OverviewThis summit resides on the Wasatch Crest Ridge directly above the Great Western Trail and is often overlooked by many. This peak is #32 on a list of the highest points in Salt Lake County, according to John Veranth's book "Hiking the Wasatch."
The views from the summit are great. The Honeycomb Cliffs are seen to the south in a rather rugged fashion. To the east looking down Big Cottonwood it seems as though Mt. Raymond and Kessler Peak create a pretty formidable obstacle. Only a small portion of the Salt Lake Valley can been seen in the natural "V" shape Big Cottonwood provides near it's mouth. Directly to the north/east areas are Park City which seems only slightly lower. The summit is worth a trip to see these different vantage points alone.
Another interesting thing about this summit is the Nugget Sandstone formation that makes up the summit ridge. For those of us accustomed to either Granite or Quartzite in the Big Cottonwood area, the Nugget Sandstone seems almost foreign, especially when sticking out of the snow in the colder seasons.
Getting ThereFrom the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon, the drive to the gate is 10 miles east. A good reference is once passing the Spruces Campground area, drive 2.4 miles to a locked watershed gate on the north side of the road. This is the start of the route leading up Beartrap Fork. Park along either side of the road, elevation at the gate is 7,565 feet. Plan on 2,441 feet of elevation gain and 2.4 miles to the summit. GPS coordinates at the gate location are: 40.38293 N, 111.37299 W.
Another approach, yet longer, is taking the Great Western Trail from Scott's Hill near Guardsman's Pass and following the trail as it crosses the Wasatch Crest. This route is longer, yet not much elevation changes compared to Beartrap Fork. During the summer months, a fast approach to the summit would be to mountain bike the Great Western Trail, leaving the bike/s below and making the peak a 30 minute side trip.
Red TapeThe lower portion of the Beartrap Fork route crosses private property, give property owners plenty of respect. There are no fees to access the area. The occasional large snowstorm during winter months may shut down the Big Cottonwood Road from time to time.
This is a watershed area, so follow the rules as such. Attention should be paid to current avalance conditions during the winter season, please check out the Utah Avalanche Center link here for the most current updated information.