Raymond, as seen from
7.0 miles (plus 3.4 miles by car or bicycle)
6 1/4 hours
4,030 ft. gain, 3,110 ft. loss
Bowman Trailhead (start): 6,220 ft.
Baker Pass: 9,340 ft.
Gobblers Knob: 10,246 ft.
Alexander Basin Trailhead: 7,140 ft.
The trail to the top of Gobblers Knob is mostly well maintained
and easy to follow, but for 0.7 mile, from Gobblers Knob
down into the upper part of Alexander Basin, there is
no trail. The descent is very steep and rocky but not
Midsummer to mid-fall. Alexander Basin is usually filled
with snow each year until July. Also, the road to the
Alexander Basin Trailhead is closed each year until June
1. For current trail conditions call the Salt Lake Ranger
District, Wasatch-Cache National Forest, at (801) 943-1794.
Mill Creek Canyon, 10 miles east of Salt Lake City
relative ease with which Gobblers Knob can be climbed
makes it one of the most popular summit destinations in
the Wasatch Mountains. It is the highest point on the
ridge separating Mill Creek Canyon from Big Cottonwood
Canyon, and the view from the top is exceptional. It lies
on the boundary of the Mount Olympus Wilderness Area just
above the north-facing bowl of picturesque Alexander Basin.
Gobblers Knobs proximity to Alexander Basin is in
large part why it is such a delightful place; but, regrettably,
it was also this proximity that prevented it, in 1984,
from being wholly included in the Mount Olympus Wilderness
Area. As a result, there is now a very real possibility
that some day the view from the peak will be marred by
the presence of ski lifts on its northern slopes.
Alexander Basin is one of
those alpine gems for which the future is very uncertain.
A fierce political battle was fought in the early 1980s
over the boundaries of the proposed Mount Olympus Wilderness
Area. Protection of Alexander Basin was a high priority
among Utahs environmentalists, but since the basin
is used by helicopter skiers they were opposed by the
states skiing industry. In the end the skiers won,
and the scenic glacial cirque was excluded. The boundaries
of the Mount Olympus Wilderness Area are now distorted
by a huge gouge on the eastern side where Alexander Basin
lies. Not only is the basin still used by helicopter skiers,
but, even worse, it could easily become part of a future
ski resort in upper Mill Creek Canyon. Proposals for such
a resort have already been submitted to the Forest Service.
the first 1.1 miles the trail to Gobblers Knob follows
Bowman Fork, a small, pleasantly shaded creek that originates
north of the peak. All too soon, however, the path leaves
the water and begins a series of switchbacks up through
a stand of large conifers to the top of White Fir Pass,
600 feet above Bowman Fork. Once you reach the top of
he pass the forest becomes less dense, and the trail settles
down to a more gradual climb. Soon you will see Mount
Raymond looming through the quaking aspen, and shortly
after that you will see a trail to Alexander Basin departing
on the left. Continuing upward towards Gobblers Knob,
the next point of interest is Baker Spring.
Baker Spring was once the
site of an old mining camp. There was a cabin here until
the 1980s, but unfortunately it burned down and now there
is no trace left of it. If you look around, however, you
will see remnants of the mining activity. Baker Mine is
about 300 yards south of the spring, and there are remains
of a smaller mine just above the trail. Gobblers Knob
is said to have gotten its name from the noise made by
a flock of turkeys that were once kept by miners living
in the area.
Beyond Baker Spring the
scenery continues to become more and more inspiring. As
you pass the 9,000 foot level the forest opens up to some
fine views of Gobblers Knob, Mount Raymond, and the Great
Salt Lake. When you reach the summit of Baker Pass, 0.8
mile later, you will be greeted by a panorama of the Twin
Peaks Wilderness Area south of Big Cottonwood Canyon.
To the right and to the left are Mount Raymond and Gobblers
Knob, both rising about 900 feet above the saddle. Also
at the crest of the pass you will see two other trails
taking off in either direction along the ridge to the
two nearby summits. You should turn east here for the
climb to the top of Gobblers Knob. (See page 120 for a
description of the trail up Mount Raymond.)
The trail up Gobblers Knob
is not maintained, but it is well used and easy to follow.
Except for the fact that it is all uphill, it is a fairly
easy walk. The only downside is that there are several
false summits along the route, and it is discouraging
to see another heart-pounding climb in front of you after
reaching what you thought was the top. Nevertheless, 45
minutes of determined walking should get you to the top.
The views are similar to the views from Baker Pass, but
from this vantage point you can look down on Mount Raymond
(5 feet lower).
Alexander Basin is the large
bowl immediately northeast of Gobblers Knob. There is
no trail from the top of the Knob into Alexander Basin,
but it is not too difficult to drop off the summit and
pick your way down through the basin to the trail below.
The best way is to circle around the south side of Gobblers
Knob to a saddle that lies about 400 yards east of the
summit. The slope is very steep, but it is not too difficult
to walk or slide down the north side of the saddle into
Alexander Basin. Try to stay on the east side of the bowl
as you make your descent, and after you have lost about
800 feet you will run into the trail coming up from Alexander
Basin Trailhead. From there it is an easy 1.3 miles of
downhill walking to the Mill Creek Canyon Road.
provided by David
Day of utahtrails.com. Click here to order his book
Favorite Hiking Trails.