The Wasatch Mountains offer some of the most scenic views that attract hikers from all around the world, However, most locals might believe the west end of the valley is just a dead copper pit. But a venture up Butterfield Canyon In the Oquirrh Mountains reveals a lush forest well worth a half day’s journey.
“I’ve lived in Utah my entire life, and I’d never heard of Butterfield Canyon until last summer,” says local hiker Adam Jensen, a Bountiful native. “And I go hiking and camping often.”
Perhaps a reason for its less-frequent use lies in its seemingly hidden entrance. It’s not easy to get to unless you know where you’re going. Heading off 1-15, head due west on 126th South. Turn left when you hit Herriman’s Main Street. Travel for about 1.8 miles, then veer left onto Butterfield Canyon Road. It’s important to mark your odometer when you first enter onto Main Street because the canyon road has no signage. Stay in this paved road for seven more miles until you reach Butterfield Pass.
The canyon offers moderate hikes, but as they’re not traveled often, they’re more rugged. “When I was hiking there, it felt like real hiking. There were caves, fallen logs we had to cross, and sometimes it was so steep, I had to use tree roots as footholds,” says Jensen.
Overnight camping isn’t allowed in the canyon itself, but guests are allowed to camp in the mountains.
The Butterfield Peaks, located west of the Kennecott Copper Mine, look out onto the Salt Lake Valley from over 9,300 feet, offering glimpses as far south as Mount Timpanogos in Utah County. There are a number of different peaks to ascend: Butterfield, Kelsey, White Pine and Lowe Peak, respectively. The hike starts off accessible but the level of difficulty increases as you continue, as the trail becomes less visible as you move from peak to peak.
“That’s the best part about it,” adds fellow hiking enthusiast Greg Cooper, “It doesn’t feel groomed. It’s raw and bushy. You can lose the trail and have a great time. You can stop and view the antennas and the cairn, but the best part is when it becomes less a trail and more of an adventure.”