Neff’s Canyon is a great hike just south of Millcreek Canyon. The trailhead is conveniently located at Olympus Cove, so you don’t have to take a gravel road or dive up a sketchy canyon. Just park the car and start your hike. Neff’s Canyon Trail is a 3.5 miles long. The first part of the trail is an old doubletrack Jeep road that eventually takes you into the Mount Olympus Wilderness area.
What Makes It Great
While not as popular as some of the hikes in the Cottonwoods, Neff’s Canyon has one distinct advantage over those other hikes—you can bring your dog along on this one. This is an important feature, since many of the area’s hikes are located in watershed areas where pets are not welcome.
The most popular destination in the Neff’s Canyon area is Mount Aire. The Mount Aire Trail runs from the saddle between Elbow Fork in Millcreek Canyon and Mount Aire Canyon in Parleys Canyon. The first landmarks you’ll reach on the old Jeep trail are a water tower and a small service shack with a chain-link fence around them. Continuing up the trail you’ll reach an area with a little brook running through it. If you continue up above the brook on the left fork, it’ll take you to a narrow singletrack trail that takes you up the canyon. Eventually, the trail winds its way up through some oak brush and some rocky areas. As you come to a turnaround spot, the brook reappears and you continue up the canyon. Eventually you’ll reach a mountain meadow in the Mount Olympus Wilderness area. This is a good place to turn around. If you’re really feeling adventurous you can continue to explore other drainages that stem from this area.
It is not uncommon to see snakes on this trail. During spring and fall, the snakes tend to be out soaking up rays during the daytime when the sun is out. When it’s summertime and the snakes are more active during the day, they tend to bask on the trail and work on their snake tans in the mornings and evenings when it’s cooler. Just keep an eye out for them and be cautious while hiking on the trail—they (like people) take great offense at being stepped on. The area has a good deal of exposure, also, so remember sunscreen. Insect repellent is also a good idea.
Who is Going to Love It
Dog-walkers and folks who are stuck in the city most of the time will love the Neff’s Canyon hike.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To get to Neff’s Canyon from Salt Lake City, head east towards Millcreek Canyon on 3800 South Wasatch Boulevard. At the first stop sign (Parkview Drive/3700 East) turn right and go 1.1 miles to Parkview Terrace (4175 East 4245 South). Turn left and continue to White Way (4275 South 4260 East). Turn right heading eastward uphill to the end of the road. The trailhead is marked.
Parking is usually available and is free. The hike has no official hours.