In the winter time when the access to the Central Oquirrhs is closed, the easiest peak to climb in the Oquirrhs goes to Porphyry Hill. At 8,716 feet this summit is not as tall as its neighbors to the west but the views are A+ on a clear day. Expanisve views of the surrounding desert, Stansburry Range as well as the southern Oquirrh Range peaks makes this area perfect for those who are new to the Oquirrh Mountain Range. Due to the close proximity of this peak to the road, it is not surprizing to see other hikers, snowmobilers, skiers, snowshoers. In the summer time for some reason this place is very popular with the cows. All in all Porphyry's centralized location is very convinent for both climbing and exploring future climbing routes in this otherwise lonely mountain range.
Porphyry Hill from Sharp Mountain
Summitpost member BigAirBear nearing the summit of Porphyry Hill
Summitpost member BigAirBear reaching the summit of Porphyry Hill
A beautiful view from Porphyry Hill
Getting To The Mountain
From I-80 get off at the Tooele/Stansbury exit (Exit 99) and follow State Route 36 for approx. 20+ miles to a junction. Make a left onto State Route 73 and continue driving it for 7 miles until you see a turn off for the town of Ophir. Drive through the small town sticking to their version of a main street. Soon the speed bumps will disappear and the road will turn to dirt. From here it should be mentioned that a small river crossing may be encountered, especially in the spring when the snowpack is melting off. One could take a 2 wheel drive car up this dirt road, however it is recommended that you have a 4 wheel drive vehical for this trailhead. Just before Serviceberry Canyon there will be a water maintence area with a bridge on the right side of the road. Park here.
The Town of Ophir
The Porphyry Hill trailhead
The best route to follow starts at the above mentioned trailhead. From your car immeadately cross the river using the bridge and continue on this road in a southerly direction. Eventually after several criss crosssings you should come up on a bend in the road. From here there will be a sign that reads no motor vehicals. Follow this narrow hiking path along the river, keeping to the marked up trees. Eventually you will reach a pass. From Porphyry Pass head west up to the summit of Porphyry Hill. Enjoy the views and please leave the moutain/trail the way you found it.
The South Fork of Ophir Canyon
Summitpost member BigAirBear skinning up one of the many east ridges of Porphyry Hill
When the snowpack is finally deep enough (around January) the Northeast and Westerly aspects of Porphyry Hill are a skiers paradise. Tree skiing in the Porphyry Hill area is not an option due to extremely thick forest growth over the years. The best skiing is on the Northwest Face. Dropping from the summit this short and steep face is a great loop tour. Another great option is to ski the Northeast Chutes back into The South Fork of Ophir Canyon. Avalanches do occur here so be sure to dig snowpits and make wise snowpack evalutations as you travel.
Skiing Porphyry Hill
Summitpost Member BigAirBear on the summit of Porphyry Hill
Summitpost member BigAirBear skiing Porphyry Hill
"Mountaineering is more than climbing (exercise), panoramic views, and wilderness experience. It is also challenge, risk, and hardship (self reliance). And it is not for everyone. Those drawn to the mountains can find them exhilarating and irresistible, as well as frustrating and sometimes even deadly. There are qualities to mountaineering that bring inspiration and joy in a pursuit that is more than a pastime, more than a sport – a passion, certainly, and sometimes a compulsion."
--Mountaineering: "Freedom of the Hills", Chp. 1