Utah is a mountainous land, where more often than not, our vista is dominated by looming peaks. These mountains and their ranges provide beauty rarely matched and challenges worthy of grasping.

Mount_Timpanogos_at_sunset
“Mount Timpanogos at sunset” by Eric Ward from Provo, UT, USA – Mount Timpanogos – 01/19/08Uploaded by PDTillman. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mount_Timpanogos_at_sunset.jpg#/media/File:Mount_Timpanogos_at_sunset.jpg

Here we give some guidance on three of Utah’s natural skyscrapers that are sure to get your blood flowing and rekindle the adventurer inside.

"Kings Peak Close Up" by Hyrum K. Wright - Work by author. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kings_Peak_Close_Up.jpg#/media/File:Kings_Peak_Close_Up.jpg
“Kings Peak Close Up” by Hyrum K. Wright – Work by author. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kings_Peak_Close_Up.jpg#/media/File:Kings_Peak_Close_Up.jpg

King’s Peak

This is literally the king of Utah’s mountains, being the tallest, at more than 13,500 feet. It is also isolated in the Uintas, and the standard King’s Peak trip takes two to three days and extends 28.8 miles, so it isn’t for the ill-prepared.

Plan on doing this hike in the months of June through September.

The trail starts by Henry Fork Campground. Through the course of the trip, you’ll pass through conifeous forests, along rivers and eventually far above the treeline. You’ll find lakes, and travel through passes and into basins. Hikers report that the first part of the backpacking trip is moderately difficult, and that the day of summiting is the more difficult part, as the trail is poorly marked. Summiting requires a steep and scrambly climb.

Beware of sudden storms, as the weather changes quickly in the high Uintas. Make sure you have an experienced backpacker with you for the trip.

Pfeifferhorn

Pfeifferhorn, via East Ridge

Located in Wasatch Range near Draper and Lone Peak, the Pfeifferhorn is an excellent challenge in the summer, and an extreme challenge in the winter.

Commonly called the “Little Matterhorn,” this mountain provides regal views of Utah. The most common route to the top passes by lower and upper Red Pine Lakes. Reaching the summit by the east ridge requires walking along a narrow knife ridge.

The Pfeifferhorn is one of Utah’s tallest summits, at more than 11,300 feet. It is a challenge waiting to be tackled this summer. Start the hike at White Pine Trailhead.

MountEllenMount Ellen

Mount Ellen isn’t your typical triangular mountain, as it extends for miles with multiple sloping peaks. It offers a real escape from humanity and a true chance to interact with mother earth.

The best part about this mountain is how untouched it is. The Henry Mountains, the range where Mount Ellen is found, were the last mountains to be mapped and surveyed in the lower 48 states. For this reason, however, Mount Ellen can be difficult to access, especially in wet conditions.

It is located in southeastern Utah. On summitpost.org, one hiker recommends taking highway 6 through Price. Eventually you will need to reach Hanksville. From there you will take dirt roads to McMillan Spring campground, and then to Bull Creek Pass, where the trailhead is.

The Henry Mountains, including Mount Helen, are interesting because, unlike other mountains in Utah, they have few foothills. Rather, they push directly through sandstone layers in a majestic way.

Because of its isolation, make sure you bring plenty of water and a reliable vehicle.

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