This 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.
The Kay's Creek Ridge trail is 4.07 miles to the top of Layton Peak (9618’). The elevation gain of 3,644’ to the peak takes moderate hikers about 4 hrs to summit. Although the trail is very steep and has few switchbacks, the views are outstanding. Bring a lot of water on this hike because it tends to get very hot in the summer.
There are two routes to the summit: Great Western Trail and Kay's Creek Ridge Trail. The Kay's Creek Ridge Trail is a much more direct approach with shorter mileage. The trail is somewhat overgrown in some areas but not hard to find/figure out which way to go. The Great Western trail is on Forest Service maps and has many switchbacks. The Great Western trail has not been improved or maintained by any coordinated effort since the 1990's. However, it is easy to follow the trail and there are no spurs on the ascent which would cause hikers to get lost.
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 a steep, more direct route best enjoyed by those inclined to run downhill.
The Kay's Creek Ridge trail passes 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. As of Sept 2014 the two improved springs at Fernwood cabin are not working, but you can take your chances at a seep on the south side of the cabin. The Great Western Trail has a spring directly on the trail up on the ridgeline. Bring a lot of water on this hike because it tends to get very hot in the summer.
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. Do NOT take the major left turn in 0.5 miles from the trailhead that goes over a newer wide bridge. Instead, stay to the right and eventually cross an older bridge. In approximately two miles form the trailhead, 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. Hours later, you will join the Kay's Creek Ridge 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.
Kay's Creek Ridge trail
This trail is also referred to as "Community Trail" by locals. 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 had been bulldozed for the first 1/4 mile. The trail 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 Fernwood cabin (built in the 1970’s).
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 (turn right). 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. A recommended route is to head north (left) to the cliff side. You will see cairns where the trail had been cut in 2004. Follow the cliff and then cross the rock band as you make your way up to the sharp peak affectionately names "Chinscraper".
Alternate -- In the summer of 2012 someone marked a more direct route with bright yellow markers tied onto the vegetation. Some were still attached in 2014. This route is easier to follow, but the brush has not been cut down. You can follow the yellow markers if you don't mind clearing your own way through the brush. I prefer the ridgeline as not to bushwack and there are better views. The cliff route is not dangerous and the boulders are solid.
Once you summit the first false peak named Chinscraper, you’ll see two big cairn markings. These mark the confluence of two trail: Kay's Creek Ridge 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 Chinscraper -- and there is an entire mountain behind (and taller) than this false summit.
Both trails continue on the ridgeline, curving south than east. Eventually there is no “trail”, but the route is obvious. Just 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. In summer of 2014 three mountain goats were seen by the author near the peak. There are also mysterious orange dots painted along the ridgeline which are fun to explore going north.
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, there is a spring approximately 2 miles north on the Great Western Trail.