The Granite Flume Trail is quick and easy hike near the entrance of Big Cottonwood Canyon. It is beautiful anytime, but especially stunning in the fall.
The Granite Flume Trail follows the historic water flume path that Brough water from Stairs Gulch down to the Utah Power Plant at the base of the canyon. I found some photos and information from Mining Utah.
The flume was built in 1896 and remained for 100 years until they removed most of it. There are still some footings and other remnants along the trail.
The trail begins in a pullout across from the Ledgemere Picnic Area. The Ledgemere Cave is worth a few minutes stop if you have time.
From the east (uphill) side of the parking lot, you will see a trail that heads up near some boulders and then passes west along the parking area at a higher level.
After a few minutes the trail drifts to the right and you gain a little elevation, but it’s still easy enough for young kids.
It’s amazing how a few weeks can change everything! These fall photos were taken only 2 1/2 weeks after the summer ones above.
There are a few places where there are side trails, but it’t fairly easy to tell the main trail. At one point you will see a barrier. To continue on the main Granite Flume Trail, head left. (At the end I will tell you about the trail headed right).
Looking ahead you can see down the canyon into the valley below.
The trail continues hugging the canyon wall. You will see it on the way back, but it’s worth turning around to the canyon view behind you!
Again, a few weeks meant a whole wardrobe change!
I love noticing the rocks and plants along the way. There are so many colors of rocks along this trail!
The trail ahead keeps making its way around the mountain. Looking behind you can see the little blocks left along the trail as the remnants of the flume footings.
I saw a few butterflies and other flying insects.
I hiked this back on September 23 and with this year’s later fall there was mostly green, but there were definitely some autumn colors beginning.
By October 11, everything had turned vibrant fall colors!
If you look closely at the first photo below you will see two barriers. The trail is not flat between, so most people end the trail here.
This first photo is looking back up the canyon. The second is looking at the canyon just beyond the barrier.
You can continue a bit after if you want to make the scramble, but shortly after the trail ends and there is a dangerous cliff. Please don’t continue beyond that point.
Granite Flume Alternate Trail
Remember that barrier when you stopped gaining elevation? You will pass by it on your return so I will show you what is on the other side in case you want to extend your hike.
I recommend doing a couple minutes onto this trail, but after that it’s less impressive. The first part is really pretty.
Next to the flowers there were lots of bees, but they didn’t bother me.
Right here there is a nice viewpoint down the canyon to the valley below.
Right around the corner you can look down and see the road and river. Across the canyon you can see the pines. If you want to keep the hike short, here is a great place to turn around and head home.
This last part was kind of boring and there were quite a few grasshoppers.
I loved the textures and colors of the rock here too though.
The path then just heads down a hill to the road. The second picture is at the bottom looking back up the hill.
From the base, cross the street to the Birches Picnic Area. The shoulder is wider on that side. Follow it around the bend until you see where you parked. You can return to the car or make a few minute detour to see the Ledgemere Cave.
While I was walking I appreciated the stream.
Stats: Distance – 1.2 miles (adding on alternate makes it about 2.1 miles)
Approximate hiking time – 60-90 minutes
Elevation gain – 144 feet
Difficulty – Easy
Trail – well maintained trail of dirt and rocks
Bathrooms – At Ledgemere Picnic Area across from trailhead
Seasons to hike – Year round (in winter use micro-spikes)
Permits needed – None
Pets allowed – Yes
Other trails nearby are Hidden Falls, Mill B South, Lower Mill B North Fork Trail,