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Lookout Peak Loop

November 5, 2012

Afforded the extra hour due to Daylight Savings, I decided to get in a few miles before meeting my family for church and a fun filled fall day. Fortunately, for me, Brian Kamm was making a trip up Lookout Peak. With a little coaxing, I coerced him to met at 5:45 for a trail start at Killyon TH at 6:15am. Unbeknownst to me, the plan was to take the single track up Killyon (Extremely washed out) to Birch Spring Pass. As an aside, I attempted earlier this year to rediscover Birch Springs, only to find that it is significantly over grown and when investigated more intently, was snake infested. 

Reversing the course of the PieNBeer Day Fun run we ventured north towards Lookout Peak. As we casually conversed we were happily surprised to see a pair of Moose at the junction for the peak trail and the traditional over grown/off camber trail used by many for this loop. Rather then fight the moose for rights to the trail, we stayed high and ascended the ridge of Lookout Peak. Selfishly, I wanted to link this peak for future versions of the PieNBeer Day run, which to our look will now be included. With only minor off trail modification, we were able to evade a large section of snow covered terrain and quickly reconnect with the traditional loop and found ourselves making way to Swallow Rocks on the Wasatch100 course. The remaining sections of the course are relatively self explanatory for many trail runners in the Wasatch. However, the followed the Wasatch100 course east to Big Mtn. along the Great Western Trail. Picking up the pace a bit, covered this 5 mile section in 40 minutes. I thoroughly enjoy this portion in both directions, especially in the spring and fall. Running in the clockwise direction, it might be noted that runners should stay right at any intersections and stay on the ridge line, neither descending off the ridge to the right or left until after the last section of aspens. 
At Big Mtn, we took the southern most trail, just to the right of the bathrooms. Staying straight on the GW will take you along the Wasatch100 course. Often people will refer to this descending trail as the Mormon Pioneer Trail. Be cautious during, peak use times, many multiple users access this trail from both Big Mtn and from below at Affleck Park. With a couple of switchbacks, the trail provides an excellent opportunity to stretch your legs for 2.4 miles. Follow all signs as it crosses the road and takes you to Affleck Park. Here is perhaps the only tricky section, if you are not familiar with this route. Just after the road crossing, the trail heads to the campground at Affleck Park, at one point the trail forks. It is obvious the the dominant trail stays left, however to more easily loop this without having to backtrack (Brian and I made this mistake) you should stay right at this junction. In about a mile from the road you should be at the trailhead for Birch Springs. A bathroom is on your right and a trail with a gate should be very obvious. The trail gently climbs for .7 up to the pass. From the pass it is relatively quick work to the car and yet runners should be cautious of again multiple users and the braided trails eroded heavily by the poor trail conditions that have developed. 

 

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I was exuberant to have made a solid 16.5 mile loop out of this run, enjoy great company and solidify my notions of incorporating this into the PieNBeer in the upcoming years. Here’s to another improvement and a fantastic classic route in the Wasatch.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 5, 2012 2:15 PM

    I think you’ve nailed the best possible course. Looks great, Pete!

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