Mount Olympus

Wasatch Mountains - Salt Lake City, Utah
Mount Olympus Summit: 9,026'

About 7 miles round trip
4,050 feet of elevation gain.

Mount Olympus is probably the most hiked trail in Utah outside of the National Parks. It is filled with history, probably one of the most historic peaks in Utah, when talking about hiking. It's also one of the most brutal hikes under 8 miles. I've known people who swore to never hike again after the beat-down they took from Mount Olympus.

There are about 8 distinct parts to this trail, understanding this gives you a good psychological advantage. Because this peak beats you down with all of it's deceptive views and false summits.
1) Steep Entance. This part ends pretty quick, but most people give up at Pete's Rock. After you pass Pete's Rock on the left, and the Prudential on the right, it flattens out and turns left. This is one of the few trails where you will see garbage and vandalism. This section of the trail was designed to be difficult, to keep the knuckleheads and vandals out.

2) Tolcat Overlook, this is the part that walks through the quartzite and switches back up through the manicured forest, it continues all the way to the stream crossing, which is about halfway.

3) Blister Hill. At the start, you have two trails to choose from, the switchbacks to the left or the real Blister Hill straight up to the right. Take the switchbacks, there's no need to be a toughguy, it's a long trail. Find an easy rhythm and trudge up, don't force it, if you do, you might be too weak to make it to the top. The quartzite ridge to the north is Geurts Ridge, and is the same slab as the peak. There is a quartzite ridge on the south side all the way up. When the ridge ends, Blister Hill ends.

4) Open Section. Along this part of the trail, you can see ridges far to the south and there are few pine trees. At this point you will have reached full hiker hypnosis, the phenomenon where the hiker has even tuned out most of his mind to focus on keeping his walking rhythm, so you will probably forget most of this part. You can easliy see the peak from here, it looks close, it's not.

5) Enchanted Forest, this is a steep rocky trail that gets very slippery most of the year. It's about the same distance, or maybe a little farther than the Blister Hill portion. This part can be icey or muddy, it's good to have a walking stick.

6) Saddle. From here, you have incredible views of Twin Peaks Massif, Lone Peak, Triangle Peak and down into Heugh's Canyon. Half of those who make it this far, stop here at the saddle, because the views are rewarding enough to justify the walk.. but if you keep going, it gets much better.

7) Rock Scramble. You begin with a steep scramble that requires hands up the semi-smooth quartzite, this is where the hike reaches a whole new emotional level, as views start opening up. I'll never forget going up and down this with a 72 year old man who, by they way, did just fine with no help from me (But then again he'd done it over 300 times).

8) The Peak. Boom, you'll feel great that you finally made it. On a sunny day, you will feel purity, and a reason for living. During the sunset, you might even cry.

Interactive Flash Trail Diagram of Mount Olympus

Another Interactive Flash Trail Diagram of Mount Olympus

I decided to go up around 2:30 pm and got to the trailhead around 3:15 pm. I knew I had very little time to get to the top, but I decided to hike until the sun touched the mountains, and I promised to not eat or drink anything until that point as well. I didn't think I'd make it to the top of blister hill, but I kept a steady pace, and only stopped a few times to take pictures.

As I went up, I asked people coming down, if they made it to the top, no one did, and most were coming down early because of nightfall, and usually looked at me like, 'Why are you going up now?" My answer; "To take pictures".

There was mud and snow along the trail past Blister Hill. I tried my best to at least make it to the saddle... But at about 5:15 the sun hit the mountain, I was about 5 minutes from the saddle, I felt exhasted, delirious and defeated. I took as many shots as I could, ate a half a handful of Wheaties, gave the rest to my pug, who quietly followed me the whole way.
While we were eating, my cane slowly slid down the wet, icey trail, I carefully hiked down to get it, but in my haste to grab it, I slipped down a steep, wet mud covered part of the trail. The near freezing mud on my hand felt like acid, I wiped it off on a rock, and got moving, you don't want to make a mistake up there....

Saturday, Nov. 19, 2005

The first main corner after the beginning. This is the start of the Tolcat Overlook.

The North Summit and the South Summit of Mount Olympus.
The South Summit is taller.

The Blister Hill Ridge is in the middle-left. Mount Olympus peak is on the top left.

Looking back over the polluted city.
The Oquirrh Mountains are in the background,
with Kessler Peak touching the forground ridge.

At the end of Blister Hill, you can climb up on this ridge and get a 360 view.
Below, you can see my shadow.

The "Open Area" after Blister Hill.

In the enchanted forest above Blister Hill.
Looking through the trees west, towards the Oquirrh Mountains.

What you don't see is all the ice, snow and mud. It's better that way.

Looking west over the Salt Lake Valley toward the Oquirrh Mountains.

Goodbye sun, hello cold.

You can see my house, it's right..... there.

Crimson skys.

More information and pictures of Mount Olympus:

Mount Olympus Summit in June
Multiple Views of Mount Olympus
Mount Olympus Summit in March & February Pictures
Mount Olympus from the valley

Thanks to Puggy


All pictures and content
© Copyright 1999-2019 Dale Meier, unless otherwise credited. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use is prohibited.