Snow Basin Trailhead, located at the Snow Basin ski resort, serves over a dozen hiking trails and is a great staging area for attempting Mt. Ogden (9570), Allen (9465), Sardine (7485), DeMoisy (8369), and/or Strawberry (9265) peaks from the east. Despite being a commercial resort, for the purposes of hiking/climbing, Snow Basin is ran more like a partnership with the USFS. The owners seem to go out of their way to accommodate hiking/climbing and seem to encourage people to use their resort for activities other than skiing.
Snow Basin resort is one of the oldest continually operated ski resorts in the US. It first opened in 1939 and was an intergal part of the USFS restoring the Wheeler Creek Watershed. Prior to the 1930s, the area had been severly damaged by mining, over-grazing and over-logging. The ski resort, combined with the national forest was a key element in resolving the previous environmental impacts. The USFS had worked to establish numerous small ski resorts during the 1930s and Snow Basin remained a relatively low-key operation until hosting some of the 2002 Winter Olympic Alpine skiing events.
The main trail for attempting Mt Ogden, Allen, DeMoisy and Strawberry peaks follows the Snow Basin service road up the side up the mountain and cross under the ski lifts. The road starts about 100 feet west of the gondola lift. Trail maps indicating these trails are available in the Grizzly Center. If you feel like you need to get on top of a mountain but don’t really much want to hike, the gondola will take you up to Needles Restaurant near the summits for around $15 on summer weekends.
The Snow Basin Resort also offers Shuttle Service for hikers and bikers on summer Saturdays and Sundays. The price of the Shuttle is included in your gondola ticket or bike rental. Shuttle stops and times are: Pineview Trailhead 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM and Middle Fork Trailhead 11:45 AM and 3:45 PM.
The main trail for Sardine is located next to the north lower parking lot. It looks like an abandoned dirt road and is blocked to vehicular traffic by a gate. This area is excellent for snowshoeing and is groomed for cross-country skiing (no charge) in the winter. It proceeds about a half mile to Maples picnic area and then onto the USFS trail to Sardine Peak.
The area is popular with mountain bikes and horse riders in the summer and snowshoe/Nordic skiers in the winter. The area is normally quiet without too large of herds of people in the summer. Wintertime the area gets crowded on weekends.
There aren’t any formal camping sites in the general area, although once into the USFS area there are a couple of spots for primitive camping. Use established fire rings whenever possible and practice “leave no trace” camping. Obviously, no camping is allowed in the resort area. There aren’t any water sources going up the Snow Basin ski area (Mt Ogden).
From Interstate 15, turn onto I-84E, drive 11.7 miles and take Exit 92 to Mountain Green/Huntsville. Drive .2 miles to UT-167 (North Trappers Loop Road) and follow the UT-167 for 5.5 miles. You’ll see the turn to Snow basin (UT-226) on the top of the hill. Drive 3 miles on UT-226, Snow Basin Rd. Once at the resort, park in the main parking lot to go up Mt Ogden/Strawberry/DeMoisy or park in the north part of the lower parking lot to go to Sardine.
Terrain and Wildlife
The area around the trailhead has the usual Utah wildlife including deer, elk, rabbits, ermine, squirrels, and the like. It is also heavily populated with moose, so be extra cautious and bring pepper spray (they sometimes are really ill-tempered!). It is an excellent bird-watching area. Mosquitoes are negligible but the flies get really thick in the spring/summer. Like everywhere else in Utah, watch out for rattlesnakes.
The forest in the area is thick pine, fir and oak. There are small swampy ponds in the area which draw a good deal of wildlife. Springtime offers fields of pretty wildflowers and you get good leaf changes in the fall. The entire area, of course, gets copious amounts of snow in the winter.
For those chasing exotic fauna, I recently met a Cryptozoologist near Sardine Peak who was in hot pursuit of Sasquatch. According to the Crytozoologist, the Northern Wasatch is a hotbed of Big Foot activity and he has identified 8 in the area (from the size and location of their footprints). Now, I'm not saying that large creature you hear busting through the forest isn't a moose, I'm just saying....
No fees but keep in mind much of the area is private property...be extra courteous so the Snow Basin people continue to be helpful.
On USFS property, please obey all federal, state and local regulations (e.g. don’t pee just anywhere, no fighting, loud rock-n-roll music, or unattended campfires, etc…).
For snowshoeing and Nordic skiing to Sardine, there aren’t any fees (including Free Parking!).
Dogs, horses and mountain bikes are allowed. No motor vehicles. Campfires are restricted.