ApproachThere are several possible routes to Gilbert Peak, but by far the most popular route is from Henry's Fork. This is the beginning of the West Spur and North Ridge routes. From exit 39 on I-80 head South towards Mountain View on route 414 for 6 miles. At the “Y” (@ the Bronze Elk) stay right on route 410 heading towards Robertson at about 6.8 miles on 410 the road makes a 90 degree right hand turn, at this point you will want to go straight (or left) leaving 410. The road turns and stays gravel for the duration of the drive to the trailhead. Continue straight on the gravel road after leaving 410 for 12.3± to another intersection at this point turn left, right would take you to China Meadows (7 miles). After taking the left continue for 7.7± miles to a hairpin turn, at this point continue straight (or right) off of the previous road. Follow this for 3 miles to the Henry’s Fork Trail head. The last 3 miles of the road are not maintained in the winter months, so your temporary trailhead will start 3 miles sooner.
Route DescriptionThis is the easiest route to Gilbert Peak. Despite this fact, it is not a popular route and is seldom used.
From the trailhead, follow the Henrys Fork Trail south to the North Highline Trail. There are two routes to reach the North Highline Trail. The one described is two miles longer, but crosses the river on a bridge rather than wading. Follow the Henrys Fork Trail for 5.5 miles to Elkhorn Crossing. Cross the bridge. Turn left at the junction and follow the North Highline Trail back down the river. This trail backtracks along the east side of the river. You can shortcut across, if your willing to wade the ice-cold, snow-fed river.
After following the river down for over a mile, the North Highline Trail turns east. The trail begins to climb and reaches the very broad North Ridge of Gilbert Peak at timberline. "Ridge" is actually somewhat of an exaggeration because it is so broad. This could be called the "North Slopes" route as well.
Once on the ridge, follow it south to the summit of Gilbert. There isn't any loose rock to speak of, but the ridge is fully exposed to the elements (i.e. thunderstorms). The major obstacle is a huge snowfield which is at about 12,400 feet that often last throughout the summer. It is the only real obstacle to speak of.
The route is about 22 miles round trip if you follow the Elkhorn Crossing bridge route, and two miles shorter if you wade instead of hike to the bridge.