Mt. Wire- A downtown morning hike-and-fly
Mt. Wire is a popular hiking spot near downtown Salt Lake. The hiking trails are well established, launch is fairly clear and easy, and there is a large assortment of landing options. It is another great first hike-and-fly. While the vertical gain is very similar to Cherry, the terrain is flatter. It is not recommended for wings that do not glide particularly well.
The Hike: There are two main ways people ascend Mt. Wire. The first is up through George’s Hollow, which is longer but flatter. The second is up the SW Ridge, which is shorter but steeper. Both are well established trails. George’s Hollow is often crowded until the major left turn to The Living Room, but after continuing on higher the crowds ease up.
Park at the Peach Grove trailhead. Follow the Bonneville Shoreline Trail south west until the first major intersection. Following the signs and trail uphill to the east is the George’s Hollow way.
If choosing the Southwest Ridge, continue on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail for a short distance. There is a less established but clear trail that can be followed by taking a definitive right turn off the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. There are no intersections on the Southwest Ridge and it takes somebody directly to the summit of Mt. Wire
If choosing George’s Hollow, enjoy the easy hike up. Where the trail splits, continue northeast. The southwest option is a short out-and-back to a scenic viewpoint called The Living Room, which is worth a detour if time allots. The summit of Mt. Wire is at 7146’ MSL and has a 25 foot tall tower that is climbable for an extra little bit of view.
Launch: Most pilots walk a short ways down from the summit and launch facing south or southwest. It is a gentle sloping launch with some small bushes at the end.
Landing zones: There are two places to land at the bottom of Mt. Wire. One is a very large field. The other is a hiking trail. Landing at the zoo is strictly prohibited.
The large field is owned by This Is The Place Heritage Park. Being respectful of the heritage park is a must. There are often young families out and about in the park, and taking a moment to impress upon them that paragliding or speed flying is a thoughtful and pleasant activity is critical to preserving site access. Landing at This Is The Place will necessitate a longer walk back to the car. Contacting a ride share service is also fine.
Landing on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail requires a high level of pilot skill. This is the double-wide trail that runs north-south along the base of the mountain. It is narrow with small trees encroaching on it from the side. More than one pilot has gotten a wingtip stuck in one of these trees. This trail is also frequented by many runners, hikers, and cyclists. They may have headphones in and may not be looking up. Shouting “look out” may be drowned out by some motivational exercise tunes.
Vertical difference: From launch to landing is approximately 2100 vertical feet from the top of Mt. Wire to either landing zone.
Shuttle services: No shuttle really needed. If wanting a shuttle ride from This Is The Place Heritage park, it is best to exit the park and
Typical weather: Mt. Wire is typically flown with a light south flow in the mornings. Check out the Salt Lake City Soaring Forecast to get the winds aloft forecast for 6000 and 8000 MSL
Airspace Considerations: The area is frequented by helicopter traffic moving to/ from the University of Utah hospital. Be vigilant of this traffic. Call 801-581-2500 to alert them to the presence of paragliders in the area. Call again to confirm when all paraglider pilots have landed.
Property type: Launch is National Forest. Landing on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail is public land. Landing at This Is The Place is landing on private land.
Rainy Day Activities: Salt Lake City is home to a few wonderful museums and cultural experiences. The Natural History Museum of Utah, Alf Engen Ski Museum, Clark Planetarium, and Utah Museum of Fine Art are all worth a visit. Temple Square is the center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and has free tours of the Tabernacle and other buildings. If the forecast is unflyable for a few days, a trip to some of Utah’s national and state parks might be worth the drive.