For information about the Silver Island Mountains and the
Bonneville Salt Flats:
BLM - Salt Lake Field office - 801-977-4300
These mountains are seen almost daily on one commercial or
another. The Bonneville Salt Flats are the flattest place
in the U.S.A. This, coupled with the snow white reflective
salt, makes for a very photogenic environment. You usually
see this area in fast car commercials.
To get there from Salt Lake City:
Take I-80 going west for about 100 miles turn right at the
Bonneville Speedway about 5-10 miles before Wendover. Follow
the signs to the Silver Mountains.
After passing Volcano Peak 6,011', Rishel Peak 6,212', and
Tetzlaff Peak 6,267 on the left, you get to a large opening
(Silver Island Pass). After passing Flatface Rock, look for
the large opening, follow the road that goes left into this
clearing. This will take you to Cave Canyon.
We went up Silver Canyon, and tried to climb Graham Peak,
the highest in the Silver Island Mountains, but didn't find
it in time to summit before sunset. We were about half an
hour away when the sun went down.
All I had was a satellite image of the area.
I thought the most impressive thing about this hike would
be the white salt flats below, but it was actually the abundance
of marine fossils that blew me away. I think these fossils
were also partly to blame for us not reaching the top, we
kept stopping to look at them. There were quarries of mollusks,
coral, and algae fossils embedded in black and gray limestone
Later that night, we stopped into Bendover to eat. I felt
lucky, so I fed the slots all my loose change.
The Silver Island Mountains
Lamus Peak 6,284', Jenkins Peak 7,268', Campbell Peak 7,272', Graham
Peak 7,563', Cobb Peak 7,021'
In the distance on the left: Pilot Peak 10,716 (Nevada)
Graham Peak, the highest point in the Silver Island Mountains.
On the left is Cave Canyon and on the right is Silver Canyon.
You can see the Sleeping Dragon in the middle.
Another, slightly different view of Graham Peak looking up Cave Canyon.
To get to the cave near the peak, follow the left fork towards the
We were trying to find this canyon, but I passed it, we went up Silver
Looking northwest from Silver Island Pass, over the Silver Island
The Silver Island Mountains comprise of this small range and a smaller
range behind (to the northwest)
called Crater Island 5,743' (not visible)
I think the peaks are: Campbell Peak, Jenkins Peak and Lamus Peak
The Donner Party passed between the Silver Island and Crater Island.
I would call this a geological Disneyland.
I should have brought some gloves and a backpack.
The plants are mostly of the tough stabby variety,
so a levi jacket wouldn't hurt either.
Flatface Rock. Should be some good rock climbing on this face.
After passing this limestone face, the Cave Canyon area will open
up on your left.
Buddha Knob, Schleppy Hill, and the Sleeping Dragon.
Subpeaks at the foot of the ridge below Graham Peak.
To go to Cave Canyon, you would turn left around this area (before
passing these subpeaks).
A close up of the Sleeping Dragon below Graham Peak.
I'd be very surprised if there weren't at least a few good climbs
on this limestone.
Buddha Knob below Graham Peak.
They say the fastest way to heaven is to try to free climb Buddha
Behind the ridge on the foreground right is Cobb Mountain.
Looking west to Floating Island 5,109'
Coral fossils were everywhere along the route we took.
Looking west over the Cedar Mountains toward Deseret Peak 11,031'
Looking down over Buddha Knob over the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Looking west over Cobb Peak 7,021' towards the Newfoundland Mountains
Desert Peak 7,005' at its northern end.
Looking north toward the Crater Islands. The ground isn't water or
snow, it's salt.
The Donner Party passed between these two mountains.
If you haven't heard, they were a group of about 87 people who traveled
Independence, Missouri to Sacramento, California.
They were caught in the Sierra Nevada mountains when winter hit,
and had to resort to cannabalism. 44 people survived.
Here's an exerpt from their journal as the passed the Silver Island
A minor ridge, we decided to stop there, as the sun was setting.
The Floating Island is visible in the Salt Flats.
Below is Silver Canyon.
Cobb Peak 7,021'
Below is Silver Canyon Flat. You can drive all the way around Cobb
Looking up to the slope up to Graham Peak from where we stopped.
Looking southwest over ridges leading to Graham Peak,
and the Bonneville Speedway. In the distance sit the Schell Mountains.
You can clearly see Flatface Rock.
Looking south toward the Deep Creek Range.
Haystack Peak 12,020', Ibapah 12,087', and Red Mountain 11,588'.
On the it's west side lies the Goshute Indian Reservation.