The Oquirrhs – Salt Lake’s other range

Salt Lake is well known for the Wasatch Mountains. They are pristine, managed by the US Forest Service, and packed full of hiking trails, climbing routes, and ski resorts. By comparison, the Oquirrhs on the west side of the valley are desolate,  heavily mined, difficult to access, and packed full of No Trespassing signs. We spent the weekend in the Oquirrhs.

Highlights:
The historic mountain town of Ophir – Once home of 6,000, now only 40 live here.
8-mile Lion Hill Loop Trail –  more of an old mining road than a trail but pretty scenic.
Camping at Five Mile Recreation Area – we lost our car here for a while
Middle Canyon Road – a surprisingly lush green area with camp sites. In the summer this road supposedly goes through to Salt Lake, but was blocked by cement barriers. 
Settlement Canyon – has a little park with camp sites and some hiking trails.
For the most part this was an exploratory trip since there wasn’t much information on the internet to guide us. The camping on Middle Canyon Road seemed pretty ideal. The peak of Flat Top Mountain, the highest in the range, is accessible off of the Lion Hill Loop Trail and we might try that at some point in the future.
Unfortunately, the decades of environmental plundering has left these mountains looking haggard in some places. But in areas where the mining has ended for years, the destructive past in barely noticeable. Access is very tricky because of all of the private property, but hopefully there will eventually be opportunities to move these lands into public ownership.
Start of the Lion Hill Loop Trail
Lion Hill Loop Trail
Millions of ants on a log
Old abandoned mine
The old mining town of Ophir.
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