“A fun afternoon loop below the massive Hornet Canyon Cliffs.”
— Spencer Parkin
Fall Colors · Views · Waterfall
A loop with some good vertical near two pretty canyons.
Need to Know
The top of the loop crosses Hornet Creek at a point above and below some waterfalls. Use caution here, especially as the rock can by a wet slick in spring.
This trail loops around Hornet Canyon
, and rides the ridge straddling the Hornet and Steed canyons. The path shown follows the loop clock-wise, which is easier to route-find. If doing it counter-clock-wise, it can be a bit hard to follow the trail on the north side of Hornet Canyon
Note that this loop provides access to a few approaches that take you up above the massive cliffs. One is taken at the point where the trail crosses Hornet Creek. Follow the drainage straight up for a ways, and then leave it to follow the north shoulder of the cliffs. As of this writing, tree tags aid in the route-finding process.
Another approach is to make your way up the center ridge proper, to the base of the cliffs. This is a horrible bush-wack rewarded by some fun 4th and 5th class scrambling/climbing. If you route-find carefully enough, there is nothing too risky about this way of gaining the top of the cliffs.
Yet a third approach is to take the south fork at the top of the trail following the center ridge. This has become quite overgrown in recent years, but unlike the other approaches, it is a trail nevertheless. Follow it around the south flank of the cliffs until it bends east then north to gain the ridge up above the cliffs.
From above the cliffs, you can follow the ridge up to a saddle overlooking Farmington Lake. Note that there is a descent that takes you to Flag Rock (the Centennial
trail), but it is a bit hard to follow. In any case, be careful on your descent, and don't forget the headlamp.
Flora & Fauna
I once unwittingly chased a skunk down the center ridge. Fortunately, I stopped when I saw it with its tail up.
Steed Canyon is the first place I've encountered a black bear in the Wasatch.
I've seen several rattle snakes on this loop. When scrambling up rocks and boulders, be weary of where you are placing your hands, especially as you top-out over a lip. I once almost put my hand in the coil of a big diamond-head-shaped rattle-snake.