Fruit Heights, Davis County Utah
Wide vistas of the Wasatch Front. Potential to see deer, owls, hawks, and the occasional rattle snake.
~ 3.3 miles round trip
1.5 - 4 hours
None. Bring plenty.
Spring or Fall
Dirt and loose rocks. Clearly visible.
At Primary Parking
Vasque trail runners.
Camelbak 3 liter.
Thin Jacket for once the sun set.
This is a great “secret” hike. It is moderately difficult to the average person. It is older kid friendly. As a young boy I spent many a night up at Ed’s Flat. It was a great place to camp after a school day, or to just hike to on a Saturday. One evening with nothing to do, I took my wife up there in 2014. I had to show her one of my old haunts.
She loved it. And so will you.
Main Parking: 41.046643°, -111.904840°
Trailhead: 41.046362°, -111.901896°
Ed’s Flat: 41.045132°, -111.881387°
Ed’s Shoulder: 41.046420°, -111.873596°
The trail starts just south of the Rifle Range entrance, just east of the East Mountain Wilderness area. Just follow the road past the Rifle Range gate, up to the higher parking lot in front of the second Rifle Range gate. Head through the gap just to the right of the range’s fence.
Back in the day, there was only one way to get to this meadow. For the sake of tradition, that is the way I chose to take my wife. From the looks of it, I was the only one who has chosen the old trail in months, if not years.
The new trail starts by the rifle range. It follows the fire break road for a hundred meters and then switch backs up the steep slope to the upper fire break road. The trail then continues directly up the mountain from there.
The old trail ran right along the rifle range fence, then headed briefly north along the upper fire break road into the shallow canyon. Just on the north side of the narrow canyon, there is a trail the goes up, diagonally heading south. That is the all-but-forgotten start of the original trail.
The old trail was always faint. It necessitated frequent trail markers which were either blue spray paint or various other garbage. Say…old shotgun shells, or the occasional soda pop can. It was put in (as most of these trails were) by a local man who was digging and running springs down to Fruit Heights. Hence, on many of these trails metal pipes occasionally protrude from the rocks like odd, out-of-place relics. From what I know, most of these pipes are still used, though maintenance on them has long ago ceased.
The old trail follows the shallow canyon up the mountain for a 1/3 of a mile or so. It is steep going and now mostly overgrown and lost. Spider webs cross through the trees and by the end of the hike I was waving a stick in front of me to try to keep the constant webs off my face and out of my mouth. Seriously, for a desert, who knew we had such happy and active spiders!
This first part of the old trail is in the canyon we called “Lone Pine.” Yes, because it has one tall pine tree in it. I know, we were creative kids.
Blue spray paint. Some of the pictures are old. The paint no longer looks so vibrant.
The famous weather rock! If the rock was wet, it meant it was raining. Covered in snow, snowing. Dry and warm, sunny. Etc. This also marks a cross roads of old trails.
Along the old route are occasional springs. These are tapped far into the ground and were always safe to drink. Now I figure they still are, but check the pipe to make sure you have an idea of what is living in it. A little moss is fine.
The old trail was very hard to follow, even for me who knows it well. Take a GPS (or your phone with this map) if you are going to try it.
The new trail goes up and is clearly dug out the entire way. As you can see from the trail map above, there are branches off of it. But stick to the clearest, widest path and generally stay left as you go up.
The views from all the trails up this face of the mountain are awesome. The trails are very steep, so take breaks and enjoy the view.
Ed’s Flat is a large surprising meadow. The trail fights upward and upward through dense scrub oak and suddenly flattens out and opens up. It is a very unique location. There is no view of the valley from the meadow. It is tucked away and feels like it is far in the mountains and not just on a shoulder above the sprawling city.
The woods are open around it and easy to navigate. There is plenty of firewood. Also, on the east slope above the flat there used to be a spring. I have not used it in over a decade and was unable to find it this time. The spring is the only source of water I know of. Better pack accordingly, since I have no idea where it is or if it is still flowing!
Exiting the farthest south point in the meadow is a trail that winds up to the false peak we called Ed’s Peak/Shoulder. It is a quick hike and gives a great view! On this recent trip we didn’t look for that trail. I’m not sure what its condition is, or if the new trail builder continued up the mountain improving it. Find out and let me know.
Some one had made this sign which we found on the ground by the entrance to the meadow. I’m not sure who made it or why. Perhaps they are also the ones who built the new trail? Searching I have found no references to this meadow being named this. The people I talked to and what little I found written all called it Ed’s Flat. So sorry Maughan; Ed is what we are sticking with. You are welcome Ed.
Go back the way you came, or try a different trail down. We took the new and improved trail and highly recommend it. There were far less spider webs, and no moments we ended up lost.
Optional Side Trek:
The Bair Canyon loop is a fun side jaunt and can tack on a little more milage if you are looking for that.
Also, for the truly adventurous, you can bushwhack passed Ed’s Peak all the way up to the top of the mountain. This is how I first summited the ridge when I was in high school. It is rough going, but pretty fun.
This is a wonderful, under-used trail and destination. It is a quiet place for a campfire and provides good views on the way up and down, and some good exercise. While I don’t suggest doing this on a hot summer day, it is great in the evenings and throughout spring and fall. I’ve even snowshoed to it once or twice. However, now that I am a bit older I don’t know if I’d call that fun or ever do it again.
Check it out! Let me know what you think.