OverviewThis peak does not have an official name on the Forest Service topo map. However, it is the highest un-named peak bordering the city of Layton, Utah. Layton peak is in the northern Wasatch mountains. Thurston and Francis peaks are to the south, and Weber Canyon is to the north.
This trail is 4.07 miles to the top of Layton Peak (9618’) Elevation gain 3,644’ to the peak. Time for hiking is approximately 4 hrs to the summit. Although the trail is very steep and has few switchbacks, the views are outstanding. The route does pass by a spring at 1.5 miles (Fernwood Cabin). The cut off to the cabin is on the right; it can be difficult to locate. Take all your water.
There are two routes to the summit: Great Western Trail and “Community Trail”. The community trail is not sanctioned by the Forest Service; and Forest Service employees have given warnings to locals who voluntarily maintain this trail. The community trail is a much more direct route and a shorter distance. The trail was very easy to follow all the way to the top, but has become overgrown in some spots as of 2012.
The best of both worlds is to ascend the Great Western trail and go down the community trail to complete a loop hike. The Great Western has switchbacks which makes for an easier ascent. The community trail is mainly a steep, more direct route.
Getting ThereLocation: Layton Utah Fernwood Trail head
From Route 89 in Layton Utah, turn west onto Cherry Lane between mile markers 402-403. Make an immediate left onto Valley View Drive (heading north). In 0.5 miles, turn right (west) onto Fernwood Drive. Follow Fernwood for another 0.5 miles and make a right at the T intersection. You will pass a tremendous “Castle” home on your left, and then enter the Forest Service trailhead area. In early morning, the gate may be locked. Street parking is permitted.
Red TapeNo permits are required. Parking in the forest service parking area is prohibited after 10 PM.
CampingNo overnight camping at the trail head, but picnic sites available. Best campsites in the area are west on Antelope Island State Park, approximately 10 miles away. There is seasonal water available at the trail head (the Forest Service turns it on during the warmer months).
Trail directionsFrom the parking lot, walk around the brown metal gate and begin heading up/west. Turn left (north) onto the Bonneville Shoreline trail.
Great Western Trail
Continue north on the Bonneville Shoreline trail for approximately 2 miles. There will be a fork in the trail, and a wooden sign indicating “Great Western Trail”. You want to stay right on the Great Western trail. You will join “community trail” on a false peak affectionately named “Chin Scraper”. This will be on the ridge line, and you can easily find your way to the top of Layton Peak.
Community Trail (recommended)
A few steps after joining the Bonneville Shoreline trail, turn right (west) onto an unmarked trail. N 41.05.265 W 111.54.077 This area had a huge brush fire in the summer of 2006. On your right, you will pass the remains of a burned out chlorine pump station.
The trail has been bulldozed for the first 1/4 mile. It then crosses a pipe containing the stream and turns 90 degrees to the left. This next short bit may be overgrown beside the creek. At 0.31 miles, the trail will cross the small creek then begin heading upwards.
At 0.71 miles, a faint trail goes right. This spur dead ends to an old cabin that was built in the 1970’s. There is one good spring next to the cabin that you can refill water bottles.
Continue following the obvious trail to the summit.
N 41.05.649 W 111.51.918 You will see a cairn. Follow this trail straight up. The sagebrush has been trimmed back to form a trail. The route is up-- then veers left toward the cliff. There is a cut trail through the weeds and three cairns where the trail intersects the cliff line. If you miss the trail and bushwhack, it doesn’t matter. As long as you keep heading upwards—the area is wide open and easy to navigate.
The route starts on the left cliff side, and then traverses right & up using the rock band. Keep looking for where the weeds have been clipped for the trail.
Alternate -- In the summer of 2012 someone marked a more direct route with bright yellow markers tied onto the vegetation. This route is easier to follow, but the brush has not been cut down. You can follow the easy yellow markers if you don't mind clearing your own way through the brush.
Once you summit this first false peak named “Chin Scraper”, you’ll see two big cairn markings. These mark the confluence of two trail: Community Trail and the Great Western Trail. N 41.05.568 W 111.51.601
You will now find out that the high point you've been viewing the entire duration of climbing is Chin Scraper -- and there is an entire mountain behind (and taller) than this false summit.
Both trails continue on the ridgeline, curving south than east. There is no dirt “trail”, but the route is obvious. Stay toward the ridgeline, and aim for the highest point.
Layton peak is 4.07 miles from the trailhead 9,681 elevation. From the top you can look west toward the cities of Mountain Green and Morgan. The “back side” of the Wasatch Mountains at this location is very remote and unspoiled.
After savoring the summit, it is possible to hike along the ridge line north or south. It is not difficult to summit a few more high points.
If you find yourself needing fluids, approximately 2 miles south on the Great Western Trail, there is a spring that someone has improved with PVC pipe.