Known as Monument Peak until 1890, at 11,307 feet, Brian Head Peak is the highpoint of Iron County, Utah. The mountain lies on the west rim of the Markagunt Plateau, and is located within the Dixie National Forest.
Although a good dirt road can be followed nearly all the way to the wide, flat summit, the mountain also hosts a number of trails, most of them intended for mountain bike enthusiasts.
Native Americans once crafted arrowheads out of the rocks found on and around the mountain’s summit.
Located east of Cedar City, Utah, Brian Head the peak, as well as Brian Head the town, are popular ski destinations in the winter. For that reason, Brian Head Peak sees visitors all year round.
Total cream puffs wanting to take a run at the peak in winter can even ride the highest ski lift (10,920 feet) on the mountain to within a few hundred feet of the top. Talk about easy!
In the summer and fall, bird watchers also enjoy looking for bald eagles, peregrines and prairie falcons, to name a few, from the mountain’s summit gazebo, a wood and stone structure built by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1935-1937.
Summit views are expansive, including vistas into the neighboring states of Arizona and Nevada.
Other area attractions include the impressive Cedar Breaks National Monument, a Bryce-esque spot certainly deserving of a stop-by.
Although there are a number of ways, I’ll describe the way I got there.
Exit I-15 in Parowan, Utah and head east on highway 143, following prominent signage up the paved road into the mountains to Brian Head (the town).
Passing through town and by the ski area, continue toward Cedar Breaks National Monument. As you do, you’ll note Brian Head Peak above and to the left (east/southeast - it’s the one with the ski runs on it).
Following signage (and the road) on the south side of town, you’ll soon encounter a gravel road (the Brian Head Vista Road) that will take you to the summit area in 3 miles or so.
Alternately, you can leave I-15 at Cedar City, Utah and head east on highway 14 for fifteen miles to highway 148.
Turning left, pass through Cedar Breaks National Monument (worth a visit, anyway), then turn left onto highway 143.
A short way (about a mile) later, hang a right onto the Brian Head Vista Road.
From the end of the Brian Head Vista Road, you can walk a few hundred feet to the gazebo-like summit structure. The actual highpoint is just beyond it.
***On November 18, 2008, Moogie737 added: "As of today (November 18, 2008) there is no sign marking the gravel road. It is, by my Honda Pilot odometer, 8/10 of a mile past mile marker 17."
The Hardman Option
You can reach the summit of Brian Head Peak from just about any direction with very little effort, but here’s what I did:
Follow the Brian Head Vista Road for about 2 miles or so from the paved highway to the sharpish hairpin bend in the road. At this point, you’ll be at about 11,000 feet, and a bit northeast of the peak.
Park somewhere around here.
Look for a trail that parallels the road above it, heading south/southwest.
Following the trail for awhile, you’ll likely get a little bored and realize that you might as well just cross-country it straight up to the top.
Doing that, you’ll be at the summit (or somewhere near it) in no time.
The total effort involves something like 2 miles (that’s roundtrip) and 400 feet of gain.
They say this is about the easiest county highpoint in Utah. I’m not in a position to argue.
When to Climb
Brian Head Peak can be hiked and climbed year round.
None that I know of.
There are a number of campgrounds and hotels in the Brian Head area. They are not hard to find.
One of the area campgrounds, the Cedar Breaks National Monument Campground, is only a few minutes' drive from the mountain.
Directions to and information on the Cedar Breaks campground and other campgrounds in the area can be found here
a link to some of the hotels found in Brian Head, such as the Brian Head Resort.
for the Brian Head area.