Access Special Backpacker.com Features, Register Now!

One Night Wonders: Mileage Monsters, Kings Peak

Scale Utah's mightiest mountain.
BP0813_Cohen_KingsPk6253_445x260.jpgKings Peak, High Uintas Wilderness, UT (Lee Cohen)

Kings Peak
High Uintas Wilderness, UT

Check off this state high point and earn serious Monday-morning bragging rights. The 13,528-foot peak requires a 5,310-vertical-foot, 14-mile runup; doing it in one night requires a 20.5-mile day. But your reward is big, too: an exhilarating, knife-edge perch overlooking a sea of shark’s-tooth peaks. From Henrys Fork Campground, Forest Trail 117 takes a forgiving grade along the pine-rimmed Henrys Fork River to the meadows surrounding Dollar Lake (7.5 miles and 1,345 vertical feet from the start). Camp here (it’s the last water source) and admire the rosy alpenglow on Kings’ wrinkled face; next morning, rise early and continue up FT 117 as it switchbacks to 11,888-foot Gunsight Pass. Follow cairns up and over a scree-covered ridge to Anderson Pass, then scramble up the arête, balancing atop tilted, table-size rocks. From the roof of Utah, Dollar Lake looks like a mere splinter of silver, and a labyrinth of dusky ridges extends in all directions. Retrace your steps for a 20.5-mile second day (or camp another night for a mellower return). Trailhead 38 miles southeast of Evanston, WY; 40.909094, -110.331206 Best season September has fewer people. Permit None Contact (307) 782-6555; fs.usda.gov/ashley

Leave a Reply