Ben Lomond Peak

Elevation: 9,712
Location: Wasatch Range, Utah

Flowers along Skyline Trail Ben Lomond is probably the most famous of the northern Wasatch peaks. It stands north of Ogden in prominent fashion and is very popular with the community. A couple of well-maintained, but long trails lead to it's summit. The peak supposedly was what Paramount's logo was designed from. I've climbed the peak three times, all from the Skyline trail in North Ogden Canyon. On summer weekends you'll have plenty of company on the trail.

The trail starts at North Ogden Pass, at an elevation of about 6,200 feet. South is the trail to Lewis Peak, north is the way for Ben Lomond. It is a long route, 8 miles roughly each way, climbing 3,500 feet. The trail starts by switchbacking up the south-facing slopes, giving fine views into Morgan county. Soon upon reaching a ridge, the trail bends onto the east slope of the mountain, still keeping Ben Lomond from view. After a while hiking on the east side, the trail crosses the ridge and Ben Lomond will be clearly visible, still a fair distance away. The trail stays very gradual here in the pines and in summer you'll have plenty of wildflowers.

You'll climb gradually to a broad meadow at about 8,700 feet where the trail from North Fork Park meets the Skyline trail. In 1995 I nearly stepped right on a fat rattlesnake crossing the trail here (what he was doing up this high is beyond me). Ben Lomond towers 1,000 feet above, and a good system of switchbacks will lead you to the peak if it's late enough in the year and snow does not cover the summit pyramid. When it does you'll have a much more challenging ascent to the peak, and a chance for a wondeful glissade down.

Looking to Willard Peak from Ben Lomond summit From the peak you'll get a good view west to the Great Salt Lake and particularly Willard Bay. Further down the ridge is the slightly higher Willard Peak. You'll be able to see peaks from the Logan area to the north, and you'll have a commanding view south back through Weber and Davis counties, and on a clear day you should be able to make out the high peaks of Salt Lake County far off on the horizon. A large plaque marks the peak, and inside is a summit register usually. In 1998 I climbed the peak on the way to Willard and found a group camped out on the summit for the state's 24th of July holiday. Evidently they watched the fireworks from the summit. Snow lingers on the higher parts of this peak usually to about the first of July.

For more information about traversing over to Willard Peak please see that trip report, but rest assured, it makes for a long day. The descent from Ben Lomond is easy and pleasant up high, but in the heat of the afternoon the lower switchbacks (which face south) catch the sun at full blast. The hike is also long enough that the trip down may seem like it takes forever if you're tired. Roundtrip time for the hike to Ben Lomond is probably between five and eight hours typically. I hope to climb the peak next time from North Park for something a little bit different.

Ben Lomond is certainly one of the most enjoyable climbs in the northern Wasatch, in fact, I would say it is the best peak climb in that region. It may lack the high altitude characteristics of the higher peaks to the south, but the scenery is outstanding, and the relatively gentle grade of the hike make it a great hike if you're in the mood for a long but pretty walk.

Ben Lomond above North Fork Park trail 2002 Update: Hiked Ben Lomond (to saddle, intersect w/Skyline Trail) via North Fork Park. Had some serious difficulty finding the trailhead. First, I drove all the way up Ogden Canyon only to find the road closed (thanks, UDOT). I drove back to Ogden and over North Ogden Pass to the town of Liberty. Still, finding the trailhead proved difficult in the large North Fork Park area. The trailhead is quite early on...if you're driving around campgrounds on dirt roads, you've gone too far! The parking lot is a huge field next to a horse corral.

The trail is an incredibly long, almost too gentle climb. The first mile or two are quite rocky, but the trail gets much smoother beyond this. After several miles, the trail makes a turn on a ridge next to some large cliffs and heads back north towards the finally visible Ben Lomond Peak. I didn't see any moose in the meadow, but from talking to other people they are quite common here. Another long series of switchbacks leads up to the saddle, some 6.4 miles from the trailhead. There are a few junctions, the first leads to an overlook, the second is the intersect with the trail from the Utaba Camp (shorter and steeper). On this day smoke from the Oregon fires was filling the skies, making for very poor visibility. I could barely see nearby Mt. Ogden! With nothing to see, and the late start I called it a day here. My overall thoughts of the North Fork Park trail are that it is decent, but not as enjoyable as the Skyline Trail.