Clipper Peak

Elevation: 9,207
Location: Oquirrh Range, Utah

The Oquirrh mountain range sits on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley. Most of the range is over-run by mining interests, and the range is not popular for hiking, especially the northern end. Clipper Peak sits near the middle of the short mountain range, and in summer of 1999 I made a short climb of this fairly easy peak.

Bland, grassy summit of Clipper Peak, Nelson Peak in distance I began the hike by driving out to Tooele, and following a road up Middle Canyon. It is a dirt road, but my four door sedan got to the pass with no problems. This pass can also be reached from the Salt Lake side via Butterfield Canyon, but I don't know how good or bad the road is on that side.

From this pass at around 7,700 feet you'll get a good view back to the east of most of the length of the Wasatch Range. From the pass you can walk or drive up to the first peak called "West Mountain". I parked at the pass and walked up to the peak, but the road appeared quite driveable for a regular car. West Mountain is a shade over 9,000 feet. From this peak you'll have to drop several hundred feet on a rocky trail to a saddle between West Mountain and Clipper Peak, now clearly visible.

Great view of the Kennecott hole All along this rocky trail you'll have a fine view down directly into the Kennecott Copper Mine. From the saddle it's a 600 foot climb up to the summit of Clipper. A strange triangular marker sits on the grassy summit. To the north you can easily make out the radar stations on the summits of Nelson Peak and Farnsworth Peak. To the south you'll see the higher peaks of the Oquirrhs, with Lowe Peak, well over 10,000 feet most prominent.

The trip back requires downclimbing, and reclimbing back to West Mountain, then following the road back to the Butterfield/Middle Canyon pass. The roundtrip hiking time was probably like three or four hours, but with the fairly lengthy drive from the Salt Lake area, it made for a longer day. Roundtrip hike was six miles roughly, climbing 2,600 feet (due to the up's and down's of the hike).

Clipper was a good first hike in the Oquirrhs. The range lacks much of the dramatic uplift of the Wasatch (at least the Cottonwood Canyon areas or Timpanogos), but still makes for fine hiking. I plan to return soon and hopefully climb both Farnsworth Peak (if I can get access to it) and Lowe Peak, probably from this same pass (a much longer and harder hike).