The Twin Peaks Wilderness holds some of the most beautiful displays of natural scenery in northern Utah and is literally only minutes from the suburbs of Salt Lake Valley. Created in 1984, the area was designated as an official wilderness, protecting almost 12,000 acres of lush pine forests, aspen groves and soaring peaks. Most of the trails are accessed by Big Cottonwood Canyon Road and include some of the most iconic trails in Salt Lake. There are several beautiful basins and drainages with a small handful of alpine lakes in its eastern slopes. The wildflowers bloom in summer and cover almost every square inch of the ground as the hummingbirds dart around looking for nectar. Keep your eyes peeled for moose, which are commonly seen along with marmot, deer and hawks.
The most iconic sight in the Twin Peaks for your average hiker is no doubt Lake Blanche and its prominent Sundial Peak, but not many people know about its sister trail, Broad's Fork, which has far fewer people and shares the same parking area. Both will leave you breathless, especially when the flowers are in full bloom in early to mid-summer. As an imposing and jagged sentinel, Storm Mountain greets people as they head up Big Cottonwood Canyon. At its base sits Stairs Gulch, a waterfall lover's dream that is a semi-scrambling ascent up a tight canyon with a dozen small cascades. Along the face of the Wasatch Mountains is Ferguson Canyon, which offers a unique taste of the western region of the wilderness area. The flat, vertical granite walls are perfect for climbers, and the trail has several waterfalls as you make your way to an incredible view of Salt Lake. Backcountry camping is a common practice here, and many people do quick overnights even on the weekdays thanks it being so close to home.
An unexpected addition to the boundaries of the wilderness area are the Monte Christo and west Mount Superior peaks in its far southeastern corner, which are usually accessed from Little Cottonwood Canyon. These peaks more than any other in the park are especially favored in the winter as home to some of the best backcountry descents in town. Snowshoers enjoy all their favorite summer trails in the winter with unparalleled access from their homes. Mountaineers and peak baggers have many options to test their mettle in this wilderness. Conquering the namesake Twin Peaks, which tops out at 11,329 feet, requires a 5,000-foot climb in a grueling 5-mile trek to its crest, starting at Broad's Fork Trail. Almost all of the trails in this area are rated moderate to difficult because of their steep grade, but they are well worth the effort they require. Make sure to check the regulations before doing any Leave No Trace backpacking in the Twin Peaks Wilderness.