Also known as "Bear Canyon", the sign at the trailhead reads "Cherry Canyon Logging Trail". This route to the summit of Lone Peak is an easy to follow alternative to the more popular Draper Ridge and Jacobs Ladder trails. Although the route involves more elevation gain than these two more popular routes, it offers several advantages. Frequent switchbacks eliminate most of the brutally steep sections which are found on the other two trails. A much larger portion of the trail passes through coniferous forest, and the presence of a perennial spring provides a year-round water source. The lower reaches of the trail pass through dry hillsides and mixed oak woodlands before gains in elevation pass through aspen and mid elevation conifer. If you were to hike all the way to Lone Peak you would eventually end up above tree line on rocky crags above 11,000'. From 4,850' at the trailhead, the trail runs for about 6 miles and goes up 6,400' in elevation to 11,253' at the very top. This is an average of 1,070' per mile of elevation gain making this a very difficult hike.
This post is long due to the directions. Very few birders have submitted checklists so I won't spend too much time saying what you'll see here. Do this hike for the hike--not the birds--the birds will come as you pass through various habitat belts and be similar to what you would see starting at the mouth of either Cottonwood Canyon and driving to the very top--only it's all on foot. I think it's safe to say that you could easily have a 30-50 species day here anytime between mid May and September if you did the entire hike. If you just did lower portions, you would only see the birds typical of the oak belt; and so on up through the habitats. If you do this hike, please submit a checklist for it, and share comments in the section below. As more lists become available the birding information will be updated here.
From the intersection of 12300 south and 1300 east in Draper, head south on 1300 east for .2 miles. At the traffic circle take the 3rd exit onto Pioneer Road. Follow this east for 1.1 miles. Turn right on 2000 east and go .2 miles. The road becomes Highland Drive and after about 125 yards there will be a left turn into the Orson Smith Trailhead.
And the actual hike directions taken from summitpost.org: hike up the small dirt road, passing two large concrete vaults on the left 250 yards up the road. Approximately 100 yards beyond these vaults look for a trail heading steeply up the slopes on the right (east) side of the road. Follow this trail for 0.2 mile until it intersects the north-south Shoreline Trail at a signed 4-way junction at 5,200'.
Continue east at this junction on the trail identified as "Cherry Canyon Logging Trail". From the signed junction the trail meanders a bit and makes numerous small switchbacks as it slowly climbs through scrub and sagebrush up the lower west facing flanks of Lone Peak.
At 7,200' the trail crosses onto the Cherry Canyon (to the south) side of the ridge for a pleasant .25 mile stretch of fairly level hiking before beginning to climb again. The trail then makes a few more switchbacks but continues climbing in a generally eastward direction.
At 8,485' a spur trail, marked with a cairn, joins from the south (this spur trail traverses south .25 mile to the Draper Ridge Trail). After passing this junction the trail descends slightly and enters a forested stretch as it continues east for .3 mile, where it reaches the perennial spring at 8,440'. The spring is located in the Bear Canyon drainage.
From the spring the trail continues climbing through pines, steeply at times, turning northward for a brief period before turning back eastward as it enters the South Fork of Little Willow canyon. The trail winds through a number of large granite outcrops before arriving in an open meadow. In the trees on the right (south) side of the meadow is the Outlaw Cabin at 9,275 ft.', a small log cabin complete with a wood stove.
From the Outlaw Cabin it is possible to traverse south .25 mile and intersect the standard Draper Ridge/Jacobs Ladder trail. However, it is shorter and just as easy to continue east up the South Fork Little Willow drainage.
There is no trail beyond the Outlaw Cabin but it is a simple matter to follow the drainage east, staying on the left (north) side of the drainage as it begins rising more steeply. Near the top the drainage narrows, rimmed on the east and south by granite cliffs and spires.
Begin veering left and route find your way through the rocks. Soon after you will find yourself on the west wall of the cirque, and the summit of Lone Peak will pop into view for the first time. This is a good spot to note a few landmarks for navigation on the return, since it would be easy to incorrectly begin descending into the drainage immediately to the north, which is the North Fork of Little Willow.
From the west rim of the cirque climb over a short rise, then descend a bit as you route find your way north-east through rocks and low alpine trees. Occasional cairns may be spotted to help guide the way. Regain the ridge which slowly curves east, becoming the summit ridge of Lone Peak. This is another good spot to note a few landmarks for the return hike down.
Follow the summit ridge staying initially on the left (north), then crossing over to the south side of the ridge. The final few hundred feet to the summit involves class 3 scrambling with exposure.