OverviewWest Oweep peak is a stikingly red peak located on the main east/west crest of the Uinta Mountains of Utah, 8.4 miles west of Kings Peak, Utah's highpoint. At 12507' high and a prominence of 247' it ranks 64 on Scott's list of Utah 12000 footers with over 200 feet of prominence. It has no official name, only that which Scott dubbed it because it rises above the barren west Oweep basin to its south.
The following views are from the southeast.
The following views are from the west.
To the southeast along the ridge lies 12531' Oweep Peak and to the northwest lies South Blacks Fork Peak (12769'). The ridgeline extending to both of these peaks is gentle and is for the most part, easy walking. In the picture below, West Oweep Peak is the red peak in the middle. Both ridges are seen. The west ridge is in the front and the souteast ridge is leading away from the peak.
The north face of West Oweep Peak is very steep as shown in the picture on the left below. The south face is only moderately steep and is shown just right of middle in the picture on the right below.
I doubt West Oweep Peak gets climbed very often. As the crow flies, the nearest trailhead to the north is the East Fork Blacks Fork Trailhead, 8 miles away. The Lake Fork Trailhead located to the south is 14 miles away. However, it is only a short distance away from the Highline Trail, the premier hiking trail of the Uintas.
Getting ThereTake I80 to exit 34 in Wyoming and head to Fort Bridger. Go 5.3 miles to a blinking red light. Turn right on Wyoming state route 414 and go 3 miles to Wyoming state route 410. Follow 410 for 13 miles. First you will see a sign that says the pavement ends in 750 feet. Shortly you will see another sign for "Blacks Fork River Access Area" and then another one that says "Wasatch Nat'l Forest/Meeks Cabin 13". If you miss the signs, don't worry, the three sets of rumble strips should wake you up. Do as the signs say and turn left. The road you turn onto starts out paved but soon changes to dirt. Follow the main road 23.6 miles to the signboard (just past a gate) for the East Fork Blacks Fork Trail. The trail start is just before the signboard. There is no parking right at the trail start. Instead, continue on the road for just a few feet and turn right and then left into the parking lot.
On the Wyoming side, the dirt road is beautifully graded and maintained and you can make good time. Once it crosses the Utah border it gets noticeably worse and once it passes the intersection with the dirt road headed for the Mirror Lake Highway, it gets worse still. It's somewhat rocky but is fine for passenger cars if you go slow.
Normal wilderness area restrictions apply. Check the signboard at the trailhead for the most uptodate information.
There is a free campground at the East Fork Blacks Fork Trailhead. There are 7 official sites all of which have fire pits. Four of these have picnic tables and three do not. Even on weekends, I've seen at most three sites in use. There is no water so you need to bring your own.
If you choose to backpack, you should have no problem finding a spot along either the Little East Fork Blacks Fork Trail or the East Fork Blacks Fork Trail.
When to climb
If you want to avoid snow, mid July through the beginning of September are the best months. Creek crossings will be significantly easier later in the summer. The dirt road leading to the East Fork Blacks Fork Trailhead is not plowed in the winter.
Routes OverviewBlacks Fork Ridge Loop
A nice loop hike can be made which climbs West Oweep Peak plus 5 other 12000 footers in one day. Start on the East Fork Blacks Fork Trail and head for the north ridge of Northwest Blacks Fork Peak. Head south on the ridge and hit Northwest, North, Central, and South Blacks Fork Peaks to the main east/west crest of the Uintas which is reached on South Blacks Fork Peak. From South Blacks Fork Peak head southeast down the main ridge and follow this ridge over West Oweep Peak (12507') and Oweep Peak (12531'). Descend to the Little East Fork Trail and follow it back to the East Fork Trail which is followed back to the start. The route is 21.3 miles long with a total of 6100 feet of elevation gain. It is primarily class 1 and class 2 with some short minor class 3 sections.
The first five peaks of the route are shown in the pictures below.
Although West Oweep Peak is a long way from a trailhead, it is less than 2 miles from the Highline Trail. One possible loop from the Highline Trail is shown at the left. In addition to going over West Oweep Peak, it covers South Blacks Fork Peak (12507), and Oweep Peak (12531') as well . Most of the way along the ridgeline is fairly easy walking, but it gets a little rugged around Oweep Peak and may be cumbersome with a full backpack. The descent from Oweep Peak to Squaw Pass is very steep and would be difficult with a heavy pack.
The off-trail section is shown in blue and is 4.69 miles long. The trail section is shown in red and is 3.05 miles long for a total of 7.74 miles. The total elevation gain is 2650 feet.
A typical summer day in the Uintas dawns without a cloud in the sky. By mid morning faint wisps of clouds are seen on the horizon. By midday the sky is half full of big puffy clouds. In the afternoon the sky is mostly overcast and possibly raining, but by early evening blue sky makes a comeback. Afternoon thunderstorms are frequent.
Here is a link to the current 7 day forecast for West Oweep Peak.