Kings Peak - Uintas

Uinta Mountains
The tallest point in Utah: 13,528 ft.

26 miles round trip (If you take the Anderson Pass Scree)
31 miles if you take the Gunsight Pass Route

Eleveation Gain: 4,128 feet.
Starting Elevation: 9,400 feet.

To get to Kings Peak from Salt Lake City:
Take I-80 Parleys Canyon east, follow this road past Echo Canyon, through Evanston, Wyoming. Continue for another 25 miles or so until you reach exit 30 "Bigelow Road" which is a dirt road. Follow this road as it curves west then turns directly east and becomes a paved road, pass through the small town of Robertson, and continue until the paved road turns left. Instead of turning left, turn right/south down the dirt road. Follow the dirt road, looking for "Deadhorse Campground" soon after there is a sharp left turn, follow this dirt road as it slowly makes it's way south. Continue on the main road until it passes Henry Fork Campground and ends at a little parking lot, which was almost full when we arrived.

We started at 3:30 PM. We hiked with our packs for the 5.5 miles through Elkhorn Crossing, from there we went left over the footbridge, which is almost totally dismantled. After coming out of the forest, the area opened up into a beautiful valley surrounded by high ridgelines on both sides. We saw 3 huge bull moose, they didn't pay much attention to us, and continued eating. About 2 miles later and well before Dollar Lake, we decided to camp. Kings Peak still sat about 6 miles away, even though it's size always made it seem very close. The next day we left our packs and marched straight toward the Anderson Pass Scree. We went straight up the scree, continued west to the real Anderson Pass, then followed close to ridge all the way to the peak.

I was thinking about riding a mountain bike to the base of Kings Peak but I'm glad I didn't, the first 5.5 miles would be extremely difficult on a mountain bike and besides, you can't bring anything with wheels into the Uintas. However, you can bring large mammals that drop a loaf of excrement every 5 steps. Fortunately this makes finding your way a little easier, if you get lost, just look for the horse puckey.

We saw some tubby cowboys testing the breaking point of the spines of their horses along the trail. I asked one of them how it was going, he said "We're trying". I thought to myself "Try walking". The horse looked like it was thinking "Kill me".

Sunday, August 31 - Monday September 1, 2003

From near the beginning of the trail looking southwest over Henrys Fork River.
At this time of the year, most of this water comes from springs.
When you return, this trail stretches into a never-ending sadistic treadmill.
You will think that you must have passed the Alligator Lake sign,
but no, you still need to keep walking, and walking, and walking.

From near Alligator Lake looking south toward Kings Peak.
From here, you get a pretty undistorted view of the peak, showing it's many false summits.

After Elkhorn Crossing and the footbridge, the trail flattens out and the valley opens up.
From left to right: Gunsight Peak, West Gunsight peak, Kings Peak and Henrys Fork Peak.
We saw 3 moose from near this area.

Still trudging along. The strange thing about this part of the hike
is how you never seem to get any closer to the peak, it always looks close.
We stopped around this area and camped. From here it's about 6 miles to the peak.
Soon after this area, there's a huge mudbog that you basically have to walk through.
My shoe came off in the mud on the way back, boy was that fun.

The next morning, after about an hour of sleep, I woke up with my teeth a chatterin',
and fidgeted around trying to start a fire to warm my aching body.
Finally the sun came out.
Looking west toward Mount Powell 13,137' and Flat Top Mountain 12,168'

Kings Peak patiently waiting to beat the crap out of us.

Anderson Pass slippery scree slope.
The ridge to Kings Peak is visible above.

We walked off trail straight toward Anderson Pass Scree and found this little waterfall.

From the base of Anderson Pass Scree looking up toward the hardest part of the hike.

Gloria and Jared going up the scree, some parts of this chute were incredibly steep.
In the background is Flat Top Mountain.

Going down, the trail becomes nearly vertical,
try to find the deep piles of small rocks to the right.
With some coordination, you can slide step with very little impact.

Almost to the top of Anderson Pass Scree. This took us about 45 minutes to climb.
There were many reckless hikers descending, kicking loose rocks down the trail on us.

From near the top of Anderson Pass Scree,
looking west over Henrys Fork Peak and Flat Top Mountain.
Lake Banchard is visible below Flat Top.

Looking north, over Henrys Fork.

Looking northeast over Gilbert Peak, Gunsight Peak, and West Gunsight Peak.

The ridge up to Kings Peak.

Looking south from the real Anderson Pass toward Kings Peak on the right.

Jared and Gloria hiking up to Anderson Pass.
Looking northeast over West Gunsight peak toward Gilbert Peak 13,442.
The top of the Anderson Pass Scree is is visible in the middle of the picture.

The famous, yet deceptive false summit of Kings Peak.

A closer look at the ridge below Kings Peak.

Two hikers that took the Gunsight Pass route.
We were walking right next to them before they split off down Gunsight Pass.
We were on the peak for over an hour before they even got up on the ridge.
The Anderson Scree saved us about 2 hours one way.
Sadly, they decided not to go all the way to the peak.
They were only about 20 minutes from the top.
Behind is Henrys Fork Lake in the foreground and Grass Lake in the background.

Looking back up Kings Peak as we walked down the ridge.

From Anderson Pass looking west over Yellowstone Creek,
Garfield Basin and most of the Uinta Mountains.

From near Anderson Pass looking east toward West Gunsight Peak
and the Anderson Pass Scree on the left.

Flat Top Mountain with Cliff Lake below.

Going down the Anderson Pass Scree

Looking up southeast toward West Gunsight Peak.
Gloria was dirt-skiing down the loose rocks.

Looking back to West Gunsight Peak and the Anderson Pass Scree.

Looking east toward Gunsight Peak

Looking southeast toward Gunsight Peak.

Thanks to Gloria and Jared
Thanks to Horace from S Jordan for IDing Lake Blanchard.


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© Copyright 1999-2019 Dale Meier, unless otherwise credited. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use is prohibited.