Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Deseret Peak Stansbury Mountains 8/19/2011

Above the Pockets Fork on my way back to the trailhead
Directions and information: The Stansbury Mountains are west of Salt Lake City (SLC), Utah, and outside of Grantsville. Take route 138 off of I-80 over 70 miles west of SLC. Follow it into Grantsville. From Grantsville take South Willow Road parallel to the range. Off this road are a number of roads which access trailheads. The main side roads include North Willow, West Canyon and South Willow Creek. It is advisable to carry a map to find an appropriate trail for you. South Willow Canyon is the most popular spot in the range with five campgrounds and many trails. Deseret Peak is the highest point in the range at 11,031 feet.
The hike: Today I wanted to climb Deseret Peak from South Willow Canyon. The main trail to the top is by the Mill Fork Canyon trail. It is 3.5 miles one way with over 3000 feet of elevation gain. The trail gains about 2200 feet in Mill Fork Canyon before it reaches the crest. From the crest it is 1.5 miles to the top. It is possible to create a loop by hiking on the crest trail to Pockets Fork and back out the South Willow lake Trail (about 7.5 miles in length). This hike is strenuous because of the elevation gained and the high elevation of the peak; however, the views are spectacular.
Ecology: Flora of the range include Douglas fir and Aspen on north facing slopes with Limber pine and Whitebark pine in the upper elevations. Fauna include Mule deer, reintroduced Bighorn sheep and upland gamebirds.
Looking west off of the Crest trail
Crest trail off the summit
Looking east towards Tooele and the Great Salt Lake
Looking north up the range
Me on top of Deseret Peak

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