Cooks Mesa is a wide ledge/small plateau that rises several hundred vertical feet on the north side of Route 24 just outside the western boundaries of Utah’s Capitol Reef national Park. On the north side of Cooks Mesa, cliffs rise another several hundred feet to a higher and bigger plateau known as Meeks Mesa. A beaten path starts on Route 24 and goes to Cooks Mesa where after 1.5 miles, it reaches a steep boulder filled gully that can be climbed to reach the top of Meeks Mesa.
I did not see any signs for where this hike starts. From the intersections of Route 24 and 12 in eastern Torrey, Utah, drive 3.3 miles east on Route 24 and turn onto a dirt road on the north side of the road. This dirt road sits at a turn at the “northernmost part of Route 24 in that area”. I saw many people camping on that dirt road.
The roundtrip hike described here is 5 miles long going from 6500 ft to 7600 ft.
The start of the beaten path is at an unsigned spot as noted on the map above. The path climbs a colorful dirt slope to reach the top of Cooks Mesa.
Views of Route 24 and Boulder Mountain (which is a big plateau and not a mountain) to the south.
Colorful canyons below Cooks Mesa.
Cliffs of Meeks Mesa rising above Cooks Mesa.
Petrified wood and other interesting rock on Cooks Mesa.
Other views from Cooks Mesa.
You will then reach the steep gully that can lead you to the top of Meeks Mesa. I did not see any signs but a beaten path left the main path and went up a dirt slope toward the gully.
Follow cairns among the boulders up the gully.
Near the top of the gully.
Views from the top of Meeks Mesa.