Exit I-15 at Park Lane in Farmington and drive east past the Chevron, turn south onto N Main Street, then almost immediately left onto E 600 North. At the T intersection just ahead, turn left onto 100 East / Skyline Drive / Farmington Canyon Road. The blacktop turns to dirt in about a mile. This is the road to the summit.
The FAA and National Guard operate remote radar facilities at Francis Peak, so the road to the top is uncommonly well-maintained. The Forest Service closes the road during snow season with a gate at the half-mile point. Other than a dozen or so abrupt switchbacks and some moderate grades, the only thing recommending a 4WD vehicle is the likelihood of intermittent snow fields across the roadway as late as June.
The 12-mile drive to the summit takes about 45 minutes, and you’ll gain nearly five thousand feet in elevation.
The launch site is along the road a hundred feet or so below the actual peak and its radar installation. There is room to park several vehicles on the east side of the road. You will set up and launch from the west side, where the road curves around a natural bowl with unobstructed views all the way to the valley floor. There are no tie-downs in the set-up area.
From the road the launch profile slopes gradually at first and then falls off to a slope of 63% for the first 300 feet. Look for light west to west-southwest winds coming off the Great Salt Lake. Use caution in stronger breezes for severe rotors in the lee behind the north-south ridge lines. Pilots report being blown back across the ridges towards the Morgan valley to the east.
With good lift present you will need to avoid climbing into Salt Lake City International Airport's Class B airspace, which overlays the entire launch and landing zones beginning at 10,500’ MSL. Commercial air traffic, as well as military aircraft from nearby Hill AFB, operate at 11,000 feet and above in this area. Consider remaining below the tops of the radar domes.
Paragliders arriving over the suburbs from Francis Peak should note the group of three rectangular reservoirs one mile due east of the LZ. Crossing these reservoirs at or above 5160’ MSL will allow a recreational paraglider flown at best glide speed in zero-wind, neutral-lift conditions to safely reach the LZ at an altitude of at least 300 feet. Hang gliders routinely reach the LZ well in excess of this altitude.
The Landing Zone:
The LZ complex is situated north of the Lagoon recreation area along US 89 where it intersects Shepard Lane in Farmington. The 2.75-acre athletic field south of Knowlton Elementary School is normally used by paragliders. It is open and level, with firm well-drained turf and few obstructions. Tall stadium light poles surrounding the adjoining baseball fields are clearly marked on the LZ diagram. There are no tie-downs in this LZ.
Just south of the elementary school area is the Hess Farm LZ, a pair of 1700-foot-long east-west oriented hayfields suitable for hang glider approaches and landings. In the eastern half of the top field sits a 50-foot-tall abandoned grain silo. Otherwise, the fields are generally obstacle-free. Farm equipment, hay bales and livestock may be present. There are no tie-downs in this LZ. Prior permission required for each landing.
Note: Hess Farm borders an area of recent residential development. As of March 2023, portions of the LZ may not be suitable for approach and landing. Thoroughly scout your intended LZ prior to flight.