Ben Lomond is the monarch of the Northern Wasatch and the most well known. It is the prominent, pyramid shaped, peak that is north of the city of Ogden. It is part of a long ridge that extends north to south between Brigham City and North Ogden Canyon. Willard Peak is located farther north along the same ridgeline and is the highest mountain in the Northern Wasatch and the highpoint of Weber County. From most vantage points Ben Lomond looks taller but Willard Peak happens to be over fifty feet higher. Ben Lomond stands out more so it receives the majority of people.
The name Ben Lomond comes from early Scottish settlers. Someone said it resembled the mountain of the same name in their country of Scotland. The Ben Lomond in Scotland is located east of Loch Lomond, and is the most southerly of the Munros. On a clear day, it is perfectly visible from the higher ground areas of Glasgow. Its name translates into "Beacon Peak". This also seems appropriate for the Ben Lomond in Utah which can be seen from many miles away.
The summit is located at a small point on top of the ridge. There is a metal box that may contain a register. The views in all directions are spectacular. Looking north you will see Willard Peak with its large and rocky summit knob. Farther behind are the Wellsville Mountains and Bear River Range. To the west you can see Willard Bay and the northern end of the Great Salt Lake. Looking south and slightly east from Ben Lomond is Chilly Peak, 8459 feet, which can easily be added to a hike up Ben Lomond. To the south across North Ogden Canyon is Lewis Peak, 8031 feet. Farther to the south is Allen Peak which is next to Mount Ogden with Malans Peak below. The view looking southwest stretches from North Ogden to Davis County.
The standard route up the mountain starts from North Odgen Divide. The elevation gain is gradual and follows the ridge most of the way. Some people have said that this route is too long. I believe that most people should have no problem hiking to the top in one day. The second most used route starts from Willard Basin to the north. This is the shortest and easiest way to climb the mountain but requires a long drive on dirt roads south of Mantua. This route goes to the top of Willard Peak and then traverses the ridge over the Ben Lomond. You’ll be able to climb two peaks in one day. All other routes on the mountain are climbed less and are usually never crowded. Two trails start on the east side of Ben Lomond. One goes up to Cutler Basin and the other starts from North Fork Park.
Ben Lomond is geologically complex. The west face and ridgeline south of Ben Lomond are made predominately of quartzite from the Precambrian Period. Some of the rock is made of metamorphic slate and schists. There is also limestone and dolomite from the Cambrian and Ordovician Periods which is about 500 million years old. This area of the Wasatch has rock layers that up-lifted, tilted, and over-thrust, so older rocks may be found at higher elevations than younger ones. The ridgeline is an unusual ecosystem of pinion pine and manzanita shrub, and other low shrubs and plants. On the east side of the ridge are forests with fir, aspen, chokecherry, and maple. During spring and summer the ridges are covered in wild flowers.
Native American tribes lived in the Northern Wasatch Mountains near Ben Lomond. Ogden Valley was known to the Shoshone, Ute, and Bannock Indians as "Opecarry" which translates to stick-in-the-head. The trail through North Ogden Canyon was known as the "Lodge Pole Trail," and was their major route to the mountains. The area known as "Pole Patch" was a favorite Indian Encampment at the northernmost part of Pleasant View below Ben Lomond. They probably chose this area because of the panoramic view of the valley from the top of mountain. If you are observant you may see mountain goats at the highest elevations roaming from Willard Peak to Ben Lomond. These animals were successfully re-introduced to this habitat. There are elk, deer, and mountain lions that live in the area too. The moose population is high and they are commonly seen on the east side of Ben Lomond.
There are several steep couloirs or gullies that head straight up the south face through cliff bands. These couloirs are easy to recognize during winter. On the local news you may notice that they often refer to this mountain as Ben Lomond Peak. This is redundant since the word, Ben or Beinn, means hill, peak, or mountain in Gaelic/Scottish. This would be like saying, Peak Lomond Peak, which sounds a little odd. The USGS has it labeled as Ben Lomond on maps.
North Ogden Divide Trailhead:
North Ogden Divide is also known as North Ogden Pass. To get there drive to Ogden and take the 12th Street exit. Then drive east towards the mountains. At 400 East on Washington, turn left and head north for 5 miles. The street will narrow and veer slightly east. It enters a residential area where you turn right at 3100 North. Drive 4 miles up the canyon where there will be a parking area on the right side of the road at the highest point of North Ogden Canyon. There is a restroom here. The trail begins across the road from the parking area.
An alternative route from I-15 is to take the 2700 North Exit (Exit #349), drive east to Washington Blvd, turn left and as you climb the street becomes 400 East. Turn east at the traffic light at 3100 North and proceed east to the trailhead. This route saves you a lot of traffic light stop-and-go from 12th Street.
North Fork Park Trailhead:
From I-15, drive to Ogden and take the 12th Street Exit. Drive through Ogden Canyon until you come to Highway 158 and the Pineview Reservoir Dam. Turn left and follow the brown recreation signs to Wolf Creek and Powder Mountain. Wind around the reservoir until you reach a fork in the road. Veer to the left here, staying on Highway 158. You will come to a stop sign. Turn left here onto Highway 162 and drive north for about 3 miles, turning left on 4100 North. Almost immediately, take the first righthand turn, onto 3300 East. There will be signs that point up this road to "North Fork" and "Avon". In 1.8 miles, turn left on the North Fork Road. One mile later turn left on 5950 North at a sign that says Ben Lomond Trailhead and North Fork Park. You'll reach another intersection with a road coming in to your left and just go straight ahead to the parking area near the horse corrals. It's a small trailhead, but isn’t used much, so you shouldn't have any problems finding a spot. Passenger cars should be able to reach this trailhead when it is dry.
Cutler Basin Trailhead:
Drive on I-15 to Ogden and take the 12th Street exit. Then drive through the canyon. At Pineview Reservoir, turn left across the dam following the brown recreation signs to Wolf Creek and Powder Mountain. Drive into the town of Eden at the stop sign near the shopping center and gas station and turn left. Turn left again at the stop sign in Liberty and drive north. Follow signs to Weber County North Fork Park, Picnic and Camp Area. Drive north instead of turning left toward North Fork Park. After passing Camp Lomondi stay straight when a dirt road turns right and uphill. Follow signs for "Cutler Flat Campground." Drive through the campground's recreation field to its north side. Turn right then immediately left just before the East Bowery Area. The trailhead is on County property at a dirt cul-de-sac near the red steel gate.
Willard Basin Trailhead:
Drive on I-15 to Brigham City and take exit 362 toward the city of Logan. Turn east on Highway 91 towards the mountains and into the canyon. Drive to Mantua and turn south into town. Go right and look for the obvious road leading up into the mountains at another right turn. It will become a washboard dirt road after that. You can drive all the way to Willard Basin if the road is dry. It is advised that you don't drive on this road after a heavy rain storm. After the first three miles, the road is too rough in spots for a passenger car. A high clearance vehicle is recommended but four wheel drive usually isn't needed. Watch out for ATV's because they travel this road a lot. Allow an hour or more to drive there from Mantua.
Here is a map for the road from Mantua to Willard Basin
Here are the four main routes that go to the summit of Ben Lomond. There are also more difficult routes that can be climbed. Some of these routes I did several years ago so I'll probably hike them again later and update info if needed.
North Ogden Divide - (Skyline Trail)
This route starts from North Ogden Divide and is known as the Skyline Trail. The northern section of the trail goes to Ben Lomond and Willard Peak and the southern section goes toward Lewis Peak. It is one of the most heavily used trails in the Ogden area and the most popular route to Ben Lomond. This is also the longest route to the summit.
From the trailhead, you'll have to walk across the other side of the road to the beginning of the trail. There will be a map and a sign that states mileage. The trail goes through the forest at the bottom. It then opens up and starts climbing a series of long switchbacks up the mountainside. At 2 miles, the trail rises along a ridgeline, heading west away from the Ogden Valley. At 3 miles, the trail travels through a forest of fir, pinion, and quaking aspen as it climbs along the east side of the rising ridgeline. The cooler northern slopes of the trail include ferns among tall Douglas Fir.
At 4 miles, you've climbed 2,100 vertical feet, and the trail crosses to the west side of the ridge. The grade here is generally uphill, but with a little up and down. You'll climb another 500 feet over the next 2.7 miles. The ridgeline is the nicest part of the hike. You're high above a valley looking off toward the side. There are rocky cliffs and outcrops on the right side of the trail. Chilly Peak is one of the highpoints along the ridge that you pass by. Looking back south along the ridgeline is a great view through the stunted fir and pinion.
At 6.7 miles, you reach the base of Ben Lomond below the east side of the mountain. There is a trail junction here with routes coming up from Cutler Basin and North Fork Park. The last part is a 1.5 mile hike with 1,000 feet elevation gain over numerous switchbacks. The trail is in good condition for hikers but some mountain bikers say it is steep. You’ll recognize the summit by the large metal register which has a plaque with information on Ben Lomond.
(Distance is 8.2 miles to the summit of Ben Lomond with 3,600 feet elevation gain)
The Cutler Basin Trail is the steepest of the three routes to Ben Lomond that originate in Ogden Valley. It is also the shortest route from the valley, with the other two starting from North Ogden Pass and North Fork Park. The Cutler Basin Trail and Ben Lomond trail from North Fork Park are not open to motor vehicles. These trails are commonly used illegally by people riding motorcycles and ATV's. The Skyline Trail is the only route open to motor vehicles.
There have been reports that this trail is overgrown in some places. There may be bushwhacking involved if you choose to hike up this route. Be prepared and carry a map and have good navigational skills. Few if any signs mark the way so it can be a little confusing for anyone who hasn't been in the area before.
The first part of the trail is well used and easy to follow. After about two miles there is a fork in the trail. Go right, just after which you'll come to Cutler Spring with a small pond. The trail is a steep climb for 3 miles and joins the Ben Lomond Trail just south of Culter Spring. The ascent to this point gains 2,300 feet of elevation on a rocky trail. This area near Cutler Basin is a very beautiful part of the Northern Wasatch. Cutler Basin trail is named after a scenic alpine basin formed by Ben Lomond and Willard Peaks. You can still see remains of fencing along the trail, where early settlers graved livestock in the summer months.
This trail then connects with the Skyline Trail which winds off to the south. The trail flattens at the base of the peak. You can now follow the switchbacks to the top of the mountain. It takes most of a day to hike the trail for most people. This trail isn't usually crowded with hikers but it is popular with horseback riders and mountain bikers. The Cutler Basin trail is used less often than the Ben Lomond trail from North Fork Park because it is steeper and more strenuous. The trail offers scenic views of Ben Lomond and Willard Peaks, and there are some outstanding rock formations along the way.
(Summer: Distance is 6 miles to the summit of Ben Lomond with 3,712 feet elevation gain)
(Winter: Distance is 4 miles to the summit from the parking area with 4,100 feet elevation gain)
North Fork Park
North Fork Park is located on the east side of Ben Lomond. The trailhead begins at the south end of Weber County North Fork Park near the horse corrals. The trailhead access begins on County property, and then changes over to National Forest land. The trail is labeled on maps and signed as Ben Lomond trail.
After leaving the parking area just past the corrals, the trail crosses Cobble Creek and begins a series of switchbacks up the mountain. There is a waterfall that cascades from Cold Spring at mile 1.6. The trail is nice and wide, rocky, and in great shape. After a couple miles later, it becomes overgrown with surrounding brush making the trail hard to follow sometimes. The Ben Lomond Trail connects with the Cutler Spring Trail just before Bailey Cabin Spring. After several miles, the trail makes a turn on a ridge next to some large cliffs and heads back north.
After 3 miles the trail flattens out a bit and crosses a saddle where there are good camping spots. You'll get a nice view of Ben Lomond and Willard Peak from here. The next part of the hike takes you right below the east face of Ben Lomond. This trail then connects with the Skyline Trail which starts from North Ogden Pass. Now you can follow that trail as it switchbacks to the summit. It takes most of a day to hike this trail but it is easier than the route from Cutler Basin. Most people use this trail from summer to late fal