In the Shadow of North Peak
Knob Mountain is visible from the trailhead and a few otherlocations along the way, but its really not very impessive and its pretty far away, so one assumes that nearer and bolder looking features are the destination. Only when you are almost there do you realize you've been looking toward the wrong peaks the whole way.
From the parking area, the trail leads south across FR 406 and City Creek and then heads upstream, parallelling the creek but moving gradually away from it to the west and above it. Within the first quarter mile one encounters evidence of the fire of summer, 2004, mainly charred shrubs and small trees. About a mile along the path veers shaply west, climbing a low ridge and leaving the fire damage, temporarily, behind. For another mile or so the way continues through unburned mainly pinion and juniper woods at a gentle grade; and as the closeness of the live trees prevents any long views forward, side or back, the gaze is drawn upward to the hulk of North Peak straight ahead. North Peak will dominate the field of vision all the way to Knob Mountain.
Rather abruptly the trail becomes somewhat steeper and leaves all living vegetation behind. From here nearly to the top the scene is totally burned devestation. With nothing left to hold the soil in place, rains since the fire are eroding the ridges and trying to scour the trail from the slopes. Amazingly, there are few washouts, mainly at the heads of draws, and the path remains visible and walkable throughout its entire course. Continually following ridges, the trail climbs at a constant but not punishing grade that employs only four switchbacks in its 6.5 mile length.
Because no trees remain in the way, good views to the north and east accompany the hiker until the trail levels off above 6,000 feet about a half mile short of the summit. Here sizable areas of vegetation are unburned, a refreshing sight after several miles traversing near-moonscape terrain. The top of Knob Mountain did burn, but other than North Peak, now very close at hand, views from there are not impressive.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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