Chalk Creek-Bear Canyon-Paradise Canyon

Chalk Creek-Bear Canyon-Paradise Canyon

Page Type: Route
Lat/Lon: 58.63287°S / 24.26156°W
Route Type: Hiking
Season: Fall
Time Required: Most of a day
Difficulty: Moderate


I have chosen to add this route to the page since the route is only referred to in the existing information. The route is described in the book High in Utah. Plan for about 6-8 hours round trip (@12 miles), depending upon conditions and how much time you like to spend taking in views at the top, and expect 4,500'+ elevation gain if you hike to the middle bump before summiting Mine Camp Peak.

Getting There

You re heading in the right direction.
You're getting there.
Take either Fillmore exit from I-15 and find 200 South Canyon Road leading east from Main Street. Plan for about 25 minutes to reach the TH from here. The paved road becomes graded oil hard pack and eventually transitions to graded gravel; follow signs to Pistol Rock Campground. (Do not go the the Chalk Creek Trail area.)  
Getting very warm.
Only 100 yards to go.
The total distance from the Main Street turnoff to the TH is about 9.5 miles, the last 2.8 miles offering a plunging descent into the narrow but picturesque Vee that is Chalk Creek Canyon. Two hundred yards beyond Pistol Rock Campground the now-narrowed road veers sharply left, and here there is a small area for turning around and/or parking. The Chalk Creek is on your right and a trail leading past a wooden rail fence lies straight ahead. This is the trailhead. Elevation: (my GPS) 6,350'.
At the trailhead.
The infamous TH.

Route Description

One of many crossings.
Seven crossings - swim at your own risk!
The sign on the fence.
Sign at beginning of wooden fence, 100 yards into the hike.
Hike straight, passing between the rail fence and the creek, and look for an immediate stream crossing on a de-barked log, the first of at least seven but the only one with such a nice big log. Most of the other crossings consist of boulders.

Many signs early in the hike.
One of several signs you'll see early on.

Twenty minutes into the hike.
Signs at about the one-mile point. Bear to the right.

The way is alternately rocky and one-lane dirt trail. In general, keep gently veering to the right when you think you are entering a "new" canyon. At about the one-mile point there are several signs, some pointing to Bear Canyon and Paradise Canyon. You will know when you are in Bear Canyon, but knowing that you are in Paradise Canyon is not quite as easy. Hike through one small and soon a larger meadow and then you are in Paradise Canyon. The headwall is steep and seems never-ending.
Ouch, that headwall was a grind!
View of Mine Camp Peak from the top of Paradise Canyon headwall.

At the headwall ridge you can at last see Mine Camp Peak, the rounded peak furthest to the right of three distinct peaks. White Pine Peak is the left-most bump and is easily distinguished by the antennae gracing its summit.

You should intercept an ATV trail here; follow it generally south and ascend past a sign with bright yellow letters pointing to "Paradise Trail" (where you just came from). This ATV trail serpentines upward, and after a few minutes of ascent you will come to a cattle guard. 
The famous cattle guard.
At the cattle guard drop down to the right.
The ATV trail continues to the south side of the middle bump, but you want to look for a faint trail to the right. This will lead you down to a saddle about 175' below the road. As you descend, look for the general way leading up to the obvious gentle summit of Mine Camp Peak. There should be a cairn and, when we visited, there was a pint glass jar containing a small spiral-bound summit register. From the cattle guard to the summit will take about 20 minutes.
At the summit.
At the summit.

It took us 3+45 total to reach the summit; snow obscured portions of the trail and we lost it several times as we climbed through Paradise Canyon. The going up the headwall was really slow because of the slippery conditions. Our return to the TH from the summit took 2+43.

Essential Gear

Standard gear, appropriate for the season. We hiked it on November 21, 2008, and lingering snow from two earlier snow storms made the ascent up the Paradise Canyon headwall tricky. With deeper snow appropriate snow gear would be a must. Because of the numerous stream crossings during the first half hour one might consider taking sturdy sandals or neoprene booties and avoid the possibilty of soaking your hiking boots so early in the adventure.

External Links

Add External Links text here.

Miscellaneous information which might be useful for planning.

Distance from Cottonwood Heights, UT, to Chalk Creek TH: 150 miles

Time to drive from Cottonwood Heights to the TH: 2 hours 45 minutes

Elevation gain (including hiking the middle bump bewteen White Pine Peak and Mine Camp Peak): 4,650'

GPS coordinates:

Chalk Creek TH N 38 55.297' W 112 12.887'

First meadow (1+30 elapsed time): N 38 53.415' W 112 13.216'

Top of Paradise Canyon headwall (3+03): N 38 52.593' W 112 14.410

Cattle guard: N 38 52.299' W 112 14.812'