Mount Olympus, rising nearly 5000 feet above the bustling Wasatch Valley, typifies both the geology and mountain culture of Salt Lake City. From the base the summit is not particularly prominent, although the abruptness with which this peak, and the Wasatch Range in general, rise from the valley below impresses both visitors and residents alike. The transformation from modern city to rugged backcountry terrain is similarly abrupt; the normal trailhead is on a busy street, yet after a half mile the trail crosses into the Mount Olympus Wilderness. Mount Olympus is a prominent part of the Salt Lake City skyline and it's north face will impress even the most zealous mountaineer.
The mountain is climbed often, usually via the class 3 (YDS) Mount Olympus Trail
, which climbs 4200 feet over 3.5 miles from the well-marked trailhead at 5800 S. and Wasatch Blvd. Olympus offers many mountaineering routes. One could spend an entire summer exploring the mountain.
Getting to the Base
The address of the trailhead is approximately Wasatch Blvd. and Tolcate Hills Rd.
The trailhead is roughly 1/4 mile north of Tolcate Hills Road along Wasatch Blvd at 5800 south on the east side of Wasatch Blvd., and is marked with a brown sign reading "Mount Olympus Trailhead". Park either along Wasatch Blvd. or in a slightly hidden parking lot just north of the trailhead. Local authorities prefer for you to park in the parking lot rather than along Wasatch Blvd. Juveniles often make victims of those who park in the "hidden" lot. I recommend you park along Wasatch Blvd. It adds 20 feet of elevation gain and 30 yards of hiking to your start.
Mount Olympus is inside the Mount Olympus Wilderness
. The Mount Olympus Wilderness consists of approximately 16,000 acres and is generally bounded on the north by Mill Creek Canyon, on the south by Big Cottonwood Canyon, on the west by the Salt Lake Valley, and on the east by Gobbler's Knob, Alexander Basin, and Dog Lake."
Motor vehicles, mechanized equipment, hang gliders, bicycles, relieving yourself in the SLC water supply, group sizes exceeding 10 persons, camping within 200 feet of lakes, streams, springs, or other water sources, camping within 200 feet of trails, camping for more than 3 days at one site, short cutting a trail switchback, and disposing of garbage, debris, or other waste.
"For further information contact the Salt Lake Ranger District at (801) 733-2660 or our Outdoor Recreation Information Center at (801) 466-6411"
DO NOT SHORT CUT SWITCHBACKS
Trail erosion has become a huge problem on the main trail up Mount Olympus. This trail sees heavy use, especially to Tolcat Creek 1.5 miles up the trail from Wasatch Blvd. Those who use the first portion of the trail are often just out for a short hike to walk their dog, check out the views of the valley, or look at flora and fauna. Trail erosion, trail braiding, and litter are increasingly becoming troublesome on this first section to Tolcat Creek.
If you choose to use this approach DO NOT cut switchbacks. Stay on the trail. If you're too lazy to hike the entire trail then perhaps you should have elected to stay in the lazy boy!