OverviewWest Mountain is the seemingly inconsequential desert-like mountain adjacent to the east Shore of Utah Lake (in Utah County, Utah) at the lakes southern end. The highest peak at 6,904 ft is located near the south end of the mountain and contains a survey marker which officially names the peak West Mountain 2. There is a triangulation station and shed on the highest peak; nonetheless the peak still has a feeling of remoteness and solitude. In contrast the 6,804 feet peak at the north end of the mountain is littered with several antennas and various other communication devices making it feel like a metropolitan area. There is a well maintained gravel road to the top of the north peak adding even more to its urban atmosphere. The north peak area is also home to the largest, most modern observatory in Utah, however it is not open to the public. As the crow flies the distance from the south peak (West Mountain 2) to the north peak is 3.8 km. This mountain takes on more significance when one realizes that it comes in at number 74 on the Utah's Top 100 Prominence List with 2,134 ft of prominence (in the United States 2000 feet (610 m) of prominence has become an informal threshold that signifies that a peak has major stature).
RoutesThere is really no sense in "climbing" the north peak of this mountain as one can use the well maintained gravel road to simply drive to its summit. However the highest peak, West Mountain 2, at the south end of the mountain is worth hiking to as it does not have a well maintained road to its summit.
To climb the West Mountain 2 peak follow the "getting there" directions below, and then route find up in a westerly direction to the ridge, turn north and follow the ridge to the peak.
It’s a pleasant stroll from the West Mountain 2 peak to the north peak along a seemingly unmaintained dirt road. The distance between the peaks can be covered in about an hour of walking.
Getting ThereTo summit the highest peak from the south end of the mountain, make your way to the town of Payson Utah located along Interstate 15. If coming from Salt Lake City travel south along I-15 for about 60 miles to the first Payson exit (Exit 250). Turn left onto UT-115/S 3200 W/N Main street. Continue going south on main street for a couple of blocks to the traffic light and turn right (west) onto 100 N. 100 N will quickly curve left so that you are again traveling south at which point you will take the first right onto West Utah Ave. Utah Ave will take you west under the Interstate and toward West Mountain. After a mile or so the road crosses railroad tracks and curves left (south) and then right as it continues to take you west toward the clearly visible West Mountain. As you get close to your destination you will notice the Payson City dump directly south of the mountain. Head toward the dump but instead of entering the dump take the dirt road which parallels the dump road. At this point you are at the south end of West Mountain and you can use any of the various ATV roads to get you as close to the mountain as possible. When you can no longer drive, see the routes section above.
To drive to the top of the North Peak exit I-15 at Spanish Fork, Utah and head south toward downtown. At the third traffic light turn right on 400 North and head west toward the mountain. After a couple of miles the road comes to a four-way stop at Lake Shore. Continue straight and the road will take a sharp right turn after another couple of miles. Take the first left immediately after the sharp right. The sign will point toward Lincoln Beach. Follow this road out to the base of the mountain. As you parallel the base of the mountain you will see a series of telephone poles to your left. The wires will then cross over the road to your right. At the second telephone pole on your right turn left onto the gravel mountain road. It is then a rough, bouncy trip for 5.5 miles up to the top.
Red TapeYou shouldn’t encounter any red tape on this mountain. However you should be aware that the mountain is littered with plastic shoot gun shell casings implying that a lot of shooting goes on in the area. Also you may have to share the mountain with ATV enthusiasts.
West Mountain is not an ideal place to camp as water is not readily available, however (at the time of writing) there are no known legal restrictions to camping. Additionally there are no formal campgrounds near the mountain but there are motels in the nearby towns of Payson and Spanish Fork.