Welcome to SP!  -
Desert Peak
Mountain/Rock
Contribute 
Children 
 
Geography
Parents 
Mountains & Rocks
 
Mountains & Rocks
 
Mountains & Rocks
 

Desert Peak

 
Desert Peak

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Utah, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 41.18600°N / 113.3675°W

Object Title: Desert Peak

County: Box Elder

Activities: Hiking, Scrambling

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 7005 ft / 2135 m

 

Page By: gjagiels

Created/Edited: Oct 4, 2005 / Aug 24, 2009

Object ID: 154782

Hits: 8783 

Page Score: 89.01%  - 28 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote

 

Overview

Desert Peak is a rugged, unknown, yet spectacular peak in the west desert of Utah. It is the highest mountain in the Newfoundland range. The Newfoundland range is part of the western Utah desert and is located about 3/4 of the way from Salt Lake to Wendover and about 30 miles north of I-80. Most days Desert Peak can be seen from I-80 and on really clear days it can be seen from spots in Salt Lake Valley. Viewed from a distance, the peak is light-colored and looks very rugged and "pointy" towards the top.

Desert Peak Summit View North
Summit View North


The Newfoundland Mountains are not easily accessed and though Desert Peak is a mere 30 miles from the interstate, it will require around 2 hours to get to the start of the hike. The very southern part of the Newfoundland Mountains is actually in a military area and no public access is allowed. But the difficulty in getting there is re-payed in the vast remoteness, historical charm, and jagged peaks. Desert Peak and the Newfoundland Mountains are also part of the Newfoundland Mountains Wilderness Study Area and sports a healthy population of big horn sheep. A trip to the Newfoundland Mountains is a excellent experience for it's solitude and beauty.


Desert Peak rises about 2800 feet from the surrounding Salt Flats and ranks as #46 for Utah Peaks with 2000 feet or more of prominence. Click here for a list of Utah Prominence peaks.

There is a still-distinct 1847-50 wagon trail just to the south called the Hastings Cut-off. To the north there's the Transcontinental railroad bed that is fun to see. It's 1904 replacement is the route you use, at least the dirt road next to it, to access the Newfoundland range. There is lots of old mining activity to see. The mine at the head of Dell's Canyon has a cablecar ore shuttle system that looks like it's still in working order.

The actual climb is steep but not difficult except as you approach the top the footing gets loose and there is more exposure. The top is a series of jagged spires. The 360 degree views are spectacular.


Routes Overview

There are basically two ways to hike this mountain: East side and West side. The east side approach uses Dell Canyon to ascend the mountain, the west side uses the Southwest ridge.

Compared to the Southwest ridge, Dell's Canyon is more difficult in terms of elevation gain, route finding and being more technical. Mileage wise, both are about the same. If driving high clearance, the Dell's Canyon will be about 300 more feet of vertical. Route finding will be required if coming from Dell's Canyon as there are several cliffs to bypass. So if you want more of a challenge, take the Dell's Canyon side, it also was quite scenic, though I can't comment on the west side approach.

Getting There

The two driving options mentioned are the only two ways to access this mountain range that I am aware of. From Grouse Creek and Lucin (west) there is supposedly a gate that is locked and there is no public access.

To get to the Newfoundland Mountain access road from the railroad tracks does not require high clearance or 4WD. As soon as you leave the railroad tracks the road is rutted and you may not be comfortable driving a sedan on this part of the road, though I did with a Mazda and had no problems. Once you reach the mountains the road is in good shape and will only require 4WD or high clearance if there have been recent storms. Of the two options mentioned I would recommend taking the route from Salt Lake City as the roads are in good condition. The other route is much longer (from the Wasatch) and I don't have personal knowledge of this route.

Desert Peak and the Newfoundland Mountains
Desert Peak and the Newfoundland Mountains from Floating Island

From Salt Lake City: (120 miles)

Head west on I-80 towards Wendover. Continue to exit 62 (Lakeside Military Area) and head north towards the Military Area. About 15 miles from the Interstate you will reach the Military Area where the paved road bends and then continues to the military base. At this bend there is a dirt road that continues straight, follow this well-graded dirt road. After another 14 miles you will reach the railroad tracks. Continue about a 1/4 mile west to where a road crosses the tracks and follows the railroad tracks. This is where the road is marked as private. Continue west along the railroad tracks for 25.5 miles to the Newfoundland Mountains road.

From Highway 30: (70 miles)

From the large bend in highway 30, shown here head 6.5 south towards Kelton on a dirt road. At Kelton take a right and go 2.8 miles to a dirt road that breaks off and heads south. Follow this road for approximately 23 miles to an intersection and then go right the road soon heads west then southwest. From 5.4 miles from the previous intersection there is another intersection. Go left, then you will soon go straight through an intersection then south for 7 miles to the railroad tracks. Now travel west along the railroad tracks for 12.5 miles to the Newfoundland Mountains road.


Once at the Newfoundland Mountains road:

For Dells Canyon approach:
Head south along the rutted and washed out road for approximately 2 miles where you reach an intersection. Continue straight for another mile to where you reach a T intersection. Go left and around the mountain range. Once you are around the side of the range and heading south again it is approximately 6.5 miles to Dell's Canyon. This stretch of road has occasional mud and washout but is in generally good condition.

For the Southwest Ridge:
See the Southwest Ridge page.

Red Tape

 
The sign at the railroad.
Railroad sign.

Inside the Newfoundland Mountains Wilderness Area, please follow the rules. The road alongside the railroad is signed as private property and no tresspassing. However, there are no gates (as of 11/25/2006) and to access this mountain range you must use this road. The BLM encourages hiking, sightseeing, and wildlife viewing in the area.

When To Climb

 
Desert Peak Summit View South
View South from the summit

Fall, Winter and Spring would be the best times to do this hike. Though the route up from Dell's Canyon faces to the north, expect some snow aftert recent storms and cold spells. During the summer months expect daytime highs in the 90-100's.

Sp Member Varleys writes: I climbed on a June weekend and camped in one of the canyons. It was cool on the mtn. I did not find any water while I was there but there are supposed to be 2 springs toward the south. Spring and Fall would be good times to climb. I expect it could be climbed in the winter.

Camping

This terrain is vast open desert surrounded by salt flats. Primitive camping is allowed. There are no nearby campgrounds or developed campsites. Make sure you have gas, the closest gas station is 70 miles away in Delle (exit 70 off I-80) and bring plenty of food, water and firewood.

One of the better places to camp is located at the northern end of the Silver Island Mountains and access is relatively easy. To get there from the train tracks: Continue south towards the Silver Island Mountains, at 2 miles there is an intersection, continue straight. Then continue for another mile to a T-intersection, go right (west) towards the large granite outcrop and continue for another 1 and 1/4 miles to the end of the road.

Additional Information

Geocacher's have placed caches in the area. You can follow these GPS coordinates to their caches or go to Geocaching.com and search for these cache names or just look at the map of caches in the area of the Newfoundland mountains. They also have information about getting there and camping.

Newfoundland First
N 41° 11.624 W 113° 21.580

Newfoundland Hilton
N 41° 11.085 W 113° 22.751

Additions and Corrections

[ Post an Addition or Correction ]
Viewing: 1-4 of 4    
gjagielsRe: Access from the south

gjagiels

Hasn't voted

Thanks for the info, I didn't think it was accessible from the south. I have also heard if you try to drive around the southern tip of the range, it is fenced with no way around.
Posted Apr 29, 2009 1:59 pm
ericwillhiteRe: Access from the south

ericwillhite

Voted 10/10

Turns out you can access from the south as Dean did it this week. In daylight, I guess I would have noticed a road branching off to the right before hitting the military base.
Posted Aug 19, 2009 11:05 pm
gjagielsRe: Access from the south

gjagiels

Hasn't voted

Ok, you're talking about accessing Lakeside from the south, yes it is most definately doable. I thought you meant coming into the range directly from the south. On the page I mentioned the pavement ends, which it doesn't it goes into the military base and that dirt road branches off to the right. I'll change it, thanks!



Greg
Posted Aug 20, 2009 11:44 am
voxnihiliRoad Location

voxnihili

Hasn't voted

A heads-up for those planning their trip using a topo map. The Newfoundland turnoff from the railroad road is about 1.4 miles west of where it appears on the map. It's hard to miss but for reference, it is located at 41.28487 N, 113.34727.
Posted Jan 15, 2012 12:46 pm

Viewing: 1-4 of 4    

Images