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Mount Raymond

Basics
Location:
In Big Cottonwood Canyon southeast of downtown Salt Lake City
Length:
8.1 mile roundtrip
Difficulty:
Intermediate
Time:
4 to 4-1/2 hours
Elevation Change:
3161 feet
Season:
July to October

Description

Mount Raymond is slightly lower than its popular neighbor, Gobblers Knob, but it is more fun to climb. The angular peak rises from the apex of three weathered limestone ridges that come together at roughly equal angles on the eastern side of the Mount Olympus Wilderness Area. The assent route described here follows one of the ridges up from Baker Pass. It is an easy walk most of the way, but the last few hundred yards involve just enough scrambling to make the climb interesting. At the top you will be treated to an exhilarating view of Dromedary Peak and Twin Peaks on the other side of Big Cottonwood Canyon and Gobblers Knob east of Baker Pass.

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Details

Location:
In Big Cottonwood Canyon southeast of downtown Salt Lake City
Length:
8.1 mile roundtrip
Difficulty:
Intermediate
Time:
4 to 4-1/2 hours
Elevation Change:
3161
Season:
July to October
Additional Details:
This hike begins in Butler Fork, one of the prettiest areas in Big Cottonwood Canyon. The path meanders along the fork through the aspen and Douglas fir for about 0.5 miles, and then turns left onto another trail that follows a side canyon to the ridge east of the Mill A Basin. A Forest Service sign clearly marks the trail junction where you should bear left. From Butler Fork the trail climbs steadily to the west, beginning a series of switchbacks just before it reaches the ridge. Then, when you finally reach the ridge above Butler Fork the trail abruptly becomes flat again, and makes a sudden turn along the ridge to the north.

Once you reach the ridge, stop for a moment and look both ways. The main trail heads north to begin the long traverse around Mill A Basin, but you should see another fainter trail going back to the south. This is the trail to Circle All Peak. The trail to Circle All Peak is only 0.2 mile long with an elevation gain of 150 feet, so it would be a shame to miss it. The ten minute walk to the top will reward you with a nice view of Big Cottonwood Canyon, and also of your destination, Mount Raymond.

Continuing north on the main trail again, after 0.4 mile of level walking you will come to another trail junction. The right fork leads to Dog Lake, but to get to Baker Pass and Mount Raymond you must turn left. Again, the junction is clearly marked with a Forest Service sign. The next 1.2 miles across Mill A Basin to the top of Baker Pass is one of the most pleasant parts of the hike. The forest is more open here, with only an occasional grove of quaking aspen blocking the view, and Mount Raymond is clearly in sight. As you walk, study the ridge that runs from the west side of Bakers Pass to Mount Raymond. This will be your route to the summit. From the trail you can see the outcroppings of limestone on the ridge near the summit where you will have to do some scrambling to reach the top. Ten minutes before you reach Baker Pass you will see a smaller trail leading off to the left. This is the Mill B North Fork Trail that you will take on your way down. The trail to Baker Pass turns upward at this junction, reaching Baker Pass 0.2 mile later.

From Baker Pass it is a short but steep climb to the top of Mount Raymond. You still have about 900 feet of elevation to gain at this point. Two smaller trails branch off the main trail at the top of the pass, one leading to Gobblers Knob and one leading to Mount Raymond. Turn left here for Mount Raymond. (See page 116 for a discussion of the trail to Gobblers Knob.)

The trail to Mount Raymond climbs steadily up the grassy ridge for 0.5 miles, but then seems to disappear at the base of a badly fractured knife-edge ridge of quartzite. Proceed straight up the crest of the ridge. Although you will need both hands, the climb along the knife-edge is not nearly as bad as it looks. Furthermore, this is the worst part of the climb. Beyond the knife-edge there is more minor scrambling, with bits and pieces of the trail visible. It is easiest if you stay right on the crest of the ridge. Within another ten to fifteen minutes you should be at the top.

While you are at the top be sure to study the route from Baker Pass back down on the Mill B North Fork Trail. The first part of the trail is clearly visible south of the peak. Also, you might want to study the ridge connecting Baker Pass to Gobblers Knob, just in case you want to do that hike on another day.

When you are ready to return retrace your steps to a point about 0.2 mile below Baker Pass, where you earlier passed the Mill B North Fork Trail junction. If you are in a hurry you may want to continue down your original route to the Butler Fork Trailhead. For the sake of diversity, however, I suggest you turn right and make your descent along the Mill B North Fork Trail. The route is only 1.7 miles longer, and the scenery is much different.

The Mill B North Fork Trail winds around the south side of Mount Raymond for 1.2 miles, then comes to another junction with the Porter Fork Trail. Bear to the left at this point, towards Big Cottonwood Canyon. For the next 3.5 miles the trail meanders down the south slope of Mount Raymond, cutting through two small canyons and a grove of huge Douglas Fir trees before reaching the Mill B North Fork Trailhead. Finally, if you have time and energy left, you might want to double back up the bottom of Mill B North Fork Canyon to see Hidden Falls before you leave. It is only 0.1 mile from the trailhead.

Map + Directions

Basic Directions
From Downtown Salt Lake City, head south on I-15 about 8 miles to the I-215 Belt Route. Take I-215 East about 5 miles to 6200 South (Exit 6). Bear to the right off the exit ramp onto 6200 South and head east. (It'll turn south after a bit and and merge with Wasatch Boulevard, but just stay on the main road.) Follow it about 2 miles to the light at Big Cottonwood Canyon Road. (On the southwest corner of the intersection is a 7-Eleven gas station and mini-mart.) Take a left and head up canyon. The trailhead is 8 miles past the canyon entrance on the north side of the road. (Note: Along the trip from downtown you'll see large signs to the Solitude and Brighton ski resorts. These resorts are at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon, so if you follow those signs, you'll get to Big Cottonwood Canyon just fine.)

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