Who names a peak 10,420? I’m assuming that’s the elevation of this peak, which is only about a mile from Clayton Peak at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon. We were excited when we found out about this hike, because it is only a little over a mile roundtrip to the summit from the parking lot– it’s a pretty steep mile, though.
Update 2020: The parking lot at Guardsman Pass has been permanently closed. It is only used for shuttle access. We are going to go and check out what the new hike will look like, or how best to get to the trailhead. The trail starts at Guardsman Pass. To get there, go up Big Cottonwood Canyon until you see the sign for Guardsman Pass. Turn left on Guardsman Pass Road. Just 2 or 3 miles up the road, you’ll come to the pass, with a beautiful overlook and parking on the right. The trail climbs up from here.
After you park, you’ll notice two trails to the right of the parking lot. The one on the right is steep and goes to the summit. That’s the one you want. It was steep, rocky, and a little slippery, but we saw a group of 60 year-old women climbing to the summit. The trail runs for a little over half a mile through ragged pines and up along the ridge. Off to the left several alpine lakes come into view.
Our 5 and 8 year-olds made it all the way to the summit without being carried, though we did hold hands on the roughest parts. We didn’t even have any big spills. As you near the top, you’ll see a false summit on the right. Well, actually, it is a real summit, and you’ll want to walk up there. There’s a pole right on top, and the views back over Big Cottonwood Canyon are spectacular! We thought this was our destination, but we were wrong. Peak 10,420 is a little farther.
We climbed back from this knoll and up to the left to the real summit of Peak 10,420. The view was amazing, and we counted 7 lakes– 3 off to the west, and 4 back to the east– as we took in the 360 degree view. We spent a little time at the top, and it was a bit windy and cool, though the valley floor was around 95 degrees! Our boys didn’t complain about this hike, but it is probably better suited to children 8 and up than for the youngsters.
You can extend this hike to an even more spectacular summit called Clayton Peak, too. The trail continues as you come down from 10,420 to a small saddle. From there, Clayton Peak is to the south, and the trail is obvious. This peak is higher, and the distance is around 2.5 miles roundtrip to the top. The RT hike for Peak 10420 is slightly more than a mile.