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Big Willow Canyon is the nice wide glacially carved canyon that cuts the west face of Lone Peak. It ends at the obvious cliffs of Big Willow Cirque. The climbs are predominantly on granite. There are numerous cliff bands throughout the canyon, a lot of them unexplored. If you want an area to explore and free up, this is the canyon. Water may be intermittent in the upper reaches. Plan ahead.
The approaches are different depending on where you are going. They all start at the parking area of the park just south of the LDS church at about 11600 S Wasatch Blvd. Park here and take the paved trail towards the mountain. One will pass a sign for the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Take this dirt road/trail to the north, as it climbs towards a gate. Pass by this gate, and continue up the hill. Here is where the trails diverge. For Big Willow Quartzite, and Twilight Buttress continue on this wider trail up and into Big Willow Canyon. For Jon's Hideout, The Guardian, Big Willow Cirque, and numerous unexplored granite buttresses you will take a narrow hidden foot trail about 30 feet beyond some blue spray-painted rocks. It is on the right well before any stream crossings. If you pass a stream on the main Big Willow Canyon trail, you have gone too far. Take this steep trail up and over. This trail climbs the hill separating Big Willow Canyon from Little Willow Canyon (the canyon south of Big Willow). It will pass by a nice viewpoint of Big Willow before it makes it's lazy traverse over to Little Willow Canyon. The trail will then enter and climb Little Willow just below the ridgeline, passing by some small undocumented granite problems. A fork in the trail will be your next landmark. The fork has an Avalanche Warning sign. Going straight will get you to a resting spot next to Little Willow Creek. Turning left and up is the correct way. This will give you your last leg-burning segment into Big Willow Canyon for good. You will cross over into Big Willow and enjoy the shade and relative cool of the large pines on the north face. The trail will come down into the south edge of the canyon. It will cross 2 small streams (unknown if they are intermittent). As you make your way around this end of the canyon, The Guardian initially will come into view and Jon's Hideout will also. There is a trail that bushwhacks to these formations. As of this writing, the trail was a deer trail at best, and non-existent would be more accurate. Big willow Cirque continues up the trail. The cliffs on the south of the canyon have not been documented and could use exploring.
16 Total Routes
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Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Big Willow Canyon:
Featured Route For Big Willow Canyon
Basque Cirque Route 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c UT : Wasatch Range : ... : Big Willow Cirque
This route climbs the obvious “tower” north of the main Giggles formation. It's about 50-60 meters down and north of the start of Giggles. Despite the Ruckman's stating “this description may not be entirely accurate” they got it pretty spot on (presumably). Their statement drew us right in... although this was the hardest 5.6 we'd ever climbed. Their 1991 Wasatch Climbing North has a good picture of the route. The route starts just up and right from the low point of the tower's formation in...[more] Browse More Classics in UT
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