Great Western Trail to Layton PeakYou can make a loop hike using this trail for the ascent, bag Layton and Thurston peaks, then descend via the Kay's Creek Ridge Trail. The Great Western trail route is a nice trail created by the Forest Service -- complete with switchbacks. The GW trail is much easier than Kay's Creek Ridge since at one time it was actually cut into the hillside. Kay's Creek Ridge's lack of switchbacks makes the trail full of gullies and loose rocks. The GW trail also has a few undeveloped camping areas and has more shade than the Kay's Creek Ridge Trail. You will also have the satisfaction of knowing you've tackled a segment of the famous Wasatch 100 mile race.
Getting ThereStart at the Fernwood trail access (same as Community Trail).
Starting from the Fernwood trail head, go north on the Bonneville Shoreline trail. Do not turn left and go over the new bridge at 0.5 miles. Instead, keep right and go over an older bridge in about 0.2 miles. At 1.18 miles, the trail will split. Go right on the Great Western trail. The trail will switchback for a while, and then you will enter a thick forest. From the bottom of the mountain, you would never imagine a forest (with trees of this height) exists on the side of this mountain. It is certainly not visible from the valley floor.
At 5.21 miles there is a spring with some PVC pipe for collecting water. At 5.5 miles, you'll encounter a campsite complete with an old iron stove. It is very important you make a 90 degree left turn here at the campsite. The trail also continues to go straight, but you do NOT want to go there (the trail goes to the Kay's Creek Ridge Trail, and it is very faint in spots).
After you make that 90 degree left hand turn, you'll head over to some rocks with cairns, then up a very steep section. This loose rock steep section was named "Chinscraper" by the Wasatch 100 racers. Once you scramble up this steep section, you should see two large cairns -- 6 miles from your start at Fernwood. You have now intersected with the Kays Creek Ridge trail.
It is now 0.4 miles to the top of Layton peak. There is no real "trail", but it is easy to find your way to the top. Follow the obvious dirt patch heading higher in elevation. You will see another cairn marking where the Great Western trail heads south to Farmington. Stay to the left and make your way higher in elevation. The trail becomes more and more faint - just keep heading for the highest spot in elevation.