Kings Peak in Two Long Days
I arrived at the Henry's Fork campsite trailhead at 10:30 am on Friday morning. The directions to get there that I found on the internet confused me. It is not that hard-- once through Mountain View, where you start heading south to the mountains, all you need to do is go straight on the dirt road where the sign says "Wasatch Nat Forest" and after that you have one choice (a fork in the road) that is not clear (i.e. no signs saying Henry's Fork) and at this point you veer off left (you could go right). There were some signs at this critical place, but I forgot what they said, but just veer left. From that point, Henry's Fork is well marked. So, I made it, parked (ample parking), and set out for the hike. I hiked a long time, past Dollar Lake (where many people make camp) and over Gunsight Pass. Descending a bit, I found a good camp site in a flat area with grass and brush. It was about 6:30 pm (yes, I am slow). I set up my tent, there were some others there also who were really cool and shared their fire with me. The ground was soft, a good place to sleep before the summit, above the tree-line. After a decent night's sleep, I started out for the summit at 6:45am the next day, using the traditional long approach. At some point, there is no real trail, just boulder hopping, as you go up the ridgeline, and the last section is like a staircase of rocks. I reached the summit at 10:30am. Yes, that is slow. Many more fit people passed me going up, and going back. People who live at altitude and who are under 45 have a huge advantage. I did not linger long at the top, and headed back down, reaching my camp-site at 1:30pm. The first part of the descent is slow going due to the boulder hopping. I took a nap as it rained, and packed up my stuff at 3:00 for the hike back to the parking lot. Many said it would be an easy 4 hour hike back, since it was downhill to flat, but that was not the case for me. I got to the parking lot at 9:15pm, and did the last 45 minutes in the dark with a flashlight, but that was OK since there is no way to get lost on this trail. This is a fantastic hike and state-high peak to bag, and even if you are not that experienced you can knock it out in two long days as I describe if you are basically in good shape and have some patience. If you are not a mountaineering stud, I would suggest getting up early on the day you summit, and also camp over Gunsight pass (to get you closer when you start the next day). And then I would suggest not waiting as late as I did to get back. A memorable trip, with moose and fox sightings, fantastic weather, lots of water sources, and many nice people. Bring those purification tablets, and don't pack in so much water, it makes your pack too heavy. Even in mid August, there was good water everywhere from clear streams, which probably didn't even need to be purified.