Salt MountainAbout Salt Mountain
Salt Mountain is a rarely visited peak located in the scenic Skull Valley (in Tooele County Uah). It is the highest point of a group of foothills that spur off of the western side of the Stansbury Range. Salt Mountain provides some amazing views of the Stansbury Mountains, Skull Valley, the Cedar Moutains, Lone Rock, and the Lakeside mountains. A NGS benchmark was placed on this peak in 1955. This makes a great winter or early spring hike. Because of its lower elevation and the way it is positioned in the valley, Salt Mountain can be completely snow-free while other peaks remain buried in deep snow-pack.
Once on top you can see that there are actually two high points. The southern one is definitely higher. The southern one is where the benchmark is found. The Northern "peak" is about 1/4 of a mile away connected by a very wide ridge-line.
Nearby Things to Check Out
Story Rock Petroglyphs
Highway 196 with Salt Mountain in the distance
Directions to the Iosepa Cemetery from SLC, UT
Head West on I-80 for roughly 40 miles. Take exit 77 (Rowley / Dugway) and head south on Highway 196 (Skull Valley Road) towards the Dugway Proving Grounds. After ~14 miles you'll see a large sign with a palm tree that states "Aloha Iosepa" Take this well maintained gravel road (on the east side of the hwy). Take an immediate right hand turn following the sign to "Iosepa Cemetery." Park at the Cemetery. Make sure to take a few minutes to check out one of the most interesting cemeteries you'll find in the western US before you embark on your hike to the top of Salt Mountain.
Interesting Rock formations on the ridgeWest Ridge Route
Head directly east from the cemetery parking lot. There are several small sandy gullies that will lead you straight to the base of the west ridge. Although the ridge is moderately steep it should be relatively straight forward hike with lots of class 1 options all the way to the top. There are several different rock types that you'll encounter on this ridge. There is even a petroglyph called the "story rock petroglyph" that is somewhere nearby. The hike is around 1,600 feet elevation gain in about 1.2 mile.
Although hiking from Iosepa seemed the closest most direct route from an easy parking area there are lots of other option to get to the top of Salt Mountain. There are a few dirt 4x4 roads that lead around to the east slopes that could probably get you up to a little higher starting point.
Red Tape / When to Climb / Camping
Located on public lands. Be respectful of the environment.
When to climb
Because of it's relatively lower elevation it is best to hike in the cooler months of the year.
There are many options to camp nearby as much of the land in skull valley is BLM land.
Register & NGS Benchmark
I brought a small canister and placed a notebook inside to be used as a register. The high point didn't have a good place to put the register so I stacked up a few rocks. There is a NGS Benchmarker at the top of this peak. It was placed in 1955 and has the word 'SALT" stamped into it. It has a very unusual placement. It is nearly vertical. The only solid rock that is found near the top is about 10 feet from the high point and is very strangely angled.
Register Notebook for Salt Mountain
Newly built cairn and register placed. Snow- covered Stansbury Mountains in background. Deseret Peak is in the top right corner.
Random Info and more picsIosepa Cemetery
Iosepa was an early pioneer town that was settled by Polynesian Mormons. It was inhabited from the mid 1800's until the early 1900's. It was abandoned when most of the settlers returned to Hawaii after a Mormon temple was constructed in Laie Hawaii. There is celebration put on by the Iosepa Historical Society every Memorial Day.
A few sites with info about Iosepa:
Cactus on the ridge
Looking down the West ridge line towards Iosepa. Cedar Mountains in the background.
Cymopterus purpurascens - blooming in February!
Tracks found near the top
Looking north to the "Salt Mountain North" peak
A very interesting NGS Marker. It had to be placed horizontally into the only rock near the peak. Deseret Peak is the far right snow-covered peak in the background.