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Mill A Basin Backpacking

Central Wasatch Mountains, Utah

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Mill A Basin Backpacking

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  • Starting off from the Butler Fork Trailhead in Big Cottonwood Canyon. - Mill A Basin Backpacking
  • The first hill is really steep, especially with a full pack. - Mill A Basin Backpacking
  • Kessler Peak in the background.- Mill A Basin Backpacking
  • Entering the Mount Olympus Wilderness.- Mill A Basin Backpacking
  • The wildflowers were going pretty strong into late summer. - Mill A Basin Backpacking
  • Taking a breather. This hike gains about 1,000 feet for each mile traveled. - Mill A Basin Backpacking
  • Entering the aspen grove in the last third of the trail. - Mill A Basin Backpacking
  • Heading up the last pitch before looking for a spot to throw up the tent at the crest. - Mill A Basin Backpacking
  • Woke up to catch sunrise. - Mill A Basin Backpacking
  • This is the best part of staying overnight in the mountains. - Mill A Basin Backpacking
  • Catching sunrise from Circle All Peak. These colors are the only nice part about wildfire season. - Mill A Basin Backpacking
  • Looking east up canyon with Kessler Peak on the right at 10,403 feet.- Mill A Basin Backpacking
  • Looking west, down canyon toward Storm Mountain. - Mill A Basin Backpacking
  • Purple mountain majesty.- Mill A Basin Backpacking
  • Looking northwest into Mill A Basin with Mount Raymond sitting above it all at 10,241 feet. - Mill A Basin Backpacking
  • There are several great viewpoints along the saddle. - Mill A Basin Backpacking
  • Time to pack up and head down.- Mill A Basin Backpacking
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Not many other backpackers. Great views for sunrise. Lots of options for further hikes.
Cons: 
Only a few places to lay down a tent. Can be buggy in early summer. Steep trail.
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Region:
Central Wasatch Mountains, UT
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
No
Highest point: 
8,608.00 ft (2,623.72 m)
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,470.00 ft (448.06 m)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
None
Permit required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
3.60 mi (5.79 km)
Total elevation gain: 
1,470.00 ft (448.06 m)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
7,138.00 ft (2,175.66 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

The Butler Fork Trailhead services many different hikes into the southern end of the Mount Olympus Wilderness. You can access Dog Lake, or the peaks of Circle All, Gobbler's Knob and Mount Raymond. The saddle that leads up to those three peaks allows for a few flat places to throw up a tent and do an overnighter in the Wasatch. The steep trail is definitely a little tough with a full pack, but it's less than 2 miles and is mostly in the shade, making for a quick and mostly unexposed hike. The wildflower laden trail has amazing views in just about every direction once you reach the saddle. From Circle All Peak you also get views of Kessler Peak and Storm Mountain, and just about every major peak of Big Cottonwood Canyon is visible from this general area, up and down canyon. 

The steep grade of the entire hike minimizes the options to pitch a tent before you reach the saddle, and even once up top the flat spots are limited, so you may have to camp closer to the trail than you'd prefer. However, the the morning views overlooking Mill A Basin here are fantastic. Mount Raymond has a healthy and thick aspen forest at its base that goes crazy in autumn. One great thing about doing an overnighter here is the opportunity to tackle its peak while cutting out the first 1.7 miles and 1,500 feet of gain, making it much easier to complete. Moose, deer, hummingbirds and marmots are all common here, and so are fellow hikers, but you rarely will see other backpackers. It wouldn't make for a great place to camp in the woods for multiple nights because of the lack of room to spread out or find privacy. It does, however, make for a fun place to spend the night in the mountains and catch an amazing sunset and sunrise without a lot of hassle. Plus, the trailhead is only 15 minutes from the suburbs of east Salt Lake.

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(19 within a 30 mile radius)

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