Davis and Morgan Counties - Thurston Peak

Farmington, Utah 84025

Davis and Morgan Counties - Thurston Peak

Davis and Morgan Counties - Thurston Peak Professional Review and Guide

"Thurston Peak is directly above Layton and four peaks north of the white-domed Federal Aviation Administration’s radar station on Francis Peak near Bountiful. Reaching its summit from the east side is arduous. More than a 4,000-foot elevation gain in about three miles, it also requires crossing private land at the mouth of any canyon access.

The waterfall in Adams Canyon is worth a hike, though the trail to Thurston is actually on the north ridge. The view is worth the exertion. From the summit, Great Salt Lake sprawls across the basin below. On a clear day, many of its deseret islands pock the water. To the east is the lush Morgan Valley. There are the Oquirrh Mountains to the southwest with the Stansbury Mountains peeking over their shoulders. South on the ridgeline is a profile of the Wasatch. North are the jagged peaks near Ogden."

Davis and Morgan Counties - Thurston Peak Reviews

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This is a great hike and horrible article. It suggests that you drive up a very dangerous road in Farmington Canyon and park at a federally controlled-access site to climb Thurston, suggesting that any other route is too hard AND illegal. The perfectly legal east-side access is to park at Fernwood and take the Bonneville Shoreline and Kay's Creek trail to the ridgeline Great Western and bag Thurston. The forest-permitted Wasatch 100 Mile footrace does this every year. The publisher should be ashamed, and Trails.com should pull the plug on this volume. Leave legalities and strenuousness evaluations to land-use lawyers and ultramarathon runners (I am both). Gads!
Accessed the trail via the Fernwood trail-head in East Layton. Neither marked with a map or signs at the trailhead, finding the correct trail from the parking lot is a bit confusing. Having looked at Topos of the area beforehand I had a general idea. Go to the north end of the parking lot and take the trail heading north(east) for about 100 feet and follow it around to the right (east). Keep your eyes peeled and watch for the trail to veer towards the North and upon the shoulder - Find the trail that gains a lot of elevation and heads up to the top of the northern shoulder. The trail is a serious gainer. Relentlessly gaining elevation without even considering to switchback. I've heard numbers in the range of 4000-4400 feet in less than 3.5 miles. It's a monster. Once on top of the shoulder south of Hobbs Canyon (Kays Creek), you only come down a few times. Well visible for the most part, small areas of the trail are overgrown with scrub oak and small wildflowers. Lost the trail about 500 feet below the summit when the trail ventured over to the Hobbs Canyon (North) side of the ridge and ran smack into some leftover snow. At this height there were no more trees or scrub oak so a traverse across the grass which was still laid flat from the weight of newly melted snow was easy. The view of Thurston became visible from behind a small rocky peak. Below this peak were a bunch of small rocks and talus so I chose to scramble up to the top of it. Once atop this little peak I could look right up to Thurston maybe 300 feet above me and a quarter mile away. From my rocky false peak I went south and found the coolest arched cairn which led me to believe I was still headed the right way. Although without a trail, with Thurston in clear view, it was a simple walk to the top.
Thurston peak is four peaks north of the giant golf balls (actually FAA radar domes, but...) situated at the top of Francis Peak. The trail follows the ridgeline from the Francis Peak area all the way to Thurston Peak. Unfortunately the trail you will be following does not actually ascend Thurston Peak, but rather heads down a ridge directly west of the Peak. It is an easy scramble up to the top where you'll find a plaque and a small sign in log. The ridgeline hikes offers great views on either side, and there may be no better place to watch a UT sunset.

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Best summer and fall
Wasatch - Cache National Forest
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USGS Peterson
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Jul 2018