OverviewWhile much of the northern Oquirrh peaks are off limits due to private property restrictions, Kessler Peak can be accessed via BLM land on the west side of the peak in Tooele County. Kessler Peak provides great views of the Salt Lake and Tooele valleys. You can also get a peak at Coon Canyon on the Salt Lake County side, which is a pristine piece of forest owned by Rio Tinto. Kessler Peak is rarely hiked due to the rugged terrain and misconceptions about private property boundaries in the area. The peak is accessed by climbing the west ridge, which is steep and rugged with no trails.
Travel to Foothill Drive in Lakepoint Utah and head south on Foothill through a residential neighborhood. After passing the homes and crossing over the railroad tracks the pavement ends but the road continues as a dirt road into some pasture. Turn right into the pasture through the first gate on the right. Make sure to close the gate behind you. After going through this first gate head East and take the first left heading North. The road continues through the field and you will eventually reach another gate. After passing through the second gate the road becomes progressively rough and eventually turns back East and starts gaining elevation as you travel towards big canyon. To reach the end of the road and the start of the BLM land will require a vehicle with plenty of ground clearance. Park by the BLM fence and gate, please do not block the road though.
There are no trails in the area. The easiest route starts at the mouth of Big Canyon at the BLM fence and gate. After crossing the fence you can take the road that heads north east towards a fenced off area. When you reach the chain link fence head east into the canyon. The lower portion of the canyon had a road at one time that is now overgrown and washed out in most places, but provides a god trail for the first 3/4 miles. At about 3/4 miles in the Canyon makes a curve to the South before straightening out again. After that point the canyon is overgrown with brush and is extremely difficult to pass. It is best to begin climbing up the ridge on the North side of the canyon. The ridge is very steep and does have brush and large rocks in portions that make it a difficult to climb but it is the best route.
After climbing the ridge for about a half mile you will reach an old KSL tram tower. The ridge turns to the east and continues its steep climb towards the peak. From here there are a couple spots where the ridge is overgrown with scrub oak and the rocks are difficult to traverse which may require you to drop off the ridge at times to pass. Eventually the ridge meets up with the ridge bordering Rogers Canyon to the north. From this point the ridge is less steep and easier to hike. The ridge heads more directly east then towards the peak. On the north side there is some nice aspen forest with lots of birds and other wildlife. At around 8400 feet you will run into the road that connects Kessler with Farnsworth to access the radio towers. You can follow the road up or continue climbing the ridge to the top.
To access Big Canyon requires passing through a gate off Foothill Drive in Lakepoint, and then another on the way to the canyon. Please close any gates you pass through. Check maps for private property boundaries. The ridge running between Kessler and Farnsworth Peak is the property line, with everything on the East side of the Oquirrhs belonging to Rio Tinto. Rio Tinto also owns some property on the west side of the ridge in Tooele County. Consult a map before starting any hike, as Rio Tinto has prosecuted trespassers in the past, and is very protective of their property. There are no trespassing signs posted in areas along the ridge. The eastern portion of the peak is also private property and home to some HAM radio antennas. Please do not disturb any of the radio facilities on the peak.
When to Climb
Lower portions of the peak including Big Canyon are usually free of snow by March or April. Snow can stay on the peak until May however. Hiking to the summit is best done as early in the season when temperatures are lower and plant growth is just starting. There is no shade except for a little at the mouth of the canyon. Snow usually returns by October, and can be hiked with snow shoes in the Winter.
No developed campgrounds. Check with Salt Lake BLM office for back country camping restrictions.