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Toll Canyon to Murdock Peak, UT
mini location map2018-10-08
15 by photographer avatarddgrunning
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Toll Canyon to Murdock Peak, UT 
Toll Canyon to Murdock Peak, UT
Hiking avatar Oct 08 2018
Hiking9.59 Miles 3,030 AEG
Hiking9.59 Miles   4 Hrs   33 Mns   2.12 mph
3,030 ft AEG      1 Min Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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This trail begins at a dead end road in a neighborhood of Summit Park. The road continues on but is gated at that point. No parking signs next to the gate force you to park 30 yards or so back down the road from the gate.

After crossing though the gate, you road hike for about a 1/2 mile before hitting the actual trailhead. As we were setting out, a returning hiker warned us that he had just seen a bear about a 1/2 mile in. We didn't come across the bear. I was a little disappointed, but my daughter was relieved.

Although the Toll Canyon trail goes up the canyon, the road walk actually involves a descent to the trailhead, where you meet the Toll Creek that becomes your companion for the next couple of miles.

The trail is a narrow singletrack that is reserved for hiking (there are many mountain biking trails in the vicinity, but this trail is carved out for hiking). The trail skirts the side of the creek and crosses it a few times. Fall colors were a little past prime, but still beautiful.

The first couple of miles of the trail involve a gradual climb, suitable for all ages and fitness levels--and is clearly the most traveled section of the trail. At about 2.5 miles, the canyon and trail curves to the left and then more steeply up a drainage to a saddle that provides some "pay off" views into the neighboring Lambs Canyon. Beyond that point, the trail skirts along the head of Lambs Canyon through some nice aspen and fir tree stands and joins an old jeep road where the climb begins in a bit more earnest.

The jeep road peters out (and became harder to follow on this trip due to some snow accumulation). At the "end" of the jeep road, there is a very steep chute/drainage to the right that climbs straight up. At first, I didn't think that could be the access point and wandered beyond, looking for another way up. I quickly realized my error and backtracked over and up so as not to "waste" my elevation gain. I made it back to the chute, but continued to tromp up through deeper snow trying to find a way back down the 12-15 foot drop into the chute.

I eventually made it into the chute, and was regretting not bringing my Yaktrax, which were safely stowed back at the cabin. ](*,) This made the climb a little more slippery and challenging than it would otherwise have been.

As the topo lines on the route indicate, it's straight up from here. The chute eventually opens up into a bowl area that is only about .2 mi. from the summit, up what would pass in the area for a double-black diamond ski run. As it was nearing 6 pm, I debated bailing on the summit, but of course, couldn't resist at such a close distance. That last mile to the summit involved at 1000 ft. plus effort, but the summit views were worth it.

At the summit, there is some sort of antenna and structure. The setting sun peeked below the clouds and provided great views on the surrounding area, including views to the SE into the Canyons ski resort and Park City. North easterly views from the actual summit are a bit obstructed by trees, but just down from the summit is a "bald" spot, providing expansive views.

Cell coverage on the summit was good, and allowed me to call my wife and let her know I would likely be back after dark and not to worry.

I put on a thermal shirt for the descent and had a hard time rebuttoning my hiking shirt over it, with the cold fingers. "Hiking" (slipping and sliding) back down the double-black diamond and the chute proved to be a work out as well, and had me peeling off layers.

Going back through the aspen stands as the sunset lit up the clouds and lower mountain faces was simply magical. I'm usually a morning hiker, but the sunset lighting may make me rethink that. In any event, I didn't regret it for a moment on this day.

Eventually, it got too dark for me to keep stopping for photographs, and I finished the last mile and half by headlamp.

There is an alternate (and more popular) route to Murdock Peak via Rob's Trail from the Park City side. It does not involve the off-route scramble. But for my money, the road less traveled via Toll Canyon is the way to go. Definitely gets a thumbs up from me.
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Murdock Peak
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