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Millcreek Canyon – Rattlesnake to Lambs and back

July 4, 2011

When I first started trail running, I regularly ran in what is now my favorite local Canyon, Millcreek. Only a few miles from downtown, the trails in Millcreek are a runners delight. My first goal two years ago was to be able to run the entire Pipeline trail and back again. I first accomplished this with a close friend of mine, Brian Hogan. Starting at Rattlesnake Gulch and running to Elbow fork is roughly 13 miles with 1,500 ft. of climbing. However, since then running has become an entirely different animal.

With this new addition, this section has become one of my lower elevation favorites. We added on continuing past Elbow Fork up and over Lambs Canyon. Just over 21 miles of beautiful terrain leads a runner to almost 6,000 feet of climbing on some of the smoothest trails in the Wasatch range.The run begins with a .6 mile ascent up Rattlesnake Gulch, which is not for the faint hearted and is difficult for most runners to run in under 12 minutes. Once you attain the Pipeline, the trail undulates along the contour for more than 3 miles. Before getting to Birch Hollow, the trail forks to the left and continues climbing. At the end of the Pipeline, runners will see a road and need to go up canyon for a 100 feet. Bearing onto the Lamb’s Canyon trail, the route climbs a hefty 2 miles to Bear Pass with a beautiful vista looking north to Parleys Canyon and South to Big Cottonwood.

Currently, the trail descending to the Lambs Canyon trailhead is in horrific shape. Numerous trees are down, streams are finding the easiest drainage along the trail and foot traffic isn’t helping. Our efforts at keeping our feet dry were in vain and we conceded to just rumping in the mud. We also were happily surprised when a young calf came running down the trail towards us with the mother moose no where to be seen. I don’t think many people have ever heard me yell moose that loud. Next time you will have to join us.


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