Known by some locals as the ‘Mine trail’ because of a shallow mine a couple of miles up from the trail head this hike will eventually take you to the top of Red Butte Canyon, overlooking the Salt Lake valley towards the Oquirrh mountains. Even in early May there where plenty of wild flowers already coloring the landscape. Several varieties of sunflowers, lupine, sweet pea, blue bells and phlox among others were spotted along the trail depending on the elevation. (Pictures of the flowers and their names are at the bottom of this page.)
The trail was covered by smaller pieces of shale, but was flat enough that it did not pose any sort of hazard as it may have on more of a slope.
Farther up the trail, about 2 miles in, is the old mine that was made by a man working to collect sandstone and slate for one of the original churches to the Salt Lake Valley who got it into his head that ‘there’s gold in them thar hills!’ and decided to try his hand at mining instead. Now closed off just inside the entrance, in generations past little boys could be found spending endless hours daring each other to make it to the end of the 50′ of tunnel which, as you probably already presumed, never produced a fleck of gold or any other semi precious commodity.
As you can see, there was still quite a bit of snow the higher we climbed. Up to a couple of feet still in some areas, even while getting direct sunlight. It caused only minimal issues since it was hard to ascertain whether it would be soft and give way, or hard and icy, depending on where you stepped. But we were able to pass through the area with the most snow fairly quickly.
Had the clouds not been rolling in for an approaching thunder storm we would have stayed longer to explore down into Red Butte Canyon but the wind started picking up and the temperature dropped quickly. Red Butte has a fascinating history of being ‘untouched’ by humans. It was designated early on as a location to study the effects a lack of human presence would have. Closed off to the public with only limited use by scientists and environmental agencies it has remained wild. I don’t know whether the prohibition is still in effect or if they have lifted the ban on the area. The signs that had been posted in decades past that warned to to enter the canyon from the trail we were on had been removed, but there is relatively little sign of humans being present in the area. K, of course, sees it as prime real estate for hawks and falcons to nest and hunt!