OverviewMexican Mountain es una montaña muy grande y majestuosa en el estado Utah (en los estados unidos, no en Mexico).
Mexican Mountain lies in one of the great wildernesses of the lower 48, the San Rafael Swell. What this means is that it is, in comparison to many other mountains many are used to, it is out there, you’ll likely have the mountain to yourself, the views are tremendous, & you’ll have to do some work to get to the top. From the interstate (I-70), it’s about 33 miles to the trailhead on a dirt road (high clearance recommended for the last 13 or so miles). Oh yeah, (to my knowledge) the easiest way up the formation is 5th class; some of the cruxes are not well protected (some of the rock is suspect, too), and there is PLENTY of loose rock en route. In short, expect an adventure outing!
For those not satisfied with the standard route, the main massif of the mountain has countless crack systems, dihedrals, & buttresses of the typical fantastic Utah Wingate- I'd surmise that there are countless top-notch first ascents yet to be had...
Getting ThereMexican Mountain is located in the northern San Rafael Swell (as defined by I-70). While the drive, & lack of people along the way will make you feel like you’re out in the middle of nowhere (& you sort of are), the access roads are (mostly) good, & you’ll reach the climbing before you know it. Even so, a high clearance vehicle is highly recommended for Mexican Mountain Rd.
To get there:
• Take exit 131 off of I-70; Zero your tripmeter once you’re on the N side of the highway.
• Initially this road (CR 332, also known as Buckhorn Draw Road later on) will swing E & parallel the highway, & it’ll seem like you’re going the wrong direction. Keep on going. The road will eventually swing N. Keep driving, & enjoy the views as they get progressively more impressive.
• 19.4 miles from the highway, you’ll finally get to the bridge crossing the San Rafael River (important landmark). Cross the bridge & take your first R (~.15 mi. past the bridge).
• Right after turning off of Buckhorn Draw Rd., go past the human & equestrian campgrounds. Follow Mexican Mountain Rd. for 14.1 miles (from the bridge) until it ends at a large dirt clearing. It starts out fine right after the campground for awhile, then will have the occasional rough sections (high clearance highly (no pun intended) recommended). Make sure to close any gates you go through.
CBS (Cryptobiotic Soil)Cryptobiotic soil is a biological phenomenon occurring all over the Colorado Plateau. It is a soil crust composed of living cyanobacteria, green algae, brown algae, fungi, lichens, and/or mosses. For a detailed explanation of the stuff, check out this page provided by Canyonlands National Park (where there is also plenty of the stuff). Whether or not you are interested in knowing more about it or not, remember this one rule: DON’T STEP ON IT. Cryptobiotic soil protects the sandy soil of the region from wind & erosion, and several years of growing in the desert’s unforgiving conditions can be destroyed by one careless footstep. Gazing out at a veritable ocean of the stuff for the first time, it might seem impossible to avoid! With diligence & a little searching, though, it is almost always possible to find a way through &/or around fields of it without destroying it. Look for washes (essentially the sandy drainages where water drains during the infrequent rainfalls), areas with durable surfaces (rock slabs), where other types of vegetation are present (don’t crush other plants), or if nothing else, pre-existing use trails.
Red TapeAs it stands, no permits are necessary to climb Mexican Mountain.
While it might be possible to make it to the trailhead from the bridge without a high-clearance vehicle, this is unknown & untested; 4WD, and most especially high-clearance, would make the drive along Mexican Mountain Rd. SIGNIFICANTLY easier at times.
The mountain lies, fittingly, within the Mexican Mountain Wilderness Study area, i.e. the area is being analyzed as a potential wilderness area. The BLM proposal, including a map showing the various designations can be seen here.
Vehicles are typically only allowed on designated roadways in the Wilderness Study Area.
One of the Wilderness Study Area regulatory roadside posts/signs (see photo) states that “Certain Activities On These Public Lands May Be Restricted Or Prohibited. For Further Information Contact Your Local BLM Office.” For a detailed listing of restrictions, call (or stop by) the BLM field office in Price ((435) 636-3600).
Probably the most obvious advice would be to observe signs posted in the area.