Just outside of the heart of the Wasatch, the desert-like Mt. Aire is a great hike and has some stunning views. Obviously, the people who made this trail had never heard of switchbacks!
From Salt Lake City, enter Mill Creek Canyon via I-215. You will have to pay a $3 day fee on your way out. Follow the narrow Mill Creek Canyon Road for just over 9.7km. The road will make a large switchback to the right, after which you will find the trailhead on your left.
|When to do|
Spring through October, the peak does not hold snow as much as other areas
Yes, in National Forest Wilderness
Out and back
The trail begins by following the Elbow Fork River, climbing at an incredibly steep grade nearly straight up. You will pass a junction where you will continue straight toward Mt. Aire. After just over half the climbing, and plenty of sweating, you will finally exit the dense forest and find yourself on a wildflower-spotted pass. Here you will get your first views and, if you are lucky, a little breeze.
At the pass, the trail veers sharply to the right and – believe it or not – starts to switchback! It’s almost like two completely different people built this trail. From here, you will climb the steep slopes of Mt. Aire along a reasonably well-graded path.
Along this part of the trail, there is little shade and often little breeze. If you are hiking in the afternoon, be prepared to sweat. Finally, after a few more switchbacks, you will clear the summit and be done with the arduous ascent.
Looking north, you will be able to see the backside of Mt. Raymond – another hike on this website – and to its left, Gobbler’s Knob. To the north, the rolling, arid foothills of the Wasatch will be visible. Take a moment to sit on the smooth summit rocks before returning the way you came.
Another great hike for a summit beer/beverage.
It is difficult to find water along this hike, and much of it is exposed to the sun. Bring plenty!
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