Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry
This ascent description starts at Bear Flats. Bear Flats is easily accessed with a two-hour hike starting at the trailhead of the "Hike the Y Trail". You'll hike up the famous switchbacks to the Y, and at the top of the Y, start on the USFS trail headed towards Slide Canyon. That trail will work its way across the mountain and then up the canyon through a couple switchbacks, until you'll pop out in Bear Flats.
Bear Flats is hard to miss; it's the big meadow in the middle of the canyon, and the trail runs right through it. By my own experience, the snow up there is never deep enough to justify transitioning below Bear Flats. My recommendation is to stick your skis/snowboard in your pack, and wear hiking boots up the trail until you reach the Flats, and then transition to touring mode, leaving your hiking boots here for your return.
From Bear Flats, skin up the trail as it works its way up Slide Canyon. Enjoy the views here; the slope is mild and the scenery is pretty. You'll follow a nice trail through a thin aspen forest. This section between Bear Flats and Apache Flats would be a pleasant low-angle run for timid or newbie skiers.
As you approach Apache flats near the top of Slide Canyon, appreciate the views of the imposing Lions Head Mountain ahead of you to the east as it blocks the views of Provo Peak above. I think Lions Head would be great skiing; you'll have to decide for yourself when you see it.
You'll find yourself in Apache Flats, the second meadow you'll travel through. Somewhat smaller than Bear Flats, Apache Flats feels like you are in the palm of Old Man Winter himself as you observe yourself surrounded by white, snowy mountains. You'll see Lions Head to the east, Lions Tail to the northeast, Y Mountain to the northwest, and Maple Mountain everywhere west to south.
From Apache Flats, search out a road carved into the side of Maple Mountain headed east. This road was a preliminary work for a Heritage Mountain/Seven Peaks Ski Resort up here. It was never to be. You'll enjoy the snow instead!
Follow the road as it leads around the mountain with a gentle slope. You'll see beautiful pine forests on all sides as you make your way around the mountain. At its northernmost point, when the road is about to curve back towards the south, leave the road and head straight uphill. It is steep; kick-stomp and switchback up until you can follow the ridge. Make your up the ridge until you hit the summit!
Shared By: Josh Martineau