ADAMS CANYON TRAIL
Adding this hike to my list of close to the city quickies. It checks off some crucial boxes: dog friendly, within 30 minutes of SLC, accessible year round, and was a remarkable demonstration of natural beauty. Check, check, checkity check check.
Adams Canyon starts right off of HWY 89 from a medium sized gravel parking lot. You'll head up relatively steep and remarkably muddy switchbacks for the first half mile until you start your journey into the canyon. You will follow the North Fork Holmes Creek for the entire hike, which is always a plus when solo hiking with the pups. I never mind carrying water for the pups, but when Mother Nature provides a drinking fountain for them I consider that a major win.
The time of year I completed this hike is very pertinent because most of my experience is centered around the challenge of the terrain that day. I ventured into Adams Canyon on a Monday morning in January after a week of intermittent snow and 45 degree days. Many know the havoc that wreaks on a trail, but for those that don't: ICE. Parts of the trail were solid ice, and when I say parts I mean at least half of the trail. This was a new challenge for me. I have hiked far, I have hiked high, but I haven't done much hiking with this tricky type of footing. To say it was humbling would be an understatement. On an upward angle I would have to crawl, on all fours, grunting like a wild woman. To move on a downward slope I would either crouch down, curl into a ball, and glissade, taking every rock and branch straight to the bum, or I would contort myself into some type of demented crab walk that I remembered being forced to do in gym class as a young girl. I relied heavily on the strength of tree roots and at times would have to thrust my hand deep into the wet snow searching for a boulder that I could wrap my frozen fingers around. Quite frequently I would take a step forward and slide three feet backwards.
After just over two and a half miles you reach your prize: the falls. All of the struggling, suffering, and frustration was quickly forgotten when I rounded the corner to see the stunning sight of a half frozen waterfall. I had an extra appreciation for the gorgeous scene in front of me, and I have the challenging terrain to thank for that. I really really love a good challenge.
The two other folks I ran into on the trail were both outfitted with crampons. A piece of trail gear that I don't own but after today will likely invest in.
Deeper into the winter season, if it ever comes, I am definitely making a return trip to see the progress that the lower temperatures have made on their natural ice sculpture.