The trailheads leaving from Granite Flats lead into very beautiful country. I’ve taken both trails to go up to the north or south Box Elder saddles, then down the other side into Alpine. It makes for a very nice dayhike. (photos)
- Trailheads The trailheads start in 3 different locations. Trail #1 and #2 will take you to the north saddle. Trail #3 takes you to the south saddle.
#1. The main trailhead is on the right a few hundred feet after you pass the Granite Flats CG shack. You will come to a junction after 1/4 mile after leaving the TH. Take the left one. The right one takes you to the Silver Lake Flats road. If you accidently miss the junction, just walk up the road a few hundred feet and pick up the trail at #2.
#2. Take the Silver Lake Flats road, which turns off to the right just before the campground entrance. Follow it for about 3/4 mile until you get to a sharp 180 degree turn. You’ll see the trailhead in the middle of the turn.
#3. After passing trailhead #1, the road bends left and crosses a bridge. Turn right into the parking lot immediately after the bridge. The trailhead is at the end of the parking lot.
- Trailhead #1/#2 to north saddle (photos) This trail follows Deer Creek Canyon. You pass through a lot of different habitat types. The trail appears to split after 1.6 miles. Take the right fork – the left one doesn’t go anywhere. This is where you leave the creek and start climbing the north side of the canyon. You’ll have great views of the peak most of the way. The trail goes through a big rock field just before the saddle. When you get to the saddle, you enter a meadow named Community Flat. It has breath taking views of Peaks along the Alpine Ridge and Utah Valley.
–>Miles from TH#1 to north saddle:2.5mi Elevation gain:2870ft
- North saddle to Box Elder Peak (photos) Follow the trail to the south to get to the peak. Stay on the ridgeline as much as possible for easier hiking.
–>Miles from north saddle to Box Elder Peak:1.7mi (4.2mi) Elevation gain:1430ft (4300ft)
- North saddle to Unnamed Peak 11036 (photos) The peak north of this saddle doesn’t have a name – on maps it’s designated as unnamed peak 11036 – the number is its elevation. It’s a relatively easy hike. From the saddle, just go north. Follow the ridgeline when the trail disappears. Near the top you will be able to look down on Silver Lake, and will be very close to White Baldy.
–>Miles from north saddle to Unnamed Peak:1.2mi (3.7mi) Elevation gain:1400ft (4270ft)
- Trailhead #3 to south saddle (photos) This trail follows Wide Hollow Canyon. It is under the canopy most of the way, but goes through a few meadows. It climbs quickly. At 1.6 miles the trail comes to the edge of Wide Hollow. There’s a great view of the hollow and the mountains on the other side. The tallest peak you see is south of Box Elder – you can’t see Box Elder at this point. There are remains of an old cabin a 100ft past the overlook. I don’t know the story behind it, but apparently someone liked the area enough to live here. You’ll come to a junction at 1.9 miles in a meadow named Angel Flat. The right fork goes to the north saddle via White Canyon. It joins the north saddle trail just before it really starts climbing. The elevation gain from here to the north saddle is 400ft. The left junction takes you to the south saddle. The peak to the west is not Box Elder, it’s a false summit. At 2.3 miles the trail turns and goes up toward the saddle to the south. You should be able to see Box Elder to the north west and that saddle above you is the east face of the south saddle you’re shooting for. You have a choice – follow the trail to the south which takes you around that peak to your southwest to the west face of the south saddle, or you can go straight up the east face. I’ve done both – going straight up is tough but doable and may save you time. If you’re with someone else, don’t climb directly behind them unless you like dodging rocks. The other way (staying on the trail) is less steep but takes quite a bit longer. There is also some up and down, so you actually add to your elevation. The advantage to sticking to the trail is you see a lot of cool views you wouldn’t otherwise see.
–>Miles from TH#3 to south saddle via east face:2.9mi Elevation gain:3360ft
–>Miles from TH#3 to south saddle via trail:5.3mi Elevation gain:3360ft
- south saddle to Box Elder Peak (photos) Follow the ridgeline up to the peak. This side is quite a bit steeper than the north side, but is doable – trekking poles recommended.
–>Miles from South Saddle to Box Elder Peak:0.5mi (3.4mi or 5.8mi depending on your previous decision) Elevation gain:940ft (4300ft)
- Box Elder Peak (photos) The views from Box Elder Peak are great. You can see Lone Peak to the northwest, the Alpine Ridge running east from the and Mount Timpanogos to the south. You might see mountain goats there. There’s a huge cirque on the north side of the mountain. The folded rocks look really cool.