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Hike Ferguson Canyon's Fern Gulley

Cottonwood Heights, Utah


Added by Seth Whelden

3.5 miles, 1600 ft elevation gainMostly shady hike perfect for a hot summer dayClosely follows a cascading creek for most of the hikePasses by some great rock climbing spotsBeautiful views of Ferguson Canyon, Big Cottonwood Canyon, and the Salt Lake valley from the topLess populated than many other hikes within the Wasatch RangeCan be a shorter, easier hike by turning around at any point, or a much longer hike by taking on Storm MountainFamily/dog friendly for half the hike or soThick cover gets you away from the sounds of the city almost immediatelyQuite a bit different from other hikes in the Wasatch Mountains

This hike begins at a trailhead in a nice neighborhood with a number of parking spots. There are two trails, one dirt utility road heading up, and the other is a set of stairs (as well as a handicapped accessible ramp) that leads to a small amphitheater halfway up the hill. There is a path from the amphitheater to the main trail so either way will get you into the canyon.

After a short distance hiking up along the exposed utility road with good views of the valley to the west, the trail will narrow as it descends under tree cover. Follow the trail until reaching some granite walls. The trail will end here, and you will have to hike through the stream a bit in order to get back on it.

If you want a little side adventure, go right at the big rock and scramble up the rocks. There are several little overlooks that are accessible without any gear, though it's not entirely without risk. From the upper levels it feels a bit like you're in the Mexican jungle on the Yucatan Peninsula. If you see climbers on the rocks, it's probably best to skip this mini-adventure and continue on, giving them their space.

After crossing through the stream and following along the trail it starts to get quite a bit steeper and there are a ton of small waterfalls. There are some fairly steep scrambles on loose ground (which make for a fun descent) and a number of stream crosses (I went in early June during spring run-off and found them all quite easy, though it was a dry winter) but more or less, the trail is pretty easy to follow.

After a final crossing of the stream the trail will finally begin to meander away from the stream bed and out of tree cover. You will follow along a few longer switchbacks until reaching a T. The trail to the right is more heavily covered and will take you up eventually to the top of Storm Mountain, while going left will take you up the final switchback on the Ferguson Canyon trail to some incredible views of the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon, the Salt Lake valley, and the canyon you just hiked. Just west of the trail just before reaching the official "end" of the trail is a large rock that has some good spots to sit if you aren't afraid of heights, though it's a pretty dramatic fall to the bottom so chill here at your own risk.

After taking in the views, head down, or continue up to Storm Mountain.

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Rock Climbing
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly


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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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