The Mount Olympus West Flank Ridge Trail is a Salt Lake City classic. This prominent peak can be seen from just about anywhere in the valley, and its unusual shape makes it easily recognizable. Even its name hints at the epic nature of this hike. Although it’s only a little more than three miles, the Mount Olympus West Flank Ridge Trail is a very strenuous hike. It starts steep and becomes more and more difficult, eventually turning into a full-blown scramble to the summit. But the reward is worth every effort-filled, blister-inducing step. The views of the Wasatch and the Salt Lake Valley are absolutely mind-blowing.
What Makes It Great
Everything about the Mount Olympus West Flank Ridge Trail is huge, except the mileage. The steeps are steep, and the views are incredible. The trail is also popular in winter because of the quick elevation gain with relatively low avalanche danger.
The trail begins at the parking lot on Wasatch Blvd and immediately begins ascending sharply up a steep stair-like section. Soon you’ll come to long switchbacks with magnificent views of the Salt Lake Valley. The trail remains steep, navigating steep scree-fields and rocky out-crops. Try not to be distracted by the views—one wrong step…
Eventually the trail reaches the ridge. Here the surroundings change to high-alpine, dominated by large Douglas Firs. Soon you’ll reach the scramble to the south summit and some of the most awe-inspiring views in the Salt Lake area. Remember not to drain the tanks completely, though. The descent can be just as fatiguing and much more treacherous than the climb. You’ll need a snack and some water at the top, not to mention a few minutes to rest.
Who is Going to Love It
This hike isn’t going to be very fun for folks who are badly out of shape or who don’t get into a good cardio workout. Sure, you can take your time and hike it slow, but even at a moderate pace you can expect it to take 4 to 6 hours round-trip. For outdoor enthusiasts in relatively good condition, however, this hike is absolutely incredible and worth every drop of sweat. Just remember to carry water and save some energy for the hike down.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Parking for the trailhead isn’t difficult to find. From downtown, take I-80 east to the 215 beltway. Take I-215 south to the 4500 south exit. Take a left, then a right onto Wasatch Blvd. Take a left onto Wasatch, heading south for 1.6 miles. Parking is on the left (east) side of the road and is well-marked. If the lot is full, you can park along Wasatch Blvd.
There are no fees for trail use. Because Mount Olympus is connected to the Salt Lake City water supply, dogs are not allowed. That also means that you better take a bathroom break before heading up.