Sunday, April 16, 2017

Avenues Twin Peaks


There are at least 3 features in the Wasatch Range near SLC named Twin Peaks. There is the prominent twin peaks seen from most of the SL valley, also known as Broads Fork Twin Peaks. There is the American Fork Twin Peaks and then there is the shorter Twin Peaks above the Avenues outside Downtown SLC. Because they are lower elevation, at about 6227 ft they are pretty easy to reach and a really good option to do in early spring when the higher elevations and deeper canyons still have a ton of snow. The trail offers excellent views of the Salt Lake Valley, Downtown SLC, and some of the surrounding canyons.

I am not a peak bagger. I have a pretty strong fear of heights (do you know how bad that sucks when your favorite hobby is hiking?) and I have a hard time when the slopes get too steep and too wide open so, I tend to avoid doing peaks. Honestly the only peak I can say for sure I have summited is Ensign Peak. And that is like, a baby peak. I did a lot of research before deciding to do this one and it didn’t seem too bad so I thought it was doable. There were a few spots that gave me pause, and honestly I think I psyched myself out more than anything. The whole trail is just fine. So, if you are like me, this is a totaly doable trail.

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Quick Details:

Length: The guide I used said 3.2 out and back. My app came to 3.6
Difficulty: DR4 It is a little rocky and UP. There is one definite steep section, but it is doable.
Elevation Gain: 958 ft. (a little extra if you decide to go to the 2nd peak).
Restroom: No.
Dogs? Yes, leashed. Please clean up after your furry friend.
Other Info: There is almost no shade. Not recommended on a hot summer day.

To get here, take North Temple east, after State St it will turn into 2nd ave. Take 2nd ave 9 blocks to I St and turn left. Take I St. 12 blocks to 13th Ave. and turn right. Immediately take the left fork to Northcrest dr. after a half mile turn left on Terrace Hills Dr. Follow that for .4 miles to the Cul Du Sac located at 1036 Terrace Hills Dr. Find street parking. There are 2 trails here, you want to one on the right or southeast, that is a dirt path.

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This is the trailhead you should use. Note: Dirt path.

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Sign for City Creek Ridge. There is no mention of the Twin Peaks, but don’t let that worry you this is where you should be.

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This is the trailhead to the left and a little lower heading north. This is not what you want. Note: paved.

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It starts out fairly easy. Following the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST) between a couple property lines.

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First butterfly of the year.

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Lovely trail through some scrub oak.

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You can see some people along the ridge. Lots of people out enjoying these trails today.

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View down, starting to get a nice view of downtown and the valley.

Looks like I failed to get a picture of it, but at the 1st 4 way intersection continue forward.

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Shortly afterwards you will get your first view of the destination.


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And if you turn around, a nice view of downtown.

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And here you can see the more prominent Broads Fork Twin Peaks. You can get a much closer view of them on the Lake Blanche trail.

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The Avenues Twin Peaks again. Starting to get nice and green up here.

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Some purple wildflowers of some sort hiding in the scrub oak.

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I believe that is 13th east stretching all the way out there.

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The trail, and the destination. They look further away than they actually are.

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The peaks again.

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Looking down again.

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Some wildflowers. Looks like some type of phlox.

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I think these are Arrowleaf Balsamroot.

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I love this time of year when the foothills are nice and green.

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I did get a picture of the next major intersection. My instinct made we want to take the middle trail on the right, but luckily I pulled up the trail guide again and realized we need to go forward again, up towards the ridge and peak. Where the cyclist is in this picture.

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The left fork appears to head into City Creek Canyon.

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The lower trail to the right I believe is the Bobsled Trail.

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Up the rocky ridge. Short steeper section, but not too horrible.

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The peaks again.

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This is one of the points I kind of struggled with. Once my horizon starts getting weird I guess my brain can’t cope. Again, I think I might have been psyching myself out, but I pushed on to the ridge and I am really glad that I did.

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And suddenly the peaks popped up from behind.

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And I made it to the ridge! It is actually really wide and the slopes aren’t too steep on either side. I was psyching myself out over nothing. We decided to hang out here, enjoy the surrounding views, and catch our breaths.

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City Creek Canyon below. I’m not 100% sure, but I think that is Grandview Peak.

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Looking down into the SL Valley.

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View of the trails below.

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Twin Peaks across the valley.

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What I think is Grandview Peak and Little Black Mountain.

After catching our breaths for a minute we decided to continue along the ridge.

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So, refresher, after reaching the ridge you will want to continue right towards the twins.

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First little unnamed peak. It offers a good view of the twin peaks. I counted 4 or 5 little sub peaks along the ridge before the twins.

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Panoramic into the SL Valley

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Panoramic of City Creek Canyon behind me.

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Continuing along the ridge. Seriously, this ridge is great. I made the mistake of watching videos of other ridges around the valley, and they seemed thinner and steeper. This one is nice and wide.

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Hitting some scrub oak.

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Starting to get a good view of The Great Salt Lake and Stansbury Island.

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The Glacier Lilies are starting to come up.

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Little Black Mountain.

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Nice wide ridge.

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Downtown again.

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Getting closer.

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Another panoramic of the SL Valley.

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Downtown again. I was really just taking my time and enjoying the views.

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Twin Peaks, and Avenues Twin Peaks side by side.

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A little alternate path has been worn to the left of this small peak. Why climb just to come back down? So we took the little side path.

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Little Black Mountain on the right.

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At this point I’d be a fool not to keep going. They’re right there!

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The worst part of the whole trail. there is a short (although it doesn’t feel that way) steep segment.

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Steep and rocky. Just take your time, it’s not too bad.

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Oh man there is more. Oi. Really it’s probably less than a 10th of a mile.

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Best view of downtown though!

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And to the top! Phew! It certainly got our hearts pumping but it wasn’t terrible. Now we just take that thin trail to the right out to the peaks.

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This ridge is a little more thin, but still manageable.

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I think this is Red Butte Canyon.

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Almost there.

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Summiting the North Twin.

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Landis made it, I should be able to as well. Last little draw from the courage pool…

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And I did it! I made it to the top of my first real peak today! We both agreed, peaks are not really our thing, we prefer waterfalls, lakes, forests and what nots, but I am really, really excited that I made my first significant peak!

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Both peaks. We’re on the north peak looking at the south peak. it doesn’t look like it would take more than a minute to climb down and then up the next peak. Kind of wish we had done it, but we were running late and I was just excited I got this far.

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View out to the valley

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View behind me.

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And here is a 360 panoramic from the peak.

If you have the Google Cardboard Photo App and VR goggles you can view a 3D 360 view here.

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Downtown again.

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The Great Salt Lake. Oh, and I can see Ensign Peak near the bottom left there. We’re uh, quite a bit higher than that right now.

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A little closer. You can see the pillar on top of it (Shorter peak on the left).

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The City Creek Ridge we climbed to get here.

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Red Butte Canyon and the peaks further south.

Well we enjoyed our time on one of the twins but we really had to get going. We just returned the same way we came. I imagine with a little more experience in the area it might be possible to make a loop.

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Another shot of the north twin.

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And both peaks.

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The eastern end of the valley.

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City Creek Canyon and the ridge.

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A person atop each peak.

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City Creek Canyon sure looks inviting right now.

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Through the scrub oak!

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Glacier Lilies. I always see these this time of year in the foothills. Usually the first to emerge in spring.

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Leaving the ridge and heading down into the gulch.

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Reminder of the rules. I have come to decide I am not fond of the all too common “it says leash required, but everybody lets them loose so I can too” mindset. I have come to learn that it’s not just bureaucracy and people who are forcing their agenda on everybody else. People visit certain areas with these rules in mind. If a trail says leash required, that is what they expect. If it says no dogs, that is what they expect. Don’t assume it is ‘the man’ getting you down, respect the expectations of others.

Ultimately it comes down to this: It doesn’t matter how the rules came to be, but the rules have been set and posted and that is the expectation of everybody using the trail system. This could be the deciding factor for some users on whether they deem the trail a good choice for them. Don’t punish them because ‘everybody else does’. If you feel like the rule should be changed, by all means challenge it. It could sway that way, and then the new expectations are set for everybody.

As a dog lover myself, I have driven miles only to have to turn around or find another adventure on the fly. But then, I also always try to do as the rangers or whoever say and follow posted rules. Maybe I am a sheep, but then again, I’m not risking a fine either.

Would you run a stop sign because “nobody stops at that stop sign”?

Steps off soapbox.

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One last look at the twins.

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Flowers on the ridge above.

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Nearing the trailhead.

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People on the ridge above.

Well that was a great adventure! This is the perfect time of year to explore the foothills. Nice and dry and not too hot yet. It’s beautiful and green, the wildflowers are starting to come up, it’s just really nice up here. The peaks were awesome. Still kind of mad at myself for not continuing to the south peak, but I am happy I made it to them. Now that I have made it to the top I am not nervous about the trail at all and definitely would make a return trip. There were certainly a lot of people out recreating today, but it was the first nice weekend in a few weeks after a long winter, so that is to be expected. Going with 9 out of 10 squirrels. losing 1 due to the mess of trails and lack of signage.

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As for difficulty, It was not too bad, but there were definitely some UP sections. However most of the trail was nice and wide and hard packed. Going with a DR4.

Dogs are allowed, but they must be leashed. Please remember to clean up after your furry friends.

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