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SALT LAKE CITY — The Bonneville Shoreline Trail is a massive project that will someday go from the Idaho border all the way to Santaquin. Last summer trail builders got one step closer to completion when they finished and opened the long awaited, 2.6 mile, Thousand Oaks section of the BST.
The Thousand Oaks route links the Z Trail, in the Olympus Cove neighborhood, to the Mount Olympus trailhead. You can hike the trail from either end – both trailheads begin as steep climbs — but the Z trailhead is far less crowded (it also has far less parking.)
I’ve been hiking and trail-running on the new Thousand Oaks section several times and it’s very well built. Volunteer crews have done an excellent job of cutting this pristine single track into the side of the mountain. Hiking the Thousand Oaks section is rated as easy as soon as you finish the short-but-steep ascent to more level ground.
To get there from Salt Lake City, take the 4500 South exit from I-215 and go south on Wasatch Blvd to around 5400 South where you can see a large rock outcropping on the left side of the road, locally known as "Pete's Rock." Turn here and park at the Mount Olympus trailhead parking lot.
To begin the hike, head straight up the wooden stairs as if you’re going to climb the popular mountain. After passing above the top of Pete’s Rock, you’ll come to a fork .4 miles from the start. You'll find the Mount Olympus Trail on your right. Instead go left (north) on the brand new Bonneville Shoreline Trail, which is clearly marked with a sign. From here, the trail levels out for a bit as it winds around large boulders through a small grove of gambel oak trees.
Soon after getting on the BST, you’ll hit a set of switchbacks that go right up the mountain into another grove of brush and trees. At the top, there is another fork. Stay left as going right will re-connect you with the Mount Olympus Trail. At this point, the trail flattens considerably as it traverses across the mountainside high above the city. Valley views are huge from this vantage as you make your way north. Like the Bonneville Shoreline Trails of old, the path winds in and out of drainages that provide bits of shade before curving back out to exposed views.
One mile into the hike, you’ll pass above an old mine. Take note of the tailings that spill down toward I-215. In 1.3 miles you find yourself above large homes in the Mount Olympus neighborhood. At this point there is tons of private property around the trail, with many signs reinforcing that fact so it’s important to stay on the path.
The new trail ends after going 2.3 miles where it connects to the Z Trail. Ignore a faint path on the right that goes into thick oak trees and instead go left (west) and descend the trail as it follows an old pipeline to the bottom at a cul-de-sac on Thousand Oaks Drive.
Hikers can leave a shuttle vehicle here ahead of time, or turn around and hike back to the Mount Olympus trailhead for a nearly 5-mile hike. You can also do this hike in reverse by starting at the Thousand Oaks Drive trailhead.
Overall the Thousand Oaks Bonneville Shoreline segment is a welcome addition. It’s a very mild hike aside from the steep trailheads, and there are no difficulties on the new trail itself. The elevation and west-facing exposure makes it ideal for spring, autumn, and maybe even winter hikes.