Lone Peak is one of the most dramatic features in the Wasatch Range.
And one of the most challenging and spectacular hikes. The peak is a sharp point set in a line of gray granite cliffs. Begin by finding the Jacob’s Ladder Trailhead along the unpaved Draper-Alpine road. From the bottom of the trail, you have a view of the valley and the Draper LDS Temple. The trail goes up the bottom of the canyon for a while; from there it turns and heads directly up the mountainside. It’s called the Jacob’s Ladder Trail because it goes straight up to heaven and because you feel like you’re dying while you climb it. It’s very steep. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! That part of the trail faces south and catches a lot of sun. So if you are in that area during the afternoon, you should expect it to be very hot and dry. You’ll need plenty of water for this trip. Eventually, you come up over a ridge and the peak comes into view. The terrain changes drastically from dust and sand, desert shrubs, scrub oak and maple to tall coniferous forest and gray rock. As you go along, there is less and less soil until you are walking on the bare rock. Watch for the cairns that mark the way. A word of warning, there is more than one set of these. I didn’t realize that the first time I was on this trail, and I got badly off course. The way leads up through the rocks into the cirque below the cliffs, where you can enjoy the stunning views of the rock wall. Once you’ve crossed the cirque, it’s time to climb the chute, a narrow passage up to the ridge. Take your time, and watch for other climbers above and below you. Once you’re on the ridge itself, follow it along to the peak. It takes just a little bit of rock climbing to get there, and be careful! The actual peak is just a small rectangle of rock. From the top, you can see the Salt Lake and Utah valleys spread out below you, and the mountains all around you. You have a great view of Timpanogas to the south.
On the way down, keep your eye on the terrain. There is a point about a third of the way down when you have to cross the lower ridge, and if you miss it, you’ll be wandering the steep mountainside in the good old Wasatch brush (not recommended). I missed it the first time I did this hike and I had to climb back up the hill and cross the ridge to find the trail. When you get back to the top of the steep section, pause, take a moment, bend down and kiss your quads goodbye before you start down.
This is an amazing hike! I loved it, but it has been one of the more challenging climbs in this area. You cover a lot of elevation, and some tricky terrain. All totally worth it. Hike happy!
Distance: 11-13 miles
Elevation: 5672 ft
Time: 6-9 hours