Ensign Peak is a place of historical significance for Utahns. Just 2 days after he entered the Salt Lake Valley, Brigham Young, recently recovered from a serious illness, climbed Ensign Peak and surveyed the valley. He envisioned the valley brimming full with residents, and laid the plans for the grid system of streets we have in use today.
The hike to Ensign Peak is short and easy. It is a bit steep, but our 4 and 7 year-olds made the hike up and back in about an hour. There is a little memorial park with many plaques that tell the story mentioned above before you start up the mountain. We parked next to this memorial park and then crossed the street to the trailhead for Ensign Peak.
The hike winds up through the scrub oak along a rocky trail. When you get to the top, there is a tall stone monument that can be seen from the valley floor, but you probably won’t even notice it because the view over the valley is stunning. You can see everything from the U of U all the way around to the north point of the mountain. We especially enjoyed looking down on the airplanes as they came in for a landing. You could also see the Great Salt Lake, the Bingham Copper mine, and downtown Salt Lake.
The only drawback to the hike was the disregard others have had for the landscape. Not only was the trail in poor condition due to inconsiderate hikers leaving the trail, but some unthinking screwball had taken cans of orange and black paint and defaced many of the signs and monuments. I understand that those things happen on what can be considered an “urban” hike, but please, please respect this trail (and any trail).
The hike to Ensign Peak is about 1/2 mile which makes this hike 1.0 mile round trip. The climb is steady up to the peak, but downhill is a breeze. We enjoyed the beautiful views and the history of hiking Ensign Peak.
Directions to Ensign Peak: From downtown SLC, head north on State Street to the Capitol Building. Turn right and follow the road around to the northeast. It becomes East Capitol Boulevard. Follow it up the hill to the north, and then turn left onto North Sandrun Road. Follow that road west to the LDS Church Building. We parking in the church parking lot, walked through the memorial garden, and then across the street to the hike. There is also roadside parking on Ensign Vista Drive where the hike begins.