Mount Wire (Big Beacon) |

Salt Lake City

Hiking Mount Wire (Big Beacon) - Salt Lake City Hiking Mount Wire (Big Beacon)
Salt Lake City

Overview | Getting There | Route | Photos | Maps | Comments

Overview

RATING: Moderate Hike
MAPS: Fort Douglas, UT;

Fri

59 | 47

Sat

64 | 46

Sun

72 | 46

Mon

66 | 53

Tue

70 | 49

View Full Weather Details
SEASON: Spring, Fall
GEAR: Standard Hiking Gear
WATER: None

Fri

59 | 47

Sat

64 | 46

Sun

72 | 46

Mon

66 | 53

Tue

70 | 49

View Full Weather Details
Views along the trail to Mount Wire.

Views along the trail to Mount Wire.

Mount Wire, or Big Beacon, or even just "that peak south of Red Butte" as it is commonly known, is a great spring or fall hike in the foothills of Salt Lake City. Clocking in at 3-4 miles roundtrip and a thigh busting 2000' of elevation gain, this is one to help get the winter fat off the old hiking legs.

Spring is my favorite and recommended time to hike the peak. Generally, the spring flowers are in full splendor from mid-May to mid-June. If you happen to time it right, the hillsides are a veritable carpet of color. Fall is also nice when the colors are changing. Summer can be a sweltering furnace and not recommended. If you insist on it, get an early start!

Red Butte Canyon covered in clouds

Red Butte Canyon covered in clouds

Getting There

The best starting place is just off of Wakara Way on Colorow Road. This is on the east side of Salt Lake City, near the Natural History Museum.

From Foothill Drive, go east on Wakara Way to Colorow Road. Park anywhere near the intersection of Colorow and Wakara.

Note: Car break ins are somewhat common here. Don't leave any valuables in your vehicle.
Spring wildflowers along the trail to Mount Wire.

Spring wildflowers along the trail to Mount Wire.

Route

The first crux of the hike is reaching the Bonneville Shoreline trail. This has many access points, including from the Natural History Museum or Colorow Road, which parallels the foothills. If starting from Colorow Road (recommended), find one of the well-used social trails that lead up from the paved road to the wide dirt road that is the Bonneville Shoreline trail. Go right (south) on the Bonneville Shoreline, watching for pipeline marker 174.

At pipeline marker 174, you are due west of Georges Hollow. This is the canyon the trail ascends. Go past marker 174 to the next major junction, go left back to the base of Georges Hollow, then follow the wide trail up the hollow. The trail starts out quite wide, then narrows a bit. It is 1.5 miles from the trailhead to the Living Room. Just before the Living Room, as the trail contours in a gully, a side trail goes off on the right. This is the junction to Mount Wire, go right and continue climbing up Georges Hollow.

As the trail reaches the top of Georges Hollow and the ridge, spectacular views of the city and surrounding canyons can be had. On the ridge, go right at the first junction and at a second junction just after. You want to be on the obvious trail that continues up the ridge.

Just before a false summit, the trail contours south then makes a final short ascent to the top and a metal frame tower structure.

For the return, you have two options:

Returning the same way is nice, and offers the most gradual descent.

Looking for a thigh busting steep shortcut? Go left (south) from the tower down the ridge. At a junction, a couple of minutes from the tower, go right. The terrain steepens and the trail quickly descends. Follow it down to a small saddle where a side trail goes off to the right and back to Georges Hollow a short distance down off the ridge. This return offers a shorter but steeper option. I recommend it, though not for those with knee issues.


Maps

Route / 4.65 miles / Elevation Range 4,969 - 7,138 ft.
Printable Maps:
Trailhead

12T 430446mE 4512681mN

N40° 45' 44" W111° 49' 27"

Right - Just before Living Room

12T 431621mE 4513203mN

N40° 46' 01" W111° 48' 37"

Right

12T 432065mE 4513977mN

N40° 46' 26" W111° 48' 18"

Right - Up Ridge

12T 432087mE 4513997mN

N40° 46' 27" W111° 48' 17"

Summit

12T 432620mE 4513604mN

N40° 46' 14" W111° 47' 54"

Right for ridge descent

12T 432575mE 4513468mN

N40° 46' 10" W111° 47' 56"

Right to Georges Hollow

12T 431500mE 4512534mN

N40° 45' 39" W111° 48' 42"

Ridge Return Junction

12T 431517mE 4512614mN

N40° 45' 42" W111° 48' 41"

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