OverviewLittle Black Mountain is one of the best kept secrets in the Wasatch Mountains. It's elevation is low compared with other peaks in Salt Lake County, but the scenery is outstanding (especially in spring when the wildflowers are in bloom) and the short scramble along the summit ridge offers "character" other lesser Wasatch peaks lack. It's proximity to downtown is amazing. You can literally be at the trailhead from downtown in five minutes.
The mountain is generally snow-free from early May to November, but summer heat along the barren west ridge makes it less than desirable hike when temperatures are high.
Little Black Mountain sits on the prominent ridge seperating City Creek Canyon and Red Butte Canyon. It is popular with runners, and the site of the Wasatch Steeplechase run every summer. The ridge continues east from Little Black's summit all the way to Lookout Peak (8,954').
Big Black Mountain (8,958') sits on the ridge to the north, really nothing more than a sub-peak along the ridge to Grandview Peak (9,410'), the highest peak in the area.
Getting ThereThe most common way of climbing Little Black Mountain is via the west ridge from the Salt Lake City avenues.
Heading east along North Temple into the avenues, turn left on I Street and follow the incredibly steep road all the way to the top, and follow the main road which angles left (west) for a short distance before turning 180 degrees and heading back east towards the mountains. As you approach the mountains, the road turns south and dips. Turn left at Terrace Hills Drive and park at the top of the road. The trail is well marked and there is ample room for parking.
The mountain can also be climbed from Dry Creek to the south, which merges with the west ridge higher up, or via Smugglers Gap in City Creek Canyon.
Red TapeThere are no red tape issues if climbing Little Black from either the standard west ridge trail or Dry Creek.
It's been my experience that City Creek Canyon access is difficult. You'll need to obtain a pass to get to the higher parking lots, which are only open certain days of the year. There seems to be constant construction going on in recent years. Bikers could bike the five miles past the main guard station to the end of the pavement to begin hiking towards the Smugglers Gap trail.