Ogden's Hidden Valley Trail: A strenuous but rewarding hike

The Ogden Valley is seen from the Hidden Valley Trail.

The Ogden Valley is seen from the Hidden Valley Trail. (Robert Williamson)

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OGDEN — The exercise and physical benefits of hiking are often heralded by those who take to the trail. However, the benefits of hiking go beyond its physical aspects. Hiking can be both mentally and emotionally rewarding, too. Hiking provides opportunities to see, hear and feel.

The Hidden Valley Trail provides hikers with great views of Ogden and the surrounding valley. The lookout over Hidden Valley gives hikers a different view of Allen Peak and Mount Ogden than can be seen from the Ogden area valley floor. It is a view well worth the hike to get there.

Hidden Valley Trail is a 4.9-mile, out-and-back trail that branches off of Indian Trail and is accessed from the 22nd Street trailhead in Ogden. There is no sign or marker designating where Hidden Valley Trail branches off, but just over a ½ mile up Indian Trail and off to the right, a natural set of rock steps is where you'll find the trailhead.

A rock cairn marks a spot along the Hidden Valley Trail in Ogden.
A rock cairn marks a spot along the Hidden Valley Trail in Ogden. (Photo: Robert Williamson)

It starts heading south, off Indian Trail, along the foothills and through sage brush and stubby maple trees. Within the first mile, hikers encounter a couple of switchbacks and areas where the trail gets quite steep. The elevation gain of this trail is 2,001 feet in approximately 2.5 miles to the Hidden Valley overlook.

Hidden Valley Trail is considered moderate for those in good to great hiking shape and yet, challenging and strenuous for anyone just getting into shape.

There are two places along the trail with great views to the west, both are rock outcroppings. A little over a ½ mile in is the first outcropping. It is a good place to take a short break before moving on to the next outcropping, which is approximately another ½ mile. Hikers can take in the views, catch their breath, snack and hydrate from these overlooks.

From the second overlook, the trail starts in a southeast direction, eventually heading east and then turning southeast, again. Up to this point, most of the trail has been through the open foothills. In the east-southeast, the trail eventually enters a forested area with more shade available. This section — approximately 1.5 miles to the Hidden Valley overlook — is still uphill but does not have the steep incline of the first mile of the trail. This is a good respite for the heart and lungs.

As the trail levels out slightly, hikers will get their first glimpse of Allen Peak and Mount Ogden through openings in the trees. The end of the trail is marked with a large rock cairn.

From here, hikers can look out over Hidden Valley and up to awesome views of the two peaks. In the spring and early summer, the peaks are beautifully dressed with remaining winter snow. In late summer and fall, the peaks are barren and hikers can see the rugged, exposed rock. Early morning and evening hikers may see mule deer in the trees; and on side hills, mountain goats often navigate the precarious rocky ledges in the area.

After taking in the views, hikers return to the 22nd Street trailhead.

The way down is easier on the lungs — and heart — but hikers need to be careful coming down the steeper areas of the trail, which tend to be harder on the knees.

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Robert Williamson is a graduate of Weber State College and the author of "Creative Flies: Innovative Tying Techniques."


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