Location: American Fork Canyon, Box Elder
Start: Granite Flat CG (6,800 ft.)
Max Elevation: 11,101 ft
End: Granite Flat CG
Difficulty: class 1-3
Distance: 8 miles
Box Elder sits in between two major mountain clusters which are Mt. Timpanogos to the south and the Alpine Ridge to the north. Its summit is one of 25 peaks over 11,000 ft in the Wasatch mountains. The peak can be reached by many routes, I of course chose the shortest yet most challenging route from Granite Flat Campgrounds accessed via American Fork Canyon.
Because this is my last semester of college, my load is light and my research job only allows me to work 10 hours a week. But don't get me wrong, I am not complaining! I chose to get away after class on Friday and solo climb Box Elder via the Box Elder 044 trail.
I started hiking around 11 am with my GPS and plenty of water. The trail rises in elevation quickly through aspen groves, pine forests and small meadows. Eventually the trail reaches a fork and a wooden sign, I continued to follow the Box Elder 044 trail up. After about 2.5 miles and 1 hour, I reached the wide hollow and drainage which leads up to the saddle to the south of Box Elder. From here, I had my first good view of the peak. This is where the route leaves the trail and makes its way to the saddle. The face up to the saddle is not easily navigable due to lack of solid rocks and/or snow. The face was wiped clean and every other step resulted in sliding back down. Eventually I reached the saddle and made my way up the ridge to the summit where I met some other hikers who came up from other routes. The views to the north of the Lone Peak, Thunder Mountain, White Baldy, Red Baldy, Red Top and AF Twin peaks are excellent. The view to the south is, in my opinion. the best of Mt Timpanogos.
The hike down was much easier than the scramble up the steep face. Once back on the trail I made it quickly down to the trailhead. The trip took about 5 hours including lunch break and breathers. This was my first solo trip and it was very enjoyable.