Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

March 18, 2021
Don’t forget the foothills

I grew up on lake front property. The only thing missing was the lake. 

The Swan house on Upland Drive was situated on the former shorelines of Lake Bonneville. Though the lake had receded to the salty lake it is now, the terraces of wave action created some distinct topographies that are interesting to observe. 

Above the Bonneville level, erosional surfaces are millions of years in the making whereas the surfaces below are but 12,000 years. The discrepancy in geologic terms is significant and some areas just above the Bonneville level are wonderful areas to hike. 

As the water from snowpack runs off the mountains, they soak into valley sediment and trees such as oaks, maples, juniper and mahoganies capture the moisture and create wonderful habitat enjoyed by many species of wildlife. 

The foothills just below the higher mountain peaks often have south facing areas that are ideal areas for winter hiking. Just east of Lincoln (Pine Canyon) are some wonderful areas for a winter and spring day hike with canyons such as Swenson’s, Pass, Murray and Flood providing some wonderful views and some interesting topography. 

Unfortunately, power lines infest the area but if you can overlook these eyesores, there is much to explore. 

A popular area I like to explore during the winter and spring is the foothills above the Settlement Canyon Dam. 

Large numbers of deer as well as periodic elk sightings keep it interesting and the views of the valley as well as the Stansbury Mountains across the valley provide some beautiful views. The usual power line eyesores are there unfortunately, but even so, there is much to see and the climb is just difficult enough to give you a good workout and keep you primed for the season when tackling the high peaks will be the goal. 

Because these hills face south, they clear of snow early and provide some much needed hiking terrain during the winter months and they also provide important habitat for wildlife, so as always it is important to respect the animals that rely upon these areas and make sure we aren’t harassing or chasing them. 

One of the nice things about many of these areas is that they are close to Tooele and are easy to access. 

We are very fortunate to live in an area where such adventures are so easily within reach. 

I rarely see other humans on my visits to these areas and if you are looking for some solitude, it can be achieved while still within view of civilization.

David Swan lives on the southeast side of Tooele City with a view of the Oquirrh Mountains.

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