Dry Canyon/Big Baldy

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 7.4 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
Elevation: 5434 - 8757 feet
Cellphone: 2-5 bars
Time: 5 hrs.
Trailhead: Dry Canyon
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic valley views




View Dry Canyon/Big Baldy in a larger map

The Dry Canyon trail is located in the Uinta National Forest east of Orem, Utah. Big Baldy is one of the more prominent peaks in the area, with a summit elevation of 8,757 feet, on the western flanks of the towering Mt. Timpanogos that has an elevation of 11,750 feet. From the summit of Big Baldy hikers are treated to views of Utah Valley that is laid out before them to the west dominated by the expansive Utah Lake. Rising to an elevation of 11,928 feet, Mount Nebo dominates the view to the south. This post follows the Dry Canyon trail to a ridge line on the east side of Big Baldy where it ascends to its summit.


The trailhead is located off of Dry Canyon Road about 4 miles east of Exit 273 on Interstate 15. Google Maps can easily calculate a route from any location in the area. Basically it amounts to driving east on N 1600 W to Skyline Drive and following it to the Dry Canyon Road.


This hike has over 3,300 feet of elevation gain so it will test a persons legs. The first tenth of a mile begins climbing aggressively but before gaining 100 feet it begins leveling off somewhat.


While the slope of the trail becomes more moderate in places the climbing pretty much continues relentlessly all the way to the summit of Big Baldy.


The Curly Springs trail branches off on the left a little over 6 tenths of a mile from the trailhead.


A good bit of the time the trail is traveling through tall stands of trees and oak brush that block views of the trails ahead. We have one map that labels this section as the Indian Trail.


Besides the route that this post follows up Big Baldy it can also be approached from the southwest by a much steeper trail. The point of departure from the Dry Canyon trial is marked by a small cairn (not shown) and a bit of orange flag seen in this photo. This trail junction is about 1.1 miles from the trailhead and it is very easy to miss.


Around the 2.5 mile mark the Little Baldy trail departs on the right. The Dry Canyon trail is heading in more of a northerly direction at this point. It continues heading up the drainage along the terraced slopes of the mountain covered with a healthy growth of tall grass.


The Dry Canyon trail reaches its high point about 2.8 miles from the trailhead. The Dry Canyon trail continues north for about another two and a half miles. Instead of following the Dry Canyon trail any further this post continues by heading west up the ridge.


After a short distance the rest of the route to the summit becomes apparent.


Big Baldy has a big summit with lots of room to move around on.


In this photo the upper portion of the trail coming up the west ridge can be seen. One option would be to return by this route and loop your way back to the Dry Canyon trail. It looks like it might cut a mile or so off of the round trip distance.


Some sections of the Dry Canyon trail are steep and rocky. A pair of trekking poles might come in handy to keep you on your feet during the descent. When we departed from the trailhead there were at least a dozen vehicles in the parking lot but 5 hours later when we returned it was deserted. There are several primitive campsites along the trail. That opens up the possibility of an enjoyable backpacking experience for anyone wanting to spend more time in the area. For those looking for a good workout the Dry Canyon trail won't disappoint. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.