Black Crook Peak is the highest in the Sheeprock Mountains and more impressive the highest out of 9 Central Utah Desert Ranges
The Sheeprock Mountains from the east, Black Crook Peak is the highpoint on the right with the rocky southeast ridge showing.
About an hour and half drive from Salt Lake City or Provo, Black Crook Peak offers solitude, excellent desert views and the challenging Southeast Ridge
, an easy class 3 scramble to the summit.
The Sheeprock Mountains are part of the Great Basin Desert
and located on the east extent. These mountains are about 50 miles (as the crow flies) west-southwest of Provo and more specifically Black Crook Peak is 9 miles southwest of Vernon, Utah. With the exception of the rocky southeast ridge, the majority of the range is rolling and does not have much rock showing.
The range is named after the Desert Bighorn Sheep
who live on and around the Sheeprock Mountains. This mountain range was also home to many underground mines. The mines, dating back to the 1870’s and operated as recently as World War II, yielded gold, silver, copper, tungsten, lead and iron. Most of the mines are now closed off to the public. Nowadays, Black Crook Peak and most of the Sheeprock Mountains are part of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest
; Aspen and various types of pines can be found throughout the range. "There is an F-16 fighter jet crash on the south face of Black Crook, but it is pretty hard to find."
Added by Scott Patterson
Black Crook Peak has 3074 feet of prominence
and is listed as #36
on Peakbagger.com’s list
, of Utah peaks with the most prominence.
If you are coming from the Provo area it is probably closer via the Provo driving route. Also, if coming from Provo you will pass through Eureka a neat ghost town
(just above Silver City on the map).
Some of these roads might not be labeled so use your odometer, Faust Road, Benmore Road and Harker Road were not labeled when I visited. The access road is passable for sedans to the start of the junipers (approx 6200 feet). From here on, the road gets a little rougher but is passable to high clearance vehicles. If you have a high clearance vehicle you will be able to continue another 2.5 miles and to the start
of the southeast ridge (approx 7200 feet).
To get to Black Crook Peak from Salt Lake City (83.5 miles) :
Head south on I-15 to the town of Lehi, where you will take State Highway 73 west. After following 73 for 25 miles you will go over Five Mile Pass, almost immediately after crossing the pass take a left onto Faust Road. There will be signs for the Pony Express Road also. Follow Faust road for 13.5 miles to where it ends at State Highway 36. Take a left onto 36 and head towards Vernon, after passing through Vernon, State Highway 36 takes a large bend and starts heading east. At 6.5 miles from Faust road, right after the bend there is a well-graded dirt road that heads south called Benmore Road. Follow Benmore road south for 5 miles where it ends at a T intersection, take a right on Harker Road. Continue on Harker Road for 2.8 miles, just before Harker Road bends and starts heading south, go straight through the cattle guard and keep on going east for as far as you can. If you have a high clearance vehicle, continue until you reach the Southeast Ridge
To get to Black Crook Peak from Provo (71.5 miles) :
Head south on I-15 to the town of Santaquin, where you will take State Highway 6 west 20 miles towards Eureka. Continue west past Eureka for 1.75 miles to highway 36 which breaks off and heads northwest. Continue on highway 36 for 20 miles towards Vernon, just before Vernon the road will have a large bend to the north, just before this bend take a left and head south on Benmore Road. Follow Benmore road south for 5 miles where it ends at a T intersection, take a right on Harker Road. Continue on Harker Road for 2.8 miles, just before Harker Road bends and starts heading south, go straight through the cattle guard and keep on going east for as far as you can. If you have a high clearance vehicle, continue until you reach the Southeast Ridge
The view from the summit is an extensive desert view. To the east are peaks of the Wasatch, Mount Timpanogos
and Mount Nebo
can easily be seen along with many other Wasatch peaks. To the northeast is Flat Top Mountain
and to the north is Deseret Peak
. Looking to the west and south is desert country with many smaller desert ranges in view. The sand dunes of Little Sahara Recreation Area
can also be seen to the south about 20 miles away.
I would recommend camping in the Sheeprock Mountains. Camping is allowed; there are several undeveloped camping spots as the access road enters the junipers, passable to sedans. Further into the canyon, passable to high clearance vehicles, are nicer undeveloped camping spots. Firewood and a seasonal water source are available here. Outside of this canyon there are many other excellent undeveloped camping spots in the various canyons in the Sheeprock Mountains.
The closest developed campground is the Clover Spring campground about 35 miles away from the access canyon. The Clover Spring campground has toilets and fishing but is a $4 fee to camp here. The campground is also located right off of highway 199, though the highway is not busy.
To get to the Clover Spring Campground from the access canyon :
Head east, out of the canyon and onto Harker Road going away from the Sheeprock Mountains for about 4 miles. Turn left onto Benmore Road and head north for 5 miles to highway 36. At highway 36 turn left, the road goes around the bend and begins heading north. Follow highway 36 for 18 miles towards Tooele, after 18 miles take a left onto highway 199. Follow highway 199 for 6 miles west, you will see the campground on the left.
When To Climb
Fall and spring are the best times to do this hike. However, this peak can be hiked anytime of the year. The range doesn’t get nearly as much precipitation as the nearby Wasatch and the Southeast Ridge
gets a lot of sun from the south during the winter months, therefore snow doesn’t accumulate too much, on the ridge. During the summer expect hot weather and bring plenty of water.
Red Tape & USGS Quads
No permits are required. Please follow wilderness area rules, as Black Crook Peak and most of the Sheeprock Mountains are part of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest
Erickson Knoll (1:24k)
Lookout Pass (1:24k)
Vernon, Utah (1:100k)
Local weather conditions for Vernon, Utah can be found here