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Salt Lake County Parks

Mill Creek Canyon

Check Out the Latest News 

October 1 -- The Mill Creek Canyon Big Water Yurt 2014 - 2015 season begins its annual draw later this month.

September 21 -- Closure of the upper section of the Mill Creek Canyon road due to culvert work has begun. 

Mill Creek Canyon 

East on 3800 South (Mill Creek Canyon Road) from 3500 East (Wasatch Blvd.), Wasatch National Forest

Mill Creek Canyon is managed by the U.S. Forest Service.  If you have questions about the canyon not specific to its reservable group sites or any other information not found on this web page, contact the
   Public Lands Information Center
   (located in the REI store)
   3285 East 3300 South
   Salt Lake City, UT  84109
   Telephone: 801-466-6411.
Hours are Monday through Friday from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm   and Saturday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Salt Lake County has an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service and the County's Parks Office manages reservations at the canyon's 10 picnic group sites and mountain yurt.

The picnic areas, which are reservable from June through September, are located in three areas of the canyon: Church Fork, Box Elder and Terraces. There is no lighting or electricity available. Drinking water is available only at the Terraces Picnic Area.

Church Fork Area --

Located 2.3 miles past the fee station on the left side. Has 2 group sites that may be reserved and several first come, first serve picnic tables. There is no drinking water available. Elevation starts at about 5,200 feet.

Group Site, John Neff
  • Capacity --Seats 50, 3 16-foot uncovered picnic tables on concrete surface. One 8 foot preparation table.
  • Rental Fee -- $60.00, includes 6 vehicle passes.
  • Amenities -- Barbeque grill and fire ring.
  • Hiking -- Access to the Pipeline, Grandeur Peak and Desolation hiking trails.
  • Creek -- Near main creek.
  • Restroom -- Nearby, vault toilet.
Group Site, Fred Foyer
  • Capacity --Seats 50, 2 16-foot uncovered picnic tables on concrete surface.
  • Rental Fee -- $60.00, includes 6 vehicle passes.
  • Amenities -- Barbeque grate and fire ring.
  • Hiking -- Access the Pipeline, Grandeur Peak and Desolation hiking trails.
  • Creek -- Near side creek and small waterfall.
  • Restroom -- Vault toilet.

South Box Elder Picnic Area --

Located 2.6 miles past the fee station on the right side of the road. Has one group site that may be reserved and several picnic tables available on a first come, first serve basis. Next to the main canyon road. No drinking water is available.

Group Site, Edmund Elsworth
  • Capacity --Seats 25, 3 uncovered 8-foot wood picnic tables and 2 serving tables.
  • Rental Fee -- $35.00, includes 5 vehicle passes.
  • Amenities -- Large barbeque grill and fire ring.
  • Hiking -- Near the Desolation hiking, biking and horseback riding trailhead and the Thayne Canyon hiking and horseback riding trailhead.
  • Creek -- Across from the main canyon road.
  • Restroom -- Restroom nearby. Vault toilet.

Upper Box Elder Picnic Area --

Located 1/2 mile up on the left from South Box Elder Picnic Area. Has three group sites available for reservation or first come, first serve basis. Elevation is 5,500 feet. No drinking water is available.

Group Site, Alva Alexander
  • Capacity --Seats 25, 3 uncovered 8-foot picnic tables and 1 serving table on concrete surface.
  • Rental Fee -- $35.00, includes 5 vehicle passes.
  • Amenities -- Barbeque grill and fire ring.
  • Hiking -- Next to Pipeline hiking, biking and horseback riding trail.
  • Creek -- Next to the canyon creek.
  • Restroom -- Nearby. Vault toilets.
Group Site, Amy Smith
  • Capacity --Seats 25, 3 uncovered 8-foot picnic tables and 1 serving table on concrete surface.
  • Rental Fee -- $35.00, includes 5 vehicle passes.
  • Amenities -- Barbeque grill and fire ring.
  • Hiking -- Next to Pipeline hiking, biking and horseback riding trail.
  • Creek -- Next to the canyon creek.
  • Restroom -- Nearby. Vault toilet.
Group Site, Sara Skidmore
  • Capacity --Seats 25, 3 uncovered 8-foot picnic tables and 1 serving table on concrete surface.
  • Rental Fee -- $35.00, includes 5 vehicle passes.
  • Amenities -- Barbeque grill and fire ring.
  • Hiking -- Next to Pipeline hiking, biking and horseback riding trail.
  • Creek -- Next to the canyon creek.
  • Restroom -- Nearby. Vault toilet.

Terraces Picnic Area --

Located 3.8 miles past the fee station on the right side of the road. Has four group sites that may be reserved. Spring water is available for drinking. Elevation is about 6000 feet.

Group Site, Archibald Gardner
  • Capacity --Seats 50, uncovered picnic tables on concrete surface.
  • Rental Fee -- $60.00, includes 11 vehicle passes.
  • Amenities -- Barbeque grill and fire ring.
  • Hiking -- Near the Terraces/Elbow Fork, Bowman Fork and Porter Fork hiking and horseback riding trails.
  • Creek -- None nearby.
  • Restroom -- Nearby. Vault toilet.
Group Site, Chauncey Porter
  • Capacity --Seats 50, uncovered picnic tables on concrete surface.
  • Rental Fee -- $60.00, includes 6 vehicle passes.
  • Amenities -- Barbeque grill and fire ring.
  • Hiking -- Near the Terraces/Elbow Fork, Bowman Fork and Porter Fork hiking and horseback riding trails.
  • Creek -- None nearby.
  • Restroom -- Nearby. Vault toilets.
Group Site, Charles Stillman
  • Capacity --Seats 50, uncovered picnic tables on concrete surface.
  • Rental Fee -- $60.00, includes 12 vehicle passes.
  • Amenities -- Barbeque grill and fire ring.
  • Hiking -- Near the Terraces/Elbow Fork, Bowman Fork and Porter Fork hiking and horseback riding trails.
  • Creek -- None nearby.
  • Restroom -- Nearby. Vault toilets.
Group Site, Bowman Fork
  • Capacity --Seats 100, uncovered picnic tables.
  • Rental Fee -- $100.00, includes 24 vehicle passes.
  • Amenities -- Barbeque grills and two fire rings.
  • Hiking -- Near the Terraces/Elbow Fork, Bowman Fork and Porter Fork hiking and horseback riding trails.
  • Creek -- None nearby.
  • Restroom -- Nearby. Vault toilet.

Yurt --

Located at the Upper Big Water trailhead 4.5 miles past the winter gate at Maple Grove. Access by snowshoe or ski only on the Mill Creek ski trail. Operating season is December 1 through April 30. Elevation is 7,520 feet.  You may view and download a flyer published by the U.S. Forest Service.

Yurt
  • Capacity --Maximum 8 people, 2 - 4 foot by 7 foot bunks (2 double-bunk beds.)
  • Rental Fee -- $75.00, includes 4 vehicle passes.
  • Amenities -- wood burning stove, table and benches.
  • Hiking -- Check with the Utah Avalanche Forecast Center before heading into the backcountry.
  • Creek -- Close to yurt.
  • Restroom -- Next to yurt. Vault toilet.

General Canyon Information and Rules

You may view and download the brochure published by the U.S. Forest Service which includes a map and trail information. Follows are common rules for some canyon activities.

Bicycles
  • Even-numbered days -- Are allowed on Big Water, Little Water and Great Western trails.
  • Odd-numbered days -- Are not allowed on the upper Mill Creek Big Water, Little Water and Great Western trails.
  • Bikes are always allowed on the Pipeline trail (regardless of day.)
  • Bikes are never allowed in the Mt. Olympus Wilderness Area.
Dogs
  • Even-numbered days -- MUST be leashed at all times in all areas of the canyon.
  • Odd-numbered days -- Are allowed off-leash only on trails.
  • Dogs (and horses) must remain outside of Watershed Area.
  • Please properly dispose of dog waste.
Picnic Areas
  • Group sites may be reserved by contacting the Salt Lake County Park Operations Office.
  • Fires are allowed in fire rings and grill stands unless fire restrictions are applicable.
  • There are several picnic tables throughout the canyon that are available on a first come, first serve basis.
  • All picnic areas are available during the summer months. They are open at 8 am and close at 10 pm.
  • Visitors must carry out everything they bring in. "Pack it in Pack it out."
Camping
  • Only backcountry camping is allowed in Mill Creek Canyon.
  • Camping must be at least 1/2 mile off the road and 200 feet from developed areas and water.
  • Check for any fire restrictions.
Other
  • The winter gate, located just past the Maple Grove parking area, closes on November 1 and opens on July 1.
  • Contact the Salt Lake County Sheriff Department at 801-743-7000 in order to report crime or to have tresspassers removed from reserved picnic areas.