What a great day for a hike. I stumbled trying to get to the trailhead. I planned on accessing Skyline Drive from Bountiful and then driving Skyline to the TH. Unfortunately, I found that Skyline was closed due to hazardous conditions when I got to the ridgeline. I had to drive all the way back down to Bountiful and then drive to Farmington and back up to the ridgeline through Farmington. Be careful driving on both roads because there are many ATV's, Dirt Bikers, Bicylclists, and other cars using both roads. 4WD is not required.
When the road from Farmington tops out, you are next to the 2 large radar domes that occupy Francis Pk. There is plenty of parking at this point and there is a gate blocking motorized access to Francis Pk. There is also a smaller road off to the east of Francis that traverses the east side and proceeds further along the ridgeline. This road was blocked by snow drifts on the east side of Francis, but they were easy to walk around.
I wanted to tag the summit of Francis so I walked around the gate and headed up to the summit. It is about a 250ft Elevation Gain to the top where the radar domes are located. Once on top there is a beautiful view of the ridgeline going north to Thurston. There are about 6 sub peaks along the ridge between Francis and Thurston.
I headed off the back side of Francis on a patch of snow and picked up the road that came around the east side of Francis. the road roughly follows the ridge for the first mile and a half until it ends and a trail begins. I just followed the trail up and down and around several of the sub peaks. There was a big patch of snow on the east side of the one at 9491ft and I dropped down off the snow because it was pretty steep. Other hikers this day climbed directly over the top of this point and that was the way I should have gone.
Continue along the ridge until Thurston is directly ahead of you and then pick your way crosscountry up the south ridge. It is fairly steep, but the footing is good. I made a mistake here and kept following the trail around the west side of Thurston until I got to the Northwest ridge and I climbed that ridge instead.
The views from the summit are fantastic. The Salt Lake Valley is laid out below you to the west. It was a little hazy today, but the view was still magnificent. 2 other SPers with their dogs joined me on the summit and we enjoyed a nice lunch together.
The walk back to the car was uneventful. My total hike was about 9.0 miles, gained 2,450 feet, and took 4.5 hours, with the extra excursions to climb Francis and to travel around to the NW ridge of Thurston.
No comments posted yet.