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THE GREAT OUTDOORS — When Lewis Warren Shurtliff and his friends climbed to the top of a prominent mountaintop overlooking the North Ogden area on June 6, 1852, they likely had no idea the mountaintop would one day bear Shurtliff's first name.
When the group reached the summit, they made a pile of rocks and propped up a tree branch to mark the spot. Shurtliff and his friends often climbed and hiked the area, keeping settlers informed of the activities of native Indian in the area, according to the Standard-Examiner.
Lewis Peak is south of the more popular Ben Lomond Peak and shares the same trailhead at the top of the North Ogden Divide.
Because Lewis Peak is on an exposed west-facing slope, it clears of snow earlier than some of the higher peaks in the area. This provides an opportunity for those with cabin fever to get an earlier start on the hiking season. Lewis Peak Trail may still have snow on the north facing slopes and backside of the eastern ridge even though the peak itself is clear of snow, so plan accordingly.
How to get to the trailhead
To get to the trailhead via I-15, take Exit 349 (2700 North) and turn east. Follow 2700 North toward the mountains heading east. Eventually, 2700 north turns into 2600 North.
Continue east past Highway 89 until you come to the intersection of 400 East in North Ogden City. Turn left, traveling north until you come to 3100 North. At this intersection, turn right and head east. Continue following 3100 North as it starts to weave through a residential subdivision. The road eventually starts to climb up North Ogden Divide Road.
Follow this winding road as it gains in elevation until you come to the trailhead parking lot on the right side of the road. The trailhead has paved parking and a restroom.
Lewis Peak Trail
Lewis Peak trail begins on the south side of the parking lot. The first part of the trail is a moderate climb through pines and scrub oak for about 2.5 miles. This part of the trail is quite rough and rocky. Be aware that because the beginning of the trail is on a north-facing slope with shaded areas from the trees, it can still have patches of snow if you go too early in the spring.
Eventually, the trail leads to an open ridge heading south. From this open ridge, you can look out toward the Ogden Valley toward the towns of Eden and Liberty. The rest of the hike follows along this open ridge with limited trees.
If you go on a sunny day, be sure to use sunscreen as there are very few spots to get out of the sun. The trail eventually levels out a little and provides opportunities to rest your legs. Then the trail eventually comes to a large hill. Here you have the choice to do some strenuous climbing up and over the hill or to take the easier route to the left around the side of the hill.
After hiking around the large hill or over it, if you really want to increase your heart rate, the trail follows the ridge down to a group of trees. From this vantage point, you can now see out over North Ogden City to the west. Just past the trees, the trail turns east for a short hundred-or-so-yards climb up to the Lewis Peak sign. From here you can see out over the valley and take in the sights.
With this panoramic view, you will see Ben Lomond Peak to the north, Willard Bay to the northwest, the promontory mountains and Fremont Island to the west, the Great Salt Lake to the southwest and Mount Ogden to the south. On clear days it is possible to look west and see mountain ranges in Nevada.
The hike is approximately 10.2 miles round trip. As with most trails during the early season, the Lewis Peak Trail can be wet and muddy in spots, so plan for these conditions.
One mistake often made on early-season hikes is wearing new hiking boots or shoes. Wear your new shoes around the neighborhood on short walks or on short hikes to break them in before venturing out on longer, more intense hikes. If you are on a trail and you start to feel a warm or hot spot on your feet or toes, it is a sign that a blister is forming. Study first aid and know how to prevent and treat blisters before you go.
Those venturing out for early-season hiking should also prepare for any weather condition. Storms can quickly form over the mountains during the day with rain, thunder and lighting often possible. A well-prepared hiker in the spring should carry a poncho or other rain gear, as well as a jacket, because temperatures can change quickly. Also plan to carry the right amount of water. Even with pleasant hiking conditions where you might not feel thirsty, it's important to stay hydrated. Take your favorite trail snacks and eat often to keep your energy level up.
Always leave a note for those at home telling them where you are going, what routes you are taking to and from the trailhead, what trail you are hiking and when you plan to return. The more details you leave, the better.
Other trail uses
Lewis Peak Trail is also used by equestrians, mountain bikers and motorized bikers. Follow the proper trail etiquette to avoid any problems.
What are some of your favorite early-season trails? Let us know in the comments.
Robert Williamson is a graduate of Weber State College and the author of "Creative Flies: Innovative Tying Techniques."