High in Utah

If you measured the highest point in each county, which of the fifty states would have the highest average elevation? You probably didn’t say Utah, but in fact the average elevation of the state’s county high points is approximately 11,222 feet (Colorado is second at 10,971 feet). Most but not all of Utah’s high peaks grow out of a series of mountain ranges that form a backbone from north to south through the middle of the state. Surprisingly, most can also be climbed in a day, and during the warm months climbing gear may be unnecessary. Some summits are even attainable by car.

High in Utah is quite consciously a book for peak baggers, complete with a checklist and elevations. Summits range from Kings Peak, Utah’s highest at 13,528’ to the unnamed peak in Rich County, a mere 9,255’. In addition to the county high points, this book also has four “classic” climbs: Mt. Olympus in Salt Lake County; Mt. Timpanogos above Provo; Notch Peak in the House Range west of Delta; and Wellsville Cone, Cache Valley’s western landmark.

Since finding a place to start can often be the most frustrating part of a hike, emphasis is placed on directions to each trailhead. There is a road map for each hike, as well as a trail map showing contours. The routes in this guide are not always the easiest or most practical, but they may be the most appealing and are often the most commonly used (lessening human impact on other potential routes). Difficulty levels range from 'extreme'—long, steep routes that may require some route finding—to 'too easy'—reachable by car. Two sets of hiking times are provided to accommodate variations in hiking speed, and there are also sections on flora and fauna, mountain weather, low-impact hiking and camping, equipment, and altitude sickness.

"Alaska is our biggest, buggiest, boggiest state. Texas remains our largest unfrozen state. But mountainous Utah, if ironed out flat, would take up more space on a map than either."
—Edward Abbey, 1927–1989

Michael R. Weibel is senior reporter for the Herald Journal in Logan, Utah.

Dan Miller is a freelance photographer and designer. 

Table of Contents:
Mountain Checklist
How to Use This Book
Flora and Fauna of Utah's Mountains
Mountain Weather
Low Impact Hiking and Camping

County High Peaks
1. American Fork Twin Peaks, Salt Lake County
2. Bluebell Knoll, Wayne County
3. Brian Head Peak, Iron County
4. Bull Mountain, Box Elder County
5. Delano Peak, Beaver and Piute Counties
6. Deseret Peak, Tooele County
7. East Mountain, Emery County
8. Eccentric Peak, Daggett and Uintah Counties
9. Fish Lake Hightop, Sevier County
10. Gilbert Peak, Summit County
11. Ibapah Peak, Juab county
12. Kings Peak, Duchesne County
13. Mine Camp Peak, Millard County
14. Monument Peak, Carbon County
15. Mount Ellen, Garfield County
16. Mount Nebo, Utah County
17. Mount Peale, San Juan County
18. Mount Waas, Grand County
19. Naomi Peak, Cache County
20. Signal Peak, Washington County
21. South Tent Mountain, Sanpete County
22. Thurston Peak, Davis and Morgan Counties
23. Unnamed, Kane County (proposed Andy Nelson Peak)
24. Unnamed, Rich County (proposed Bridger Peak)
25. Unnamed, Wasatch County (proposed Mount Cardwell)
26. Willard Peak, Weber County

Utah Classics
27. Mount Olympus
28. Mount Timpanogos
29. Notch Peak
30. Wellsville Cone

Appendix A: Equipment List
Appendix B: Problems at High Altitude
Selected Readings
About the Authors

Praise and Reviews:
“Provides straightforward directions on how to reach the summits, and enables hikers to enjoy discovering the high-altitude outdoors. Each hike features three easy-to-read maps…valuable descriptive information…hikers using the maps and the detailed instructions would have a hard time getting lost. For peak baggers and recreational hikers alike. A great resource for active families.”
—BYU Studies

 “Could be the best hiking book in the state to date.”
—Deseret News