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Camping:  Willow Canyon

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Willow CanyonThe North and South Willow Canyons are a great place to escape the crowds that are prevalent around the Wasatch Front. Although they are only located less than an hour from Salt Lake City, they still don’t have quite the number of people the Cottonwood Canyons and Provo Canyons often see. This is a great place to go camping, hiking, or dirt bike riding and still have a bit of solitude.

North and South Willow Canyons are located in the Stansbury Mountains. This range is located about 40 miles West of Salt Lake City. From Salt Lake City drive West on highway 80 until you reach exit 88. Get off on exit 88 and drive South on Burmester Road until you reach a T in the road. Make a right and continue down North Street a bit, make a left on Hale Street and continue on that until you reach Main Street. Make a right onto Main Street and follow it until you see a sign pointing to the Willow Canyons. This road will be West Street. Follow West Street out 3.6 miles to the turn off for North Willow Canyon or drive out 4.9 miles to the turn off for South Willow Canyon.

South Willow Canyon is definitely more developed then its Northern brother. There Cottonwood Campgroundare five forest service campgrounds located in South Willow Canyon. The Cottonwood Campground is the first campground you will come to along the road. This campground has a few sites and is located on the banks of the South Willow Creek. There are picnic tables and fire pits at all sites.

Intake Campground Next up is the Intake Campground, once again this campground is nestled on
the banks of the Willow Creek. There are four sites, each has picnic tables, and fire pits. The bathroom is located near all the sites. This campground is very shady and the sites are well spaced.

The Boy Scout Campground is the next one encountered. This campground has eight shady, well-spaced sites. Each campsite features a picnic table and fire ring. Medina Flat TrailheadThere are several hiking possibilities taking off from this campground. The trailhead for the Southern portion of the Stansbury Front Trail is directly in the campground. This trailhead leads to Hickman Canyon and Big Hollow. The Medina Flat Trailhead is located just North of the campground. This trailhead follows the Stansbury Front Trail to North Willow Canyon, Davenport Canyon and West Canyon.

Upper Narrows Campground

The Upper Narrows Campground is a walk-in campground. The campground is on the other side of the creek and you have to walk over a bridge to access the sites. There are six sites available. This campground can also be reserved as a group area, 1-30 people costs $30.00 per night, 31-55 costs $55.00 per night. The Upper Narrows are located near the campground. This is a The Upper Narrows are home to about a dozen climbing routes.spot along the road where the walls of the canyon narrow down to the roadbed. The Upper Narrows are home to about a dozen climbing routes. The rock is limestone and the climbs tend to be a bit difficult. Bring a stick clip to access the climbs along the Southern side of the road, the stream flows right along the base of the cliff. Stick-clip the first bolt and swing across the creek. There is a good topo map for the routes here.

The Loop Campground is located at the end of South Willow Canyon Road. This campground is located at 7300 feet and is a great way to escape the heat of the valley in the summertime. There are nine sites nestled in a grove of aspens and Loop Campgroundpines. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring, site #9 is a double site. Like all campgrounds in the canyon each individual site is $8.00 per night. The trailhead for Deseret Peak is located in the campground. This trailhead provides an access to the summit of Deseret Peak, at an altitude of 11,031 feet the summit provides fantastic views of the surrounding terrain. The trail can be hiked in a loop or an up and down return. From the campground it’s approximately three miles to the summit, you’ll gain about 3600 feet to the top of the peak. The trail is well marked and fairly obvious the entire way. Dave Hall's book, "Hiking Utah", has a good description of this hike and many others.

North Willow Canyon is a bit more primitive than the South. The canyon has no organized campgrounds, but there are many places available to camp. There are numerous meadows located next to the road/trail. It is usually pretty obvious where others have camped before, use the same fire pit and don’t feel compelled to make your own “new” spot. There are many motorcycle and horse trails snaking throughout the canyon. This canyon is a bit more open and less lush than its southerly neighbor.

Nearby Areas:

Pony Express Trail

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Upper Narrows Campground may be reserved as a group area


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