North Face Trail

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 40.65700°N / 111.77°W
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering, Scrambling
Additional Information Time Required: A long day
Additional Information Difficulty: class 3-4 scramble, very steep hikng
Sign the Climber's Log


There is no official trailhead to the route, but the trail is easy to find. From I-215, exit onto Wasatch Blvd (northbound; via 39th S, southbound). Drive south and turn left onto Oakview Dr. Follow the road all the way to the end, where it makes a sharp turn to the right and doubles back up the hill a short distance farther. At the end of the road is a gate. Continue on the pavement by foot past the gate. This access road doubles back and ends at some water tanks near the mouth of a gulley. Look near the fence surrounding the water tanks and you will see the trail on the east side of the gulley.


Approaching the north face
Another approach shot

Route Description

The trail contines partway up the leftside of the gulley and soom crosses over to the ridge on the west side of the gulley. Continue up the crest of the ridge untill you reach a rock wall and pine trees. There should be a passage to your right that drops down towards another gulley.

Traverse the side of the gulley and head up the rock-strewn chute filled with pine trees. Midway up there is a rock wall blocking the route. This can be overcome by scrambling about 10-15 feet up the left side and traversing back over to the chute. At the top of the chute, traverse to the saddle on your left. From here you can see into a couloir that runs diagonally across the north face. (This couloir can also be accessed via North Fork, which empties into Neffs Canyon.)

From here you hike up the couloir. Partway across the face the couloir opens up and the pathway branches. Take the right route that drops down a little ways into another couloir. Follow this couloir to the prominent skyline of the north face. From here, it is about a 20-30 minute scramble along the top of the ridgeline to reach the summit. Before the summit you will encounter an impassable wall interrupting the ridgeline. Downclimb into the notch below you and continue hiking parallel to the ridgeline until you come to a saddle. From the saddle you can easily find a minor summit to your left looking down the north face. To your right is a class 4 scramble to the north summit.

The summit can also be reached more easily by crossing the gulley you downclimbed into, rather than hiking up it. Scramble below the ridge that makes the southern boundary of the gulley and scramble up the chute that cuts through this ridgeline. The summit block is a giant diamond-shaped rock. You can't miss it!

For the descent you can either descend the route, but it is more enjoyable to either do the Sumit Traverse or the West Ridge.

The route up the north face...
North Face Couloir
Looking down the north face...

Essential Gear

Lots of water (there is no water along the route)
Map (compass not really needed)

The couloir is full of snow in the wintertime and might be a high avalanche hazard. I'm uncertain about wintertime conditions, but snowshoes are probably needed in winter, and crampons and an ice axe are probably needed in the spring since the couloir is in perpetual shade in the winter.

A view of Salt Lake City from...
Looking up the first chute...
The north face
The south side of Mount...

Red Tape

Even though the route travels through the Mount Olympus wilderness area, there is no permit needed. Group sizes are limited to 10 people, and no dogs are allowed.

There are only a few sections...

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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drobrecht - Feb 11, 2016 2:53 am - Hasn't voted

Easier to just start at Neff's

I haven't actually tried the watertower route, I don't like confrontation and have no desire to mess with someone's private property. But following Gary Nichols advice in "Trails of the Wasatch". I just started at the Neff's Canyon trailhead and went up North's Fork, past Olympus Spring, and took the 2nd canyon on the Right (this was tricky, it wasn't totally clear what counts as a "canyon". I had to use the map on my phone to judge when I was at the base of the correct slot.) From there it was just a really fun non-technical hike/climb all the way up. If indeed the watertower route is blocked by private property, I would propose Neff's becomes the "standard" route for this hike. I can't figure out how to post a GPX here, but it is on peakbagger at

Viewing: 1-1 of 1



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