OverviewThe Grassy Mountains in Utah’s West Desert are a small range roughly 10 miles long and 4 miles wide rising out of the valley floor just north of Interstate 80 in Tooele County, approximately 70 miles west of Salt Lake City and 50 miles east of the Nevada border. An hour and a half west of Salt Lake City puts you at a fun little mountain that can easily be hiked in a morning and be back home in time for lunch. Although not a particularly large range, It can still be a great place to hike no matter what the temperature or weather conditions with its highest peak (Grassy HP) at 6596 feet, and with 1936 feet of prominence puts it in the top 100 of Utah's prominence peaks.It comes in at #88 on that list. For more click HERE. The Grassy’s have a lot to offer. Rock hounds in the area have found some beautiful minerals and some of the rock formations are just as awesome to find. An occasional arrowhead left by one of the mountain’s earlier inhabitants can also be found. There isn’t a lot of wildlife on this mountain due to the fact that there isn’t any flowing water or even a pond on this mountain. The valley just to the east of this range is known as Puddle Valley for the fact that when it does rain the soil is such that it doesn’t let the water soak in too fast, leaving ponds in the road and around the valley, giving water to the native animals that inhabit this area. While not in huge numbers there are some mule deer, rabbits, fox, coyote, a few small mammals, lizards, and snakes that live here. There are also birds like the Chuckar Partridge that were released here in the ‘50s and ‘60s and are one of the mountain residents that live toward the top of this range. The Great Basin Rattlesnake also roams this area; keep a sharp eye out for this one. He can ruin your day.
Numerous roads crisscross the eastern side of the range with several OHV trails cutting across the countryside. On any weekend you can expect to see people although not a lot riding their machines in and out of the canyons. One can only hope they are not destroying the terrain by leaving the designated OHV trails. It doesn’t take much to destroy a hillside once someone drives their motorcycle off the trail.
On the North end of this range is a military reservation operated by Hill Air Force Base (HAFB) north of Salt Lake City, used as a practice-bombing and gunnery range for military aircraft, propagation, testing, rocket motor test firing, missile storage, small arms and machine gun firing range. If you get off the main road on your way in to this mountain and get too close to the range you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have gone the wrong way. The military has signs warning against trespassing and that the use of lethal force is authorized. There are also signs telling you not to pick up small shiny objects. You never know when an unexploded ordinance will end up on public property.
The Eastern side of the range is covered by sheet grass and dotted by juniper trees, cactus and a few Indian paintbrush adds to this mountain’s beauty when they are in bloom. The Western portion of this mountain is less sparse and has a lot more junipers to deal with. There is a radar tower on the back side that I can only assume is used in the guidance of the numerous F-16 jets that will buzz the mountain. If you’re out there when they do that it can be an exhilarating experience to have those jets fly a mere few hundred feet over the top of your head.
Getting ThereGetting there is very easy, Drive Approx. 70 miles west of Salt Lake City on Interstate 80 to the lakeside exit, (photos to come) Take that exit and turn right to the frontage road also called Puddle valley Highway. This would be a great time to zero out your odometer. This is a paved road as it is used by the military insatllations on the north side of the range. Drive the Puddle valley highway for approx 14.1 miles until you come to a dirt road to the left. even though this road isn't marked you will be turning onto North Lakeside Drive. follow NLSD approx. 4 miles taking the second left turn that you see. The first will get you there, It just takes longer. Stay on this road for another 2 miles where you will pass by some corals, OLD ONES. Lots of sheep ranchers in the winter out here. At the Corals stay on this road and stay right. (almost there) About a mile and a half up that road you will make one more turn Left, This will take you up on what we call the bench, stay on this road until it begins to drop off the bench and you start to head away from the mountain (you will know what I mean) This will be your starting point. The Peak of this mountain (Grassy HP) will be directly to the west. Photos to come .
Red TapeSalt Lake City, Utah 84145-0155
440 West 200 South, Suite 500
Salt Lake City, Utah 84101
Phone: (801) 539-4001
Fax: (801) 539-4013
CampingNo permits are required. The entire Grassy Range and access route is located on BLM land and. Primitive camping is allowed, during the summer watch your campfires and remember to pack out what you pack in. Do me a favor, If you see garbage. Pick it up. Thanks
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