Broads Fork – Part I

I would guess that there is some historical significance to the name, but I haven’t been able to identify it yet…but Broads Fork itself is located about four miles into Big Cottonwood Canyon, which is just south and east of Salt Lake City, and is one of the three or four main canyons that lead into the Wasatch Mountain front that is the eastern border for the Salt Lake Valley.  The trail is reported to be just over four and a half miles in length from the parking lot to the cirque, or bowl-shaped meadow at the end, and gains just over 2,000 feet in elevation.

I’m not sure of the exact length of this portion of the trail, but it starts out as something resembling a logging trail and then turns into a single track that winds through very thick brush that is often waist to shoulder high….

I haven’t been able to identify these flowers in any of the sources I have at hand, but they look like a variation of hops to me….

UPDATE: While I was out hiking yesterday, Sunday July 15, I met Knick Knickerbocker from the Wasatch Mountain Club and gave him one of my blog cards.  He emailed me this morning after reading this post to tell me that these flowers are called Mountain Horsemint…and the taxonomic name is something like Agastache urticifolia…if anyone wanted to know that.  Thank you again, Knick.  🙂

This was the first view of what the on-line literature calls the “lower meadow” in Broads Fork.  After climbing through old-growth pine forest and then a thick stand of aspen and the brush that I mentioned above, the trail makes a sharp turn around a rise in the terrain and this panorama is suddenly in front of you…it is so unexpected…breath-taking, jaw-dropping, however you want to describe it.

This is the view looking to the left of the above meadow….

The trail proceeds through the meadow and immediately into a stand of aspen and pines, again with the thick brush on each side…slowly climbing higher and higher as it makes its way out of this lower meadow and on toward the upper meadow.

When I’m hiking, especially when I’m on a trail for the first time, I frequently stop and turn around to take a look at the trail coming from the opposite direction…it helps with orientation on the way back if I will be taking the same route.  It’s amazing sometimes to see what’s behind you as you come out of the woods, arrive at the top of a ridge, or otherwise gain a dramatically different view of your surroundings than you had only moments before….  This is the view I encountered upon leaving the thick aspen that covers the side of the bowl where the lower meadow is situated.  I stood on the rise in the trail as it makes its entry into the upper meadow and turned around….

Here’s an infrequent “people picture” offered to demonstrate scale….  It’s rather difficult to feel significant or important out here…the notions of “Self” and “Me” seem to disolve somewhere between the first few steps on the trail….  This photo was taken near that rise in the trail mentioned above, but a little further down and facing into the second meadow, and with a nearly full view of the rest of the fork or gulch.

And this is a wider view that encompasses more of the area to the right of the location in the above photograph…I understand the peak in the middle to be Sunrise Peak, the one on the left to be Dromedary Peak, and the one in the upper right of the photo to be the western peak of the Twin Peaks set.  The western summit has been measured at 11,330 ft and the eastern summit at 11,328 ft in elevation.  These peaks are reported to be the tallest of the Wasatch Mountains that border Salt Lake City.

More to follow…in Broads Fork – Park II.

29 responses

  1. It looks like the kind of place that you could spend an entire lifetime exploring. Beautiful!

    July 16, 2012 at 7:37 am

    • Yes, it does, Allen…and something I shall purpose to do for the remainder of mine…. 🙂

      July 16, 2012 at 7:48 am

  2. Very, very nice. Looks like place I would enjoy exploring as well. Glad you included the people. It was difficult to comprehend the scale without that picture.

    Where those people with you, or other hikers?

    . . . and while I don’t know about the historical significance, the PC term is “ladies”, or “women”.

    July 16, 2012 at 8:03 am

    • Thank you, Emilio…it is a wonderful place to explore…would love to spend hours and hours and hours out there…. The photograph with the people in it is infrequent for a few reasons, but in this hiking context, mostly because I do hike alone and there are not often situations occurring when I am able to see people at such a distance with a clear view of them and the surroundings. On the infrequent occasions when I have one of my sons with me, I like to get them in the photos, among other reasons, to demonstrate the scale or perspective, as it is difficult, like you mentioned, to fully comprehend just how big it is out there.

      And no, those “people” were not with me. I caught up with them a bit later and found that they were a man and woman, gentleman and lady, dude and chick…or some other such named male and female of the human species…. 😉

      July 16, 2012 at 8:16 am

  3. I loved these pictures, and as I looked at one after another, I had a longing to visit the place. It seemed so strange, to think that I had visited your state… many years ago, and had been completely unaware of the natural beauties that surround the city. But that, I suppose is one of the disadvantages of traveling. Sometimes we’re like the proverbial horse with blinders on. Thank you for sharing just those places, that I know I would love the most.

    July 16, 2012 at 8:38 am

    • I’m very happy that you have enjoyed the pictures so much, Shimon…so glad that you were able to see what is just down the road a bit. Maybe you’ll come back someday and be able to see it for yourself…now that you know it’s here. And you are most welcome for the sharing….

      July 16, 2012 at 10:00 pm

  4. That’s quite a climb. These are beautiful Scott. I particularly loved the aspen photo. Excellent!

    July 16, 2012 at 9:35 am

    • It was quite a climb, Chillbrook…and if I didn’t carry a camera with me, it might be a bit harder than it seems to have been. Stopping to take so many photos allows a bit of a rest along the way. I’m glad you like that aspen shot…seems different than others I’ve taken. Thank you. 🙂

      July 16, 2012 at 10:05 pm

  5. The mountains, the moon, the quakies….. all too lovely for words. Being there had to soothe your soul. Thanks for bringing us along. 🙂

    July 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    • My husband taught me that trick of looking back from whence you came. Of course I was never as much home in the woods as he was. Looking again through your photos, I noticed a heart in the quakies. Appropriate since I have a special love for those trees. The heart I see is in the upper left… just to the left of the aspen closest to you, the photographer. Pretty tricky of you to put it there! 😉 If i had to pick a favorite in this series, that would be it.

      July 16, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      • I hadn’t noticed the heart when putting the photos together, but now that you’ve pointed it out, it is very obvious…how cool is that?! What a special photo to be your favorite…. 🙂

        July 16, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    • It sure did, Gunta…and I’m glad I could bring you all with me. 🙂

      July 16, 2012 at 10:06 pm

  6. What immense mountains and fabulous vistas; what a wilderness. I have been looking on Google Earth and trying to work out the locations and distances, Did you approach along route 190 and stop off where it takes a bend to the south toward Solitude. I think I can see the parking area, and then you go due south along the valley that ends with a strange ridge down the center? What a place to live near…… great photos.

    July 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    • They are all of those things, indeed, John…and yes, take the 190 east into Big Cottonwood Canyon…not too far into it, you’ll see that very tight “S” curve, don’t go past that…the parking lot is just a tad to the right of that curve…and the trail for Broads Fork leaves out of the right end of that parking lot, and the trail to Lake Blanche leaves out of the left side of it. Solitude is actually several miles more up the canyon…just look for that very tight “S” and you’ll see it.

      It is wonderful to live so close to it, too…just down the road a bit. I’m glad you liked the photos, too…thank you.

      July 16, 2012 at 10:19 pm

  7. I do miss the mountains. But what surprised me even more while looking at your photos is how much I love and miss the Aspens. I love how their leaves will shimmer. I love their tall, whitish trunks. They are beautiful.

    July 16, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    • The aspen are beautiful trees, Dezra…so beautiful…and wait till Fall gets here…. 🙂

      July 16, 2012 at 10:21 pm

      • I thought about mentioning fall but that made me even more nostalgic! Aspens are glorious in the fall. I’m loving your posts because I so miss my childhood home.

        July 17, 2012 at 4:01 am

        • Yes, Dezra, it’s hard not to mention the fall colors when talking about the aspen…so beautiful. It’s nice that we can share our parts of the world/country like this…and I hope those are all good memories that come back when they remind you of your childhood home. 🙂

          July 17, 2012 at 7:39 am

  8. Thank you! A beautiful walk! Reminds me of walks I took as a teenager (eons ago) in the Colorado Rockies and the Mountains of Alaska.

    July 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    • You’re welcome, Bonnie…I’m glad they brought good memories….

      July 16, 2012 at 10:22 pm

  9. That’s some very beautiful country! I’ve seen those mountains from the valley many times and always wondered what they were like. It’s so good to see!

    July 16, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    • It sure is, Terry…maybe you’ll have to add another day or two to your trip the next time you’re passing through…. 🙂

      July 16, 2012 at 10:08 pm

  10. I never tire of these images.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:31 am

    • I’m glad to hear/read that, Leanne…does my heart good! Thank you. 🙂

      July 17, 2012 at 7:39 am

  11. Amazing….incredible…jaw-dropping…..I loved every single frame….what a great way to start my morning!!! Thank you for sharing this beautiful place!

    July 17, 2012 at 11:23 am

    • Such nice words, Kirsten…and I’m so glad you enjoyed them…every single frame! You’re most welcome…. 🙂

      July 17, 2012 at 11:25 am

  12. What a beautiful hike, Scott. If the peaks were just a little bit pointier, I’d think you’d been in Switzerland. I’d love to follow this trail too, some day. I’m eager to see what you do as autumn sets in.

    July 18, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    • Beautiful, indeed, Gary…and yes, the peaks are a bit pointier in Switzerland, that’s another wonderful place. I’m pretty sure the trail will still be here when you’re next in town. 🙂

      Here’s a link to my post from Mineral Fork last year in the fall…some of the shots are a little over-exposed, but I think they’re still a fair representation of what you’ll be able to see with the coming Fall’s handiwork in the canyons:

      Thank you for visiting, Gary…I appreciate your comments. 🙂

      July 19, 2012 at 6:44 am

  13. Aysha

    My fiance and I took this trail yesterday, or at least I thought we did. I think we ended up on the twin peaks trail. Is the fork for the Broads Fork trail sort of hidden. We went pretty far beyond the big Twin Peaks Wilderness sign and kept climbing upwards; we never reached the meadow described here :(. It was a nice hike though, but I’d like to find the beautiful meadow pictured here and those tall Aspens.

    June 23, 2013 at 10:59 am

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