OverviewThe Deep Canyon trail provides the most direct route to both Mendon Peak and peak 8585, locally known as “Hawkwatch Peak.”
The primary destination of this trail is the saddle between the two peaks that sits above the top of Deep Canyon. Mendon Peak and “Hawkwatch Peak” can be easily accessed from this point by following the Wellsville Ridge to their summits. The entire way is very steep, but no scrambling is necessary. The trail is clear in the early summer, but I understand it gets clogged with undergrowth later in the summer.
Trail Length: About 3.0 miles
Trailhead Elevation: 5400 feet
Saddle Elevation: 8120 feet
Mendon Peak Elevation: 8766 feet
Hawkwatch Peak: 8585 feet
Essentials1) The trailhead has no toilets or running water.
2) The creek in Deep Canyon is also dry so bring plenty of water.
3) Bring plenty of mosquito repellant, since there is ample vegetation along the way.
4) Binoculars would be great to view the raptors flying overhead. A raptor field guide would be helpful.
5) Sturdy shoes.
6) A map and compass and/or GPS.
Route DescriptionThese are the approximate routes:
View Deep Canyon Trail in a larger map
Start at the Deep Canyon trailhead, 2 miles west of the town of Mendon, UT. big tooth maple forest. Deep Canyon will ascend the mountain in a westward direction for more than a mile. The trail will pass along the right side of the dry creek for this portion of the hike. You will pass open slopes of wildflowers, rockslides and some switchbacks along the way. Eventually the canyon will bank to the south and continue to climb as the canyon widens up.
The trail will begin to pass through stands of aspens and will cross to the other side of the streambed. Eventually, the vegetation will thin out and the saddle will begin to come into view. catch the view of northern Cache Valley below.
When you reach the saddle there will be a large rock that marks the location. This looks like a common place to search for a snack in your pack. Great Salt Lake and can also peer through the haze to Deseret Peak to the southwest. You will be able to see the barren route to Hawkwatch Peak and the ascent to Mendon Peak. To the south you will view the mass of Box Elder Peak. Gunsight Peak and Oxford Peak are viewed to the north.
To continue to Mendon Peak, you have two options.
1) We’ll start with the easiest route. There will be a trail that leads south along the Wellsville Ridge. The trail will travel along the west side of Mendon Peak. The trail provides a more gradual ascent of the peak. The trail will pass Mendon Peak by and will eventually gain the ridge again at the saddle between Mendon Peak and Scout Peak. a spur trail will lead northward along the ridge to Mendon Peak. The spur trail is mostly a ridge walk. Stay on the crest and there will be no curveballs coming your way. Scout Peak would also be a short jaunt to the south from the same saddle.
Note that the west side of the range is considerably drier than your route up Deep Canyon. Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes that nestle in the brush along the trails.
2) The second option is to do some route finding on the northwest face of the peak that overlooks Deep Canyon. There is a lot of brush on this face. I could not make out any trails on this approach, but there may be something hidden under the snow that I could not see.
In my experience I tried both approaches and fully recommend the first option, even though a rattler didn’t appreciate my presence on Mendon’s west face.
The top of the peak has a large, flat slab of concrete to mark the summit. I could not find a register or any other marker.
As always, the views are worth the entire struggle. The extensive views are about 270 degrees around you. The southern view is blocked by the impressive Box Elder Peak, which looks like a gigantic mass of mountain from here.