Altitude is not the word used to describe this hike in the mountains east of Ogden. Retreat is. Malan's Peak and Basin — the site of a summer hotel in the 19th century — is a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of Weber County.
Today, few traces of the hotel remain, but the hike affords great views of western Weber County at the 6,900-foot level. In the basin there's a shady picnic area next to the Waterfall Canyon River.
Trail rating: ***
Scenic rating: ****
Distance: About 2.5 miles, one-way, to Malan's Peak from the top of 27th Street. It's another half mile to the basin.
Elevation gain: 2,200 feet to Malan's Peak. There's a loss to 200 feet into the basin.
Directions to trailhead: The Ogden section of the Bonneville Shoreline trail crosses the mouth of Taylor's Canyon, the most direct way to Malan's Peak/Basin. That trail can be accessed from other points north and south. However, the best starting point is the east end of 27th Street. Park along the roadside and walk to the multiple paths that lead into the canyon.
Trail description: Gravel in the early going, then rocky inside Taylor's Canyon. Some ruts on the upper part of the trail. There's lots of shade while you're in the canyon but little shade between Malan's Peak and Malan's Basin. A few switchbacks on the trail are very steep.
Cautions: Some may want to hike Waterfall Canyon (next canyon to the south), but this is very steep and not advised.
Since there are a lot of trails in the foothills area around Taylor Canyon, find the sign along the Bonneville Trail that points to Taylor Canyon to be sure you're headed in the right direction. A mile into the canyon, the trail starts to switch back up the hillside to the south. It can be tricky to find that turnoff; if you keep heading up Taylor Canyon the path will eventually disappear.
Highlights: The cool shade of the switchbacks are refreshing and serene. There's an old cabin hidden between two of the switchbacks. (The trail here used to be a narrow wagon path in the 1890s.)
The panoramic view on Malan's Peak is excellent, though usually a wind-swept one.
Going the extra distance to Malan's Basin — a good camping spot — is worth the effort.
Tidbits: Malan's Peak/Basin is named for the Ogden pioneer family who built the wagon road to the basin and also operated the hotel there. The hotel was abandoned in the early 1900s and burned by vandals in 1913. Today, only a steam boiler (hidden in bushes) remains.
A recent land trade by the U.S. Forest Service involving Taylor Canyon should ensure this trail and area remain open to the public.
Camping/water: Year-round stream water is available in Malan's Basin but should be purified. Camping is allowed, but there are fire restrictions due to the dry conditions.
For more information: Contact the Ogden Ranger District, 801-625-5112.