Mill Canyon Peak

Elevation: 10,349
Location: Wasatch Range, Utah

Mill Canyon Peak is a high and almost completely unknown Wasatch peak. It sits behind the massive bulk of Mt. Timpanogos and is not seen from the populated valley, however it is quite clear from parts of the Heber Valley. The peak itself is not very interesting, but the views from it's slopes are outstanding, particularly of the east side of Mt. Timpanogos.

Mill Canyon Peak summit from south ridge The best route to get to Mill Canyon Peak is via American Fork Canyon (exit 287). Take the standard road up the Alpine Scenic Loop. Stay on the main road past the branch that leads to Tibble Fork and Silver Lake. In fall, the colors are outstanding along this road. A few miles further (about two miles past the Timpooneke trailhead) is a branch where you can turn left on the Cascade Springs Road. Take this road, which is actually wider than the Alpine Scenic Loop road, for about 3.5 miles. An obvious dirt road is on the left (north) side of the road at a bend. I parked low on the road, but upon walking the first two miles of road, a passenger car could easily make it to a large, open meadow two miles from the main road.

The lower dirt road is at 7,300 feet. It gains about 900 feet in two miles before joining the Great Western Trail in a large meadow. All along the way are outstanding views back to Timpanogos, Cascade Peak and Provo Peak to the south. In fall, this area is full of golden aspens that make it very scenic. Along the two miles of road are many spots popular for overnight camping. You're certain to see more mountain bikers or motorcycle riders on this hike than other hikers. From the meadow at 8,200 feet look for an obvious trail heading east while the dirt road continues northwest.

The trail here is steeper and somewhat rocky as it climbs quickly up to the ridge at about 8,800 feet. Along the way I saw many deer in this section. Once you make the ridge the terrain flattens briefly before continuing to ascend the now obvious slope of Mill Canyon Peak. The trail cuts north across the west face of Mill Canyon Peak gradually climbing to a junction at 9,400 feet just before a rockslide and spring (dry). Here the Great Western Trail continues north and this could be followed and used for a climb of the peaks pedestrian west ridge. I opted to take a bend in the trail back south that climbs 300 feet to gain the south ridge at 9,700 feet.

Fall colors on Mill Canyon Peak and Mt. Timpanogos From the ridge it is a 650 foot climb to the summit. A clear trail leads up the first 200 feet or so, then the trail fades but it is easy walking up to a small talus field at about 10,160 feet that is easily crossed. From here it is a breeze to get to the bland peak. The views are outstanding in all directions. North are the peaks of the Alta and Snowbird ski areas, as well as Red Baldy, White Baldy, Pfeifferhorn and Lone Peak. Box Elder Peak is obvious to the west. Impressive Mt. Timpanogos dominates the view as you turn south, and Cascade, Provo and Nebo peaks are also visible. To the east across the Heber Valley are the peaks of the Uinta mountains.

It would be easy to descend the west ridge and take the Great Western Trail back the same way you climbed up, making a loop hike of sorts. My hike was nine miles roundtrip, climbing 3,100 feet. By parking up higher, you can shorten the hike to about five miles and 2,200 feet of climbing. Mill Canyon was not the type of peak you'd want to climb repeatedly, but it is worth doing once.