The History of Malan’s Peak and my Tough Climb

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Saturday, August 12th, 2012, I woke up at 6 am, jumped on my computer and got to work so I could finish early and reward myself with two things, watching the US Men’s Basketball team win the gold medal and climbing to the peak of a mountain. For the US basketball team, it was a struggle and let me tell you that the climb to Malan’s Peak was no picnic either. Congrats to Kobe, Lebron and crew for winning the gold as they reached their goal. Today, was my day to reach the peak of a mountain.

The History Behind Malan’s Peak

Malan’s Peak was named after an Ogdenite, Bartholomew “Tim” Malan. In 1892, Malan and his family carved out a path up the mountain side along the upper reaches of Waterfall Canyon, into what is now Malan’s Basin and built Malan Heights Hotel and also prepared a campground area. Malan charged visitors $1 per person to be hauled up to the hotel in a horse-drawn wagon that had a “poke” stick which prevented the wagon from rolling backwards down the hill. Passengers were treated to beautiful panoramic views, excellent meals, and lodging at $6 per week (steak included). Unfortunately, the Hotel burned down in 1906 and the only evidence of it’s existence left is the old cast iron boiler laying in the grass near the stream which leads to Waterfall Canyon.

A plaque at the old Hotel location shows Malan Heights Resort from 1893-1913. It included a two-story hotel, a sawmill, seven log cabins and a club house. Room and Board was $6 but you could also purchase a single meal for between $.35 and $.50.

The Hike Through Taylor’s Canyon and on to Malan’s Peak

You can start this hike at either the 27th street trailhead or the 29th street trailhead and since I was familiar with 29th due to my last hike to Waterfall Canyon, I went this was again. Now, last time, I meant to go to Malan’s Peak but accidentally went to Waterfall Canyon so today I plan to pay close attention to the trail and signs. First let’s take a look at a topographic map to see what we’re getting ourselves into here.

Topo Taylor's Canyon - Malan's Peak

Topo Taylor’s Canyon – Malan’s Peak

On the left-center of this map you should see 29th in red which was my starting point at 4760 feet (this varies based on which source you use). From this spot, you should see an orange dotted line going slightly south, then north and then north-east for a while. This is the trail. As the trail changes from NE to East and SE, this where you are entering Taylor’s Canyon and beginning the rigorously, steep uphill climb. Where it says Malan’s Peak, on the map, is the location of the peak and as you can see from the map, if you head south-east after the peak, you will come to Malan’s Basin which was the location of Malan Heights Resort. Malan’s Peak is at about 7000 feet so I was expecting to climb about 2300 feet up in elevation on this day.

Last time I tried this hike, I took the wrong trail, but this time I paid attention and found the correct paths. In order to get to the peak, I needed to first work my way over to the mouth of Taylor’s Canyon.

Taylor's Canyon Trail Sign

Taylor’s Canyon Trail Sign

Below is what Taylor’s Canyon looks like as I approach it from the south trail:

As I approach Taylor's Canyon

As I approach Taylor’s Canyon

Once you get into the canyon area, the path takes you into the trees and for the next 1.5 to 2 hours you are in the cool shade of the tree but you still have to climb up. 🙂 I didn’t get any of the path up to Malan’s Peak on video as there were very few places to take a break due to the steep incline of the paths. I was loving the fact that I packed 8 water bottle in my backpack but then I was hating the fact that I packed them due to all the extra weight. Actually, the path was OK until after crossing this bridge below, then the terrain changed.

Bridge Crossing Dried Stream

Bridge Crossing Dried Stream

In this section of the trail, your objective is to work you way around, over and through the rocks and up the trail. Later on, the hike is all about nice clean paths but at a difficult incline. Rest often.

A look at the trail up

A look at the trail up

Another look up the trail as the terrain continues to changes as we straddle the dried up stream.

The Trail Begins to get more difficult

The Trail Begins to get more difficult

Along the path, I found this nice rock that was begging me to come over and take a rest. I took the rock up on it’s offer, took off the backpack and pulled out my apple slices from Subway for a little snack and water before continuing onward.

My Rest Spot - Apple Snack

My Rest Spot – Apple Snack

Five minutes later, I was really happy I had stopped to rest and get something to eat because something in the air smelled and I knew there would be something soon that may gross me out. The apples stayed down, but I didn’t get close enough to investigate the cause of this poor guys demise.

This poor guy has seen better days

This poor guy has seen better days

If you couldn’t tell from the picture, those are maggots. Oh gross, my mind is playing tricks on me. Making me think that I smell the smell. Yuk!!

After hiking the north side of the canyon for a while, you come to a sign that gives you a choice of paths to take. One was to continue along Taylor’s Canyon or Two was to head up to Malan’s Peak. Well, I didn’t come out today to skip rocks across a dried up stream, I came out to conquer a mountain peak. Malan’s Peak it was. I then crossed a bridge and over to the south side of the canyon and this is where the journey gets tough. Steep, I mean steep climbs ahead. But first, here are some of the views from the south side of Taylor’s Canyon looking north and north-east.

View the north side of Taylor's Canyon as I climb the south path

View the north side of Taylor’s Canyon as I climb the south path

Here is another view while I am in the open before I get back into the shade of the trees.

More Views of Taylor's Canyon

More Views of Taylor’s Canyon

From this point forward, I was focused and determined to make it all the way up to the peak. The paths the rest of the way were long, steep and straight. There were no surprises about what was around the next corner, I just saw a 100 yard path in front of me at about a 45 degree angle that needed to be hiked. Simple as that, but harder. Ha!! Once I made it to the top of that path, it would curve and head up the opposite direction in the same manner. It seemed like hours, but I finally saw the sun peeking out of the trees and wondered if this could be the peak, an sure enough, I was finally there. Below, I put a quick video together to show my excitement after finishing this climb.

That was a cool moment for me. After spending about 20 minutes at the peak, I decided to head off to Malan’s Basin to see what was over there but I took this quick picure of Mount Ogden just to show that I have higher elevations to conquer in the future.

East from Malan's Peak - Mount Ogden

East from Malan’s Peak – Mount Ogden

If you refer back to the map, earlier in this post, you will see that Malan’s Basin is quite a distance from the Peak, so do I have enough energy to make it there and back. In the next video, I record myself on the way and I’m enthusiastic, but I soon discover it is primarily a down hill path which meant I would have to come back up hill to get out. I didn’t think I was quite ready for that. Here is a direct quote from Utah.com about this trail “There are excellent views at several points along the trail, and so you don’t have to make it to the summit to enjoy a hike here. Strong hikers can continue past the summit into Malans Basin, which is a popular camping spot for backpackers.” Now, I see what they do, they hike to the basin, camp out, get a meal and some rest then they head back. Too much for me in one day, plus it was already getting late in the afternoon and I had no camping gear.

Since I wasn’t going all the way to Malan’s Basin, I decided to take the path to City Spring on my way down the mountain. The path veered off on the way up but I stayed on the main path. On the path, there was this massive tree partially blocking the way.

Path to City Spring in Taylor's Canyon

Path to City Spring in Taylor’s Canyon

Here is a waterfall created by the spring:

City Spring Waterfall in Taylor's Canyon

City Spring Waterfall in Taylor’s Canyon

Now that you have seen some pictures, lets get into some live action of the spring. Check out the video below:

That was a neat spring. I didn’t waste any time from that point on getting down the mountain. I was trying to make it back for the Olympic closing ceremonies. Going down the mountain you have two choices, take it slow to make sure you don’t bust your butt or jog down. Well, slow was safe but I was dealing with gravity and the steep mountain trails wanted to pull me down faster. I found that going slow put a LOT of pressure on my calves as they were what was keeping me going down at a slow pace (my toes too) and after a while they began to shake. I decided to do a mix of job and creep and that got me down the mountain safely. I guess if I would have taken the time to stop and rest on the way down, it may have been different.

Thanks for checking out this super massively long post. My next post will be something different, not a hike. Hmm….what might it be?

Below, you will find my comment area. Please feel free to leave a comment whether positive, negative, constructive or maybe you have a funny, strange or cool story that relates. Comment away, thanks. Troy


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2 Responses to The History of Malan’s Peak and my Tough Climb

  1. Joshua Kerrigan October 29, 2012 at 4:02 PM #

    This is a great post, I think you should turn it into a 2 or 3 part series.

    • Traveling Troy November 1, 2012 at 4:24 PM #

      True, I should have extended it into a series. There was so much more to explore on east side of the peak, but it was getting late and I wasn’t prepared (with tent and sleeping bag) to spend the night in Malan’s Basin, although that would have been sweet!

      I’m planning more trips soon and I will be much more prepared the next time around. Thanks for checking in.

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