Burch Creek Canyon is a non-technical hiking canyon located one canyon south of Beus Canyon at 41.172218,-111.924757 in Ogden Utah. The canyon is significantly less popular than other canyons near the city and is usually a quiet hike in the forest. The maintained portion of the trail is only about a mile up the canyon…after that, it’s a series of best guesses heading east toward the mountains. The trail itself doesn’t obviously loop or connect with other trails and the high amount of boulders discourages bikers and horses.
The forest is dense and cool for most of the hike making it a good summer hike. Fall brings pretty leaf changes and it’s an interesting snow shoe trail in the winter. Nordic skiing the trail after a hard snow is probably doable for the first 1/3 mile…after that, there are too many boulders to get over. During the spring runoff, the creek is flooded and an already difficult to navigate trail becomes nearly impossible. Fording the streams during the spring is an exercise in ingenuity as you have to figure out numerous rock hopping puzzles. Be careful the rocks are slick and the water is cold!
The trail up Burch Creek is like a psychotic girlfriend. It starts off nice and civilized, becomes progressively rocky and eventually digresses into a Jurassic fern forest were all trails and hope disappear. The brush is heavy, the trail is faint and people (seeing my scratched arms) asked me if I had been attacked by a rabid raccoon.
From the trailhead, the trail first starts off with a level/slight incline through the forest crossing a well-made bridge. It then looks like a typical Utah canyon trail, rocky in places but not crazy. As the trail progresses and winds up the canyon, hikers have to climb small boulders and ford small creeks. After about a mile, the trail becomes iffier and iffier disappearing in places. At times you are wondering whether you on the main trail, a game trail or lost. Some say there is a waterfall near the end of the canyon, but I must’ve missed it. The final part of the canyon you can climb the hillside to the north and connect with Beus Canyon trail to Mount Ogden.
In general, the lower trail is date-walk friendly, the rough boulder portion is great for de-energizing sugar-high children, and the difficult portion is suitable for Old-spice He-Men who think a machete is an appropriate anniversary gift and don’t need no stinking trails.
Trailhead Location: 41.172206,-111.924768
Trailhead Elevation: 5200
Distance Trailhead to Canyon end: ~3 Miles
Hike Time: 4 Hours
Vertical Gain: 2700
There best place to start up the canyon is at Skyline Drive (41.172206,-111.924768). From I-15, take exit 341 toward 31st Street. Drive east toward the mountains, following the signs for Weber State University. Once you reach Harrison Blvd, proceed South to 46th Street. Turn Left onto E 4600 S. After about .75 miles, East 4600 S turns slightly right and becomes S 1900 E. Another ½ mile later S 1900 E turns right and becomes Bonneville Shoreline Trail/S Ridgedale Dr. The trailhead will be on the east side of the road. Park along the street. The Trailhead has a brown gate and you can see the trail going back into the forest. There isn’t a parking lot, so you have to park alongside the road. Be courteous of people who live there and avoid blocking fire hydrants or drive ways.
Red Tape and Camping
There is no red tape other than inherent rules for USFS land. No fees are charged. Fires are restricted all along the west face of the Wasatch Mountains during the summer months. Dogs, horses and mountain bikes are allowed.
Signs next to the trailhead say “No Parking before 8 AM”, but I’m pretty sure that’s to discourage young people from hanging out all night having impromptu parties. In addition, be careful parking during snowy conditions and leave room for plows.
There are several good spots for primitive camping along the route. The first obvious is about ½ mile into the hike next to the river, the second is about 1 mile just after crossing the creek and before the trail starts getting faint.
FaunaWildlife in the area is typical of north Wasatch forests. The animals you will most likely encounter are mule deer, moose, squirrels, rabbits, and chipmunks. Predators in the area (which are shy and rarely seen) are coyotes, bobcats and the occasional cougar. Bird watchers can get an eyeful with everything from hummingbirds to vultures in the area. The canyon does get its share of rattlesnakes, so keep your eyes open.
Bugs are generally negligible with some flies, mosquitos and wasps. DEET will usually keep them at bay. When bushwhacking, be careful where you sit…there are lots of ant hills and, yes, they do bite.