Tucked away in the Wasatch Mountains east of Salt Lake City, Mineral Fork Trail is a great challenging hike with magnificent scenery and solitude.

The trailhead begins along Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, with a relatively small parking lot at the trailhead. Starting early in the day is advised, as on nice summer days it will fill up quickly. The trail has a steady ascent for the first 2 miles starting around 6700' through aspen forests and criss-crosses streams as it makes its way up the valley.

After 2 miles the valley opens up into a wide meadow that in May-June are filled with blooming wildflowers. In 0.5 mile the trail passes one of two old mines located along the trail: The Wasatch Mine, around 8700', was proposed as a gold and silver mine until little was found there. The mine tailings are piled up outside the mine entrance, and for a rockhound make for a great mineral hunting experience.

From the Wasatch Mine, the trail begins to steepen in grade and become more strenuous for the final 2.1 miles. The trail ends in a large rock-strewn amphitheater carved into the mountainside above 10,000' that in summer retains a significant amount of snow. The second of the mines, the Regulator Johnson mine, is located here. If you want a spectacular view down Big Cottonwood Canyon towards Salt Lake City, scrambling the final ~200' up the side of the bowl with give you breathtaking views of the region.

Be prepared, weather can change in an instant, so make certain to bring along appropriate gear for the elements.

Pack List

  • Daypack
  • Lunch & Snacks
  • Water (3-4 liters at minimum)
  • Trekking Poles (optional)
  • Camera
  • Hiking Boots
  • Rain Jacket
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RT Distance 9.3 Miles
Elevation Gain 3500 Feet
Activities Photography, Mountain Biking, Running, Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Forest
River
Scenic
Wildflowers

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Excellent Alternative to Lake Blanche

Venture up the Big Cottonwood Canyon another mile past the Lake Blanche Trailhead and skip all the crowds. On a Saturday afternoon, we were the only ones at the trailhead and only saw a few others on our way back. We hiked it in late June, so we could only reach the first mine.

Crowds Are Few

I have done this trail a few times after work in the summer. I love that there are not large crowds. I didn't get to finish the hike one time because a moose and her calf were blocking the trail and didn't want to move.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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