Fruit Heights, Davis County, Utah
Great vista’s of the Wasatch Front and the Great Salt Lake
2.5 miles one way
One way, 3-5 hours.
Plenty of snow to boil in Winter. No water known water in the summer.
Fall – Winter
Open year round
Defined but overgrown.
Sometimes. As a deal with the NFS, this cabin must be maintained and stocked with food.
Old saws, old buckets, ratty old sleeping bags.
This is not an easy hike. This is Stair Master for the outdoors. If you are looking for a hard hike, with great views, and want to sweat the entire time; then this is the hike for you. To be clear, I have only hiked to this cabin in winter. Deep snow greatly adds to the difficulty and colors my perception of the hike.
Holmes’ Cabin is a disheveled old cabin high on the shoulder over Fruit Heights, UT. It was built by a local family, as were the other cabins in this area. The National Forest Service discovered the cabin and instead of fining the owners and tearing down the cabin, they struck a deal: the cabin could stay as long as it was kept open for public use as a sort of yurt, and it remained stocked with provisions and tools.
I have been up and had to share the cabin, but that is rare. The cabin has fallen into disuse in the last years. Expect a leaky roof, and a dirty building.
Trailhead:41° 2’49.22″N 111°54’15.07″W
Turn Off: 41° 3’24.37″ N 111°54’01.12″ W
Cabin: 41° 3’50.90″N 111°52’33.15″W
Start at the East Mountain Wilderness Trail head. Follow onto the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Cross Holmes Creek. This is the easy part of the hike. Usually there is not much snow here. But rest assured, the cabin will have much more if you go during late winter.
Shortly after the bridge over the creek, as you climb out of the canyon, you will take a right off the main trail. This smaller trail will take you all the way to the cabin, straight up the mountain.
The cabin lies behind the ridge with the thumb of rock sticking up. We call this Wart Rock. Fighting my way up the mountain against a stiff head wind, my water bottle on the side of my backpack froze solid. As did my friend’s camel-bak.
On your way up, you can run over to Wart Rock and get some great photos. At this point you will be exhausted. Don’t worry, you are over 4/5 of the way there. My feet were sore and frozen. I was dehydrated. I was very ready for a fire.
The cabin is tucked in the trees just off the ridge. It is mildly shielded from the wind. But the cabin is full of holes and the wind blew snow in on us all night long.
The cabin sleeps six nicely and has a top loft for storage or the adventurous. There is no insulation in the walls. During the night it dropped to -20°f inside. This is very rare that our mountains ever get this cold. It is, to this day, still the coldest I have ever camped in.
To keep my water from refreezing I had it in my sleeping back. Half way through the night I lay cold and shivering and wondering why I couldn’t get warm (other than the insane cold). I rolled over and realized my bottle had been leaking. I was wet. Perfect! I kept the fire going in the little stove and piled the old sleeping bags on top of me.
The view from the cabin is not bad. The door opens South Westerly, showing Kaysville down to Salt Lake City.
Head down the way you came. The trail does continue to the top of the mountain, but is heavily overgrown. It connects to the Great Western Trail that traverses along the spine of the Wasatch Mountains.
This cabin is pretty ratty, and not worth the effort to get to unless you are just looking for a new destination to sweat to. I loved going here as a teenager. Now that I am older, I am perfectly happy leaving it to the teenagers.