OverviewMount Elliott is the high point of the southeastern section of the Book Cliffs region in Utah. Have you ever driven from Price, Utah to I-70 on US highway 6? If you have, then you’ve probably noticed Mount Elliott. As you drive by, your eyes are drawn to this peak and you’ll wonder if there is a way to the top. This mountain receives a lot of attention from the road, but getting to the summit requires some serious effort.
I’m not a big fan of mountains that can be easily seen from major highways, but Mount Elliott is an exception. From US highway 6, Mount Elliott is guarded on its western side by an impassible wall of cliffs that stretches for miles. It appears the only way to the top is a technical one, but this isn’t the case. There is actually a canyon which the Price River flows into that allows access to this mountain (see route page).
So if it sounds like your wilderness experience will be ruined because of the major highway, you’re definitely mistaken. The highway won’t be visible or heard until you are on the summit of the peak and the route (even though it’s a road) will be a wilderness experience in itself, trust me. The chance of running into people on this route is slim to nil.
The hike to the summit of this mountain is nothing short of spectacular. From where you start off in the green (season permitting) canyon which the Price River flows to the final short scramble to the summit, this is an all around excellent hike. Shortly after the start of the hike you will pass, several petroglyphs, wade through the Price River, and soon hike high above the surrounding cliffs for an awesome view of the area. This large area above the cliffs is known as the Beckwith Plateau.
Mount Elliott also happens to be one of Utah’s prominence peaks that has over 2000 feet of prominence. See here.
Getting ThereAnother good reason to visit this mountain is the ease of access. The start of the hike is only a 5 mile drive on a well graded dirt road off of US highway 6. This road should be suitable for just about any passenger vehicle. The road could take you closer but it was blocked in May 2007 and still in Mar 2009, by several enormous boulders blocking the road. And it looked like it had been like that for a while. Meaning the only way back there would be to hike, bike, horse ride or an ATV. The last couple hundred yards of the road is rough, if you have a low clearance vehicle you’ll probably want to park at this point.
From Salt Lake City (160 miles) :
Starting in Salt Lake City, head south on I-15 to the Spanish Fork exit for US highway 6 to Price. Follow this road to Price and continue following US highway 6 past Price for another 38 miles to the town/landmark of Woodside. At the old Woodside gas/service station, just to the north is an unsigned dirt road which heads to the east and follows the Price River. Take this road, following it for 5 miles to where you are stopped at the aforementioned boulders blocking further access. This is the start of the hike.
GPS Coordinates for US 6 turnoff : 39.2686 N -110.3447 W (WGS 84)
Round Trip Distance : Approx. 21 mi
Elevation Gain : 2600 ft
From the point the road is blocked; continue hiking along the road for about 2 and ¼ miles until you reach the Price River crossing. Wade through the river, in May 2007 it was about 2 feet deep and the rocks were large and slippery. Here is a picture of the Price river crossing. Once across the river continue hiking the road as it switchbacks along the cliffs and eventually above.
Following the same road (it’s obvious) continue for about 8 miles, gaining a little more than 2000 feet until you are close to the summit. At this point, leave the road and continue straight towards the notch in the previous picture. Its 500 feet up from the road; scramble up the notch and after a move or two in the notch you’ll be at the summit.
Topo map of the hike.
When To Climb
The best time to visit the peak would be in the fall, winter and spring. I would recommend spring because when I visited in May 2007, there was an abundance of cactus in bloom and many wild flowers. Summers are usually too warm in this area to recommend hiking over 20 miles. In winter time this area can receive a lot of snow, but the climate is relatively dry.
I would recommend camping right by the starting point for the hike, there are several nice camping spots with Cottonwoods for shade, and there shouldn’t be many/any people there, I didn’t see one person the weekend I visited in May 2007.
If camping isn’t what you want, the towns of Price and Green River have a variety of hotels/motels available. And if you’re planning on making it more than a day hike, there is great camping throughout the entire hike.
Red Tape & USGS Quads
Mount Elliott and the surrounding areas are part of the Utah BLM Lands – Price Field Office. Please follow wilderness area rules.
Price Field Office
Bureau of Land Management
125 South 600 West
P.O. Box 7004
Price, UT 84501
A predicted forecast for the area can be found here.
Local weather for Price, Utah can be found here.