Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hikeblogging: Box Elder Peak, Uinta National Forest (2nd attempt)

This hike was done on July 18, 2009.

My latest hike took me to Box Elder Peak, a relatively unknown and and less crowded mountain located between the much more popular hiking areas of Little Cottonwood Canyon and Mount Timpanogos. Last year I tried it but I ended up taking a wrong turn and getting lost for a little bit.

This year I started off at the Dry Creek trail head again and took the right turn. By mid-morning I had reached the ridge separating Dry Creek basin with that of the American Fork River. There I was treated to a spectacular view of the backside of Timpanogos, which is still covered with plenty of snow (obviously a result of Global Warming).

Box Elder Peak is only a mile and a half away at this point, but there is no maintained trail to the top and you have to follow game trails or find your own route. It's not that difficult, but it is very steep; you gain roughly 1,500 feet in elevation during the last mile. In that respect I found it to be much like my Twin Peaks hike.

Up on top the view of the Utah County area is great, and unlike the view from Timpanogos you pretty much have the mountain to yourself. The lack of a maintained trail and the difficulty of the hike makes crowds less likely.

The peak is actually a high point in the rim of a large "C" shaped basin which is full of mountain goats (they were too far away to get pictures). You can see some of the intense crumpling of the rocks on the other side.

Overall, it was a nice hike, good workout, but very difficult. The distance is about 12 miles overall and you go from 5,800 feet at the trail head to 11,101 feet at the top. That's not impossible but doing it on a hot summer day and having to trail-find both up and down the peak is not the easiest thing to do. Plus, the main trail is full of large rocks that make the hike down very tiring.

I'm glad I got it done, having failed last year, but I don't think I'll be going back anytime soon.

Up Next: The Grandaddy of all Utah mountains, Kings Peak.



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