“When you do something beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.” – John Lennon
The Mount Olympus hike in Salt Lake City, Utah is a must-do hike if you live in the area. My sister and I woke up before the sun to take in beautiful 360 degree views of the city, surrounding wilderness and a beautiful sunrise.
Here are some highlights of our trip:
- Beat the crowds and the hot Utah sun
- 5 hours roundtrip / 7 miles out and back
- 4,200 elevation gain
- Summit a 9,026 ft peak
- Easy to park and get to the trailhead from Salt Lake City
- Easy to navigate in the dark
If you are planning to do this hike to catch the sunrise at the peak then you need to make sure you give yourself enough time to summit before the sun reaches the horizon. Plan on being at the trailhead about 2.5 before scheduled sunrise (we summited in about 2 hours). Parking and location of trailhead along Wasatch Blvd. makes it easy to start early.
Start hiking up from the Mount Olympus trailhead. You will start to increase your elevation quickly as you watch the moon slowly lower into the city’s skyline. The city’s lights are almost as pretty as twinkling stars. As you start to head back into the canyon the moon will disappear and it will just be you, the dark, your headlamp – and your friends if you could get any out of bed that early.
The first mile is pretty mellow, be prepared for it to get more strenuous. The trail is easy to follow and is well maintained. You will cross a stream as you get further back into the canyon before the trail begins the steep climb to the saddle.
As you go up, the trail gets narrower and steeper. As you reach the saddle you will start to see the sky getting brighter. You will have about 20 minutes from there to scramble to the top of the summit so that you can catch the sun rising from the east over the Wasatch Mountains.
Enjoy the views and maybe a pre-packed breakfast burrito! The way down will be quicker and you will generally see several groups of people heading up to beat the heat of the sun. But, you beat them and you got to see an amazing sunrise.
- Hiking shoes