NOTE: Rudy’s Flat, by definition, isn’t a summit but it is a much referenced cross point on the way to “the back country” east of Bountiful and north of Salt Lake City Utah. Rudy's Flat doesn’t meet the criteria for “peak” but the route there is worth the time.
With the mercury rising and global warming kicking our collective butts, the search for a pleasant summer trail becomes a quest. The hike from Mueller Park to Rudy’s Flat is a forested gem directly adjacent to Bountiful Utah and stays cool when the rest of the state is driving you toward your air conditioned house. This 13-mile round trip trek is entirely on well-maintained trails through thick forest and is a perfect summer workout.
In addition to summer hikes, the route to Rudy’s Flat is great in the fall featuring some of the area’s best foliage changes. During the winter, the route is beaten down and easily snowshoed or Nordic skied (if you have medium skills). The trail is popular year around.
The trail starts just before entering the Mueller Park, crosses a bridge and winds up the hillside for 7 miles before reaching the camping area at Rudy’s Flat. 100% of the hike is in the forest so you only catch glimpses of the canyon below and the Great Salt Lake. The trail itself is “soft” with pine needles and very little gravel making it an outstanding mountain bike trail. All wet spots and creek crossings are bridged. It is generally kid friendly and the only technical skill you need is the ability to walk.
Landmarks along the way include the newly constructed pipeline at about 1.5 miles. The pipeline is below ground but the area is cleared. At the pipeline, if you go south steeply up the hill, you can climb Cave Peak. At 3.5 miles the trail splits with a very short spur going to Elephant Head Rock (on USGS maps as “Big Rock”). This large rock, which vaguely resembles an Elephant Head, is a good short hike turn around point. There are a couple of benches to rest on and overlooks the canyon and Bountiful. From Elephant Head Rock, the trail continues for 3 more miles to Rudy’s Flat.
From Lists of John
Counties: Davis & Salt Lake
Quad: Fort Douglas
Line Parent: Grandview Peak
Proximate Parent: Dude Benchmark
Isolation: 1.51 miles
Trailhead Location: 40.861992,-111.830864
Trailhead Elevation: 5400
Elephant Head Rock Location: 40.8547°N, 111.8169°W
Rudy Flat Location: 40.8399°N, 111.8116°W
Distance Trailhead to Elephant Head (Big Rock): ~3.5 Miles
Distance Trailhead to Rudy’s Flat: ~7 Miles
Hike Time: 4 Hours
Vertical Gain: 1780
The North Canyon Trail and Mueller Park Trails converge at Rudy’s Flat. There are several peaks in the area. Cave Peak is immediately off the Mueller Park Trail. Grandview Peak and Dude Benchmark are also accessible.
The trailhead is located at Mueller Park in Bountiful. From I-15, take exit 315. Turn left onto 2600. Follow 2600 about 1 mile to Orchard Drive. Continue on Orchard Drive for about 1 Mile. Turn Right on E1800. Go East 2.6 Miles until you reach Mueller Park. The trailhead is located BEFORE you enter Mueller Park. Park in the small parking lot near the Bridge or back on E1800. Don’t go into the Park.
100% of the trail is on USFS land. Abide by federal regulations. Don’t crap just anywhere. No fighting, drug use, or loud rock-n-roll music. Pack in/pack out all trash and practice leave no trace camping. Avoid going off trail as much of the surrounding area is privately owned. Mountain Bikes are allowed. Dogs and horses are allowed.
The area is home to a wide variety of Utah animals including bears, cougars, moose, elk and deer. In addition, there are squirrels and chipmunks along the route.
Rudy’s Flat is a popular primitive camping area. There are some small streams in the area which were running in August for water resupply. Rudy’s Flat looks like it has about a ½ dozen fire rings and cleared areas available to camp. Practice Leave No Trace camping.