I had left home in Medford, Oregon on Wednesday August 17, 2005 to do some hiking in California, Arizona, and Utah. Delano Peak was the last mountain on my list before heading back to Oregon. On Sunday, August 21st I had climbed Signal Peak in Washington County and then drove to the top of Brian Head in Iron County before heading to Delano Peak. I followed the excellent directions of Dean Molen and headed up from Beaver, Utah on Hwy 153 east. I took the Big John Flat turn off and followed the good gravel road to Big John Flats.
In Big John Flats there were things happening. All the gates were open and there were people and vehicles everywhere. It was bow hunting season for deer and everyone was dressed in camouflage, carried bows and arrows, and were riding in all sorts of motorized transport. Everyone was “road hunting” driving 4WD vehicles, ATV’s, Dirt Bikes, and even riding horses. It was a traffic jam continuing up the road towards the restrooms and towards Delano Peak. It was kind of funny seeing pickups full of hunters in camouflage carrying bows. I fell in line with the hunters and gradually made my way up the valley.
I eventually passed Griffith Creek and then Poison Creek and continued on until I was convinced that the road was not going to go back towards Delano Peak. I think the road continues on to some communications towers and then returns to Big John Flat down the other side of the valley. I had a good opportunity to look at the route up Poison Creek towards Delano Peak and also the Griffith Creek route. I didn’t like the looks of the Poison Creek route because you had to stay down by the creek in the timber and would not be able to get up on the bare west ridge of Delano Peak until you approached the summit. I didn’t want to be down in this area with hunters around.
I liked the Griffith Creek route because it was wide open all the way to the summit. Easy walking through grasses and wildflowers, without having to worry about getting an arrow stuck in my butt. I located a nice campsite right next to Griffith Creek on the south side. The campsite was in the trees and looked to be frequented by hunters. Since it was Sunday night, I assumed they had left for the weekend, and I moved in.
After a relaxing nights sleep I got up early the next morning, Monday August 22nd. I packed up and headed out. I crossed Griffith Creek and headed for the last of the trees visible on top of the west ridge on Delano Peak. I felt safe out here because I knew no one would be shooting at me. It didn’t take me long to get up to the top of the ridge and then it was a simple process of following the ridge up to the summit.
I was surprised about half way up by a billy goat that wasn’t too worried about me. Apparently, it wasn’t mountain goat season, yet. The billy goat is a close relative of the bobby goat that frequents mountains all over the western U.S. The only difference between the two species is that the bobby goat appears to travel on its hind legs when climbing mountains. They are both vegetarians with white beards.
On the summit is a nice new summit register in a new mail box. Lots of signatures were already in the notebook, so I signed in too. The views are fantastic from the summit and I could see more mountain goats far down to the east of the summit. I didn’t stay long and soon headed back to the car. I arrived at the car 2.2 hours after I had left and I had traveled about 3.25 miles with about 1,800 ft of elevation gain.
Good report Dennis. It would be good to see you post this route on the route page of the Delano SP page. When I did the peak on Oct 17th 2003, I saw no hunters at all. That is ATV country for sure and Utahan's love their ATV's.