on it. Just past this sign you will need to follow a faint trail to the left. This trail accesses the Wolverine Cirque as well Grizzly Gulch. 

Once on the trail be sure to look back at Twin Lakes...the view is amazing!

Once at the next saddle, 

View looking into grizzly gulch.
...follow what looks like a wider trail. 

Follow the wide trail to the right.
This is where it became a bit difficult for us to find our way. You are now at Alta in Grizzly Gulch. If you want, just follow the road until you see a trail that goes right and heads up the mountain to another saddle. If you are more adventurous, try to stay somewhat high so that you do not have to drop down just to climb back up.

We had our GPS just to make sure we were in Grizzly Gulch and that we were going to be dropping down the correct canyon to get to Silver Fork Lodge. We got up onto the trail and followed it towards the saddle until there was a split in the trail. Unsure of which way to go, we chose to take the high trail and it was a good choice! This trail splits again. If you want to summit take the high trail, 

...otherwise they meet up again so the lower trail is fine. 

At the end of the trail you will find some old mining equipment. We went to look around and my kids were so enthralled with the whole thing. 

Before you get to the mining equipment the trail splits again. Take the lower trail and follow it around and down the canyon. There was difficulty finding the correct trail here. It is very faint. We did mark the trail with a cairn, but I am not sure if it will still be standing. If you continue on the trail until you can see down the canyon with an unobstructed view you have gone about 300 feet too far. Backtrack and look for a faint trail. 

You will come across another area with mining equipment and then some really steep downhill was next on the docket. Make sure you have good footwear. You will come out at the trailhead in the homes of those living in Silver Fork. Look across the road and there is another trail. Hop on that and follow it down closer to the lodge.

We followed the trail down the canyon and came out at a parking lot on a road. Follow the road down until you come to the canyon road and the lodge is about .25 miles up the road. 

This hike is not for beginning hikers and you should leave plenty of time to get back before dark. We parked our car near the lodge before the hike or you could have someone pick you up.

Happy Hiking!