The Pipeline Trail in Millcreek Canyon, in the north-eastern part of the Wasatch Mountain front that borders Salt Lake City, runs for close to seven miles, starting just outside of the canyon (you actually start from inside the canyon, but have to go backwards to reach the closest end of it) and terminating at a significant bend in the canyon that is called Elbow Fork.
The first location to access the trail is at Rattlesnake Gulch…and it is a one mile hike back out of the canyon to get to the outside terminus (which is located at a fantastic overlook of the Salt Lake Valley). If one continues into the canyon, the trail can next be accessed at the Church Fork picnic area…or further into Millcreek, one can pick it up at the Burch Hollow Trailhead, just across from the Porter Fork trail…or one can continue up Millcreek Canyon Road until it turns sharply toward the right at Elbow Fork.
There are a couple of steeper grades, but most of the trail climbs gradually, levels out, and then continues at a slight incline for much of its length. Supposedly, it only gains just over 600 ft in total elevation from the beginning to the end.
If one starts at Rattlesnake Gulch and follows the trail up into the canyon, it is 1.6 miles to the access-point at Church Fork; it is another 2.1 miles to the access-point at Burch Hollow trailhead, and another two miles to the junction at Elbow Fork.
Somehow the element of it being really cold doesn’t play into the equation when viewing this natural beauty…except when standing and kneeling next to the edge of the stream…or leaning over it to take the picture, and hoping that I don’t slip and fall in….
These were taken over a stream near Church Fork, just down the hill a little ways from Pipeline Trail on the way to Burch Hollow and Elbow Fork…curious names of places in Mill Creek Canyon, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
Mill Creek Canyon is one of the three main natural canyons in the Wasatch Mountains that provide the eastern border of Salt Lake City, Utah.
On the First of November of each year, the parks personnel close the road at the five-mile mark in the canyon and do not plow it beyond that point. The main road then becomes a favored location for cross-country skiers to practice their skills in climbing upward for six miles or more and then racing down the smooth pathway back toward the gate.
There are also numerous trails that lead up and into and along-side the various other mini-canyons and gulches that fill the mountain area to the sides of the canyon proper.
On this particular Sunday morning and afternoon, I took the Pipeline trail for about two miles until it reached Elbow Fork, and then took the trail that leads to Mount Aire and/or Lamb’s Canyon.
I chose to go to Lamb’s Canyon pass, which was close to another two miles up and into the mountains.
Lucky for me, I had my gaiters on, because the snow quickly became six to twelve inches deep, depending on where the trail lay under trees or in clearings where there was nothing to prevent more snow from accumulating.
After I came to what I thought might have been Lamb’s Canyon pass or the ridge that was my destination (where the previous hikers and snow-shoe-ers had turned around), I continued down and along what I perceived to still be the trail that actually led to Lamb’s Canyon. I followed some large deer or elk or moose tracks for another few hundred yards…until the snow was deep enough that my knees were getting cold from the snow above my gaiters….and decided that it was time to turn around.
At any rate, it was a beautiful hike into the snow-covered forests of Mill Creek Canyon.