There was just no way I was not getting some kind of nature fix in on Memorial Day Weekend. I was also not going to go anywhere near Big or Little Cottonwood Canyons. (Watching the news this evening confirmed that was a good idea. They had to stop traffic twice for 2 separate rescues.) So after some research I found Farmington Creek. I tried to do this one a year or so ago, but the road was closed due to a landslide, it has since reopened so off we go.
To get here, head up Farmington Canyon for a little over a mile, until the pavement ends and it becomes a dirt road at a hairpin turn. There is a small, 4-5 car parking lot, and some street parking available. The trailhead is on the left side of the parking lot as you look into it from the street.
The mountain side is still nice and green!
Hairpin turn. Kind of hard to tell where the pavement ends and the dirt begins.
And on to the hike!
I love all the striped rocks up here.
Oh! Look we found Farmington Cave already. Not very deep, but quite a bit larger than I anticipated.
And it has a horn.
Nice little fire pit inside. If I weren’t certain this is a local teenager haunt, I’d say it’s probably a great place to camp in.
Pretty green mountain side.
A glimpse of Farmington Creek. It really is raging right now.
A look back down the canyon, I found a small archway.
I can’t get enough of the green hillsides!
The first of many, many wildflower shots.
View down the canyon.
View up the canyon.
Pretty forest shot. This is what Farmington considers a wide and smooth trail. Then again, it has been closed for a few years.
Pretty wildflowers, they are just everywhere up here!
First little side stream crossing.
Lizard!!! There were actually, a ton of lizards up here. For a section of the trail it seemed I couldn’t walk 20 feet without running into another one.
Another couple shots of the other side of the canyon.
More fun striping.
Run away little guy!
Rock outcropping that looks like some alien face.
There were like, 5 or 6 lizards scurrying allover this rock.
Another large rock.
The trail dips into a side canyon where we found the little railing. I can think of a few other spots on this trail that I would have appreciated this.
Pretty blue flower. Blue Bells?
This side stream has a nice little waterfall… with a random tire.
Not too tall, maybe 15 feet.
The stream crossing here isn’t too bad.
View up, with the creek.
Trail is starting to get a little thin.
“Bonnie and Clyde Car” one of quite a few cars that have fallen off of the road above and ended up down here. I couldn’t really find any information on them so I have no idea what happened. Best case scenario: Cars were pushed off because, you know its fun to destroy stuff. Or maybe, parked for some reason and forgot the e-brake. However the likely scenario is that people died. The road above is extremely slim, and really high up. Tragedy aside, I found this, and the others to be absolutely fascinating.
Riddled with bullet holes I assume this, and the fact that it appears to be an old car with suicide doors is what gave it its name.
“So I was being chased, and shot at, and tumbled down a cliff, but I totally stuck the landing!” I have a vivid imagination. :-p I was really enjoying seeing this old, old car in the middle of a forest.
This is just too cool. I’m not a big car guy, so can any car guys identify and date this vehicle? All I got is with the suicide doors, 50’s or older.
Not much further up Landis spotted another one. The engine block seems to have been ejected from this one.
Hrm. A little more mangled.
Again, not a car guy, or a history buff, but it appears this was a pickup and is missing it’s bed. Also, judging by the paint job, I would (and I am probably wrong) place this as late 70’s early 80’s.
Close up of the engine block. Again, not a car guy, but I believe FoMoCo is Ford Motor Company. Maybe a car guy can help me out with that, and the age.
The 3rd side stream crossing.
Meh neat little cascade here.
Here is a good tip for you if you are interested in the car wreckages. The main trial is to the right, right after the creek. There is a small campsite to the left, and just above that we find the 3rd vehicle.
This one is now part of the creek.
Random part number.
Landis identified this as a station wagon. I think he might be right. Again, these are super tragic, but at the same time super interesting. The canyon is too narrow to ever expect recovery of these relics from the past, and seeing the wreckages in the middle of the forest is just darn interesting.
The tree over the main trail.
Not much further up the din of the creek started becoming a thunderous roar. We must be near the waterfall, I shot this through the trees, which doesn’t really show anything.
This little side trail down to it, did not look like something I was interested in doing at all. Right after taking this shot a group of teenagers, or young adults (it’s getting harder to discern) climbed up. I asked them if it was tough, they said it wasn’t so bad, much better that the trail above that they took down. Hrm. I will think about it on the return trip.
Luckily there is a little lookout above that gives us a nice glimpse of it. As the teens said there appears to be a trail down here as well, in my opinion it doesn’t look as bad. Again, I will consider it.
You can just make out the canyon road above. This must be where at least the last car went over the edge. It is a really steep cliff!
Not much further up is a primitive campsite. Again, a little too close to the stream above a rather large waterfall I don’t think I could camp here.
Random side trail brought me to this pretty blue flower in front of red rocks. I don’t know what else was down here as we returned to the main trail. I thought I remembered reading there were 4 cars in here so I was looking for the 4th car. However after returning home, I cannot locate that report, so I probably imagined it. We found 3. If you discover a 4th, do let me know.
The trail between the waterfall and the campground is pretty steep and rough. Again, if I wasn’t looking for the 4th car, I probably would have turned around at the waterfall. But, we decided to push on towards the Sunset Campground.
More pretty flowers.
I liked the random red leaves.
One type of forest on this side of the canyon, another on the other side.
Went in to look at this flower…
Saw this odd monstrosity (seriously what is going on here?)
And then found a caterpillar. Lesson of the day, look closer.
And we reached the campground. Hooray! We decided to take a rest at that table an enjoy some snacks to replenish the calories used.
Dirt road around the campground. They seem the be alright spots, tables, fire pits, spots for tents. We didn’t walk around the whole thing so I don’t know if there are restrooms, but it seemed nice. Personally, after seeing the wrecks below, I don’t think I would take the risk of driving up to see if a spot was available, but maybe I’d hike up with my gear and if one wasn’t available, then I know there were options below. Then again, I did see a medium sized motor home, and if that made it…
Anyway, it was getting late and we decided it was time to start heading back down the trail. Guess I see why all the cars had bullet holes. People appear to be gun happy up here.
Some more pretty wildflowers. Don’t know what the 1st one is, but I believe the 2nd one is a wild snap dragon.
The trail offers a nice view down the canyon.
I don’t know if you can tell or not, but that is the road above.
Awesome forest shot.
And we are back to the waterfall. The small crowd is gone now too.
On the way up some teenagers said this was the better option so I thought we would give it a shot.
We got down bout 8 or 10 feet and just NOPE. I have height issues, and I have almost cliffed myself going in for a better shot. I was not about to repeat that experience. Looks like a lovely waterfall, but I was just not interested in struggling down and back up again just to get a better shot. Maybe if there was a rope. We decided to climb back out of this disaster.
I love that this tree makes a nice little doorway to walk under.
Tiny little waterfall at the 3rd creek crossing.
Back to Bonnie and Clyde Car, where I finally thought to get a picture of the front. Can you tell I really liked this?
The engine is gone I wonder if it flung out and is somewhere around here.
Just really nifty.
Some more shots of the trail. You can start to see the valley below.
I like this one with the big rock below. My guess is these hills will not be this green in a month or so, but right now they are just gorgeous.
Back to the 2nd crossing.
Of course I had to take another shot of the small waterfall here.
A little ways down there is a steep side trail. Not sure what it leads to. Will have to see if I can find out to see if it is worth doing.
I like pictures of the woods and trails.
Getting near the end.
And hey, you can see Farmington Cave from here. And there's someone who climbed up top.
Here you can see a car on the road above. It really is way up there!
Cool looking skies.
And some little white flowers.
I didn’t like the part of the trail. It was a pretty steep slope down to the creek below on loose rock. But I got past it on the way up, and I got past it on the way down. Luckily its a pretty short section. I really need to get over whatever issue I have with steep slopes ever since we hiked to the Wind Caves.
Getting close. You can see the dirt road as it rises above the parking lot just to the left of the cave. So, yea the cave is not very far up the trail.
I didn’t capture it very well but we noticed that rock above was dripping.
Back to the cave.
And the parking lot, where I looked up and noticed this random patch of yellow on the green hillside.
Our car had a good layer of dust sitting on it due to it being on the dirt road with all the cars coming by.
And a quick shot of the paved section just to show size. It barely fits 2 passing cars but other than that it is not too bad. Just drive slow and careful and you shouldn’t have a problem. As for the dirt road above, it has been a very long time since I have done it, but it is a lot more terrifying. Particularly once you get all the way to the top of the cliffs, and now particularly that I have seen some of the carnage below. I don’t think I ever need to do that road again.
And one more with a lovely view of the valley below.
And this one is from my next failed adventure of the day that shows Farmington Canyon from down in the valley. At least I got this out of it, because otherwise this small side adventure was a bust. Fret not, I will still post about it, if only to help others not to make the same mistake.
Now, back to Farmington Creek. I really enjoyed the lush greenery of the trail, the waterfalls, and above all else the cool cars to explore. Even on Memorial Day we only ran into a few other groups so it is not a crowded trail at all. Its not a top favorite, but it is really, really cool. I would give it a 9, but I am going to remove 1 due to the fact that you can’t get a really good view of the main falls unless you are a mountain goat. So, 8 squirrels.
As for difficulty, I am going to go with a DR 4. Generally easy elevation gain, except the beginning part, and from the waterfall to the campground (so I guess you can skip that as there was not much to it) and there were some sections that were on steep open slopes high above the creek. The trail is not as wide and smooth as Farmington would have you believe, but it wasn’t too bad.