Tooele County has some of the finest terrain for hiking in Utah. While journeying across the landscape, hikers can encounter mountainous, canyon and desert wilderness—all with endless visibility.
The county’s blue ribbon hike is the climb to the 11,031 foot-high summit of Deseret Peak in the Stansbury Mountains. The 360-degree view of Tooele County, and even parts of the Wasatch Front to the east, inspires hikers to forget about the blisters on their feet—until they begin their descent.
The trailhead for Deseret Peak is located at the Loop Campground at the top of South Willow Canyon. The trail moves through a number of groves of large aspens, crosses a stream, and then climbs through meadows of wildflowers, fir trees and snowfields before following a rocky ridge to the summit.
To reach South Willow Canyon Road, take SR-138 to Grantsville, and at the west end of town, turn left onto West Street and follow the road south for approximately five miles. The road is on the right. Several trails can also be accessed in South Willow Canyon. The first is the Medina Flats Trailhead, which provides access to the Stansbury Front Trail. The trail runs all the way from West Canyon to the north to Hickman Canyon to the south. Access to Mining Fork Canyon and South Willow Lake is also available from the Medina Flats Trailhead.
South Medina Peak, which stands at 10,685 feet, is the second highest peak in the range. It too can be accessed from the Loop Campground Trailhead. In order to climb South Medina Peak, follow the same trail to Deseret Peak. After crossing the stream located .8 miles from the trailhead, go onto the South Willow Lake Trail that branches off to the northwest. This trail crosses Dry Fork, and affords a magnificent view of Deseret Peak Cirque. The trail continues through a wildflower-filled ridge to the north, turns a corner and enters an ancient stand of fir trees. After another one-half mile, the trail intersects Pockets Fork Trail junction. After the junction, the trail climbs Pockets Fork to the left and continues to a high saddle, where an amazing view of Big Creek Canyon and Skull Valley awaits.
Hiking in the Stansbury Mountains represents only a fraction of Tooele County’s overall hiking opportunities. For more information on additional hikes in the area, visit www.ut.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/salt_lake.html. This website provides detailed trail information to the peaks and trails in Tooele County and the Great Salt Lake Desert.