When snow blankets the Wasatch or you yearn for something a little different, this little mountain range waits for a visit. Close enough to easily visit in a day from Salt Lake City but short enough North of Delta Utah and west of Little Sahara Recreation
area is a neat moderate sized mountain area known as the Desert Mountain range. The highpoint of the range, Desert Mountain
has a prominence of 1270 which is enough to qualify as one of Utah's 359 peaks
that have over 1,000 feet of prominence. It comes in at #206 on that list and that is enough of an enticement to lure those of us who are interested in chasing after this strange measure of a mountain.
One neat thing about this mountain is that you most likely will have it all to yourself since it is rarely visited by those who want to hike or climb in the area. You'll see 4 wheel drive vehicles and ATV'ers on a weekend but not many even then. It is just too far out for most. I saw this mountain area for the first time when I made a drive out to visit Keg Mtn
, located another 15 miles to the west.
From Salt Lake City or elsewhere, the best way to get to this mountain is by getting on highway 6 and heading for the Little Sahara turnoff. From the highway it is two miles to the Little Sahara turnoff and another 22 miles from there to Desert Mountain.
This is BLM and as far as I know there is no red tape.
No formal campground other than the one found at Little Sahara. You can camp in the area as there are many spot near the pass that have flat areas and fire rings from previous campers. No water or toilet facilities and it is strongly recommended that campers use the "leave no trace" ethics and remember to haul out their own garbage (and any other garbage they might see).
Weather ( Delta - closest resource) Route(s)I believe the easiest way to climb this mountain is from the south but since I did it from the west, I will share that information. Just north of the peak I found a 4 WD road that led me to the west side but unless you have a high clearance vehicle, I'd recommend that you study the map and go up from the south side. From the west side, I parked my truck at the 5300 foot level
(nad 27 lat/long 39.7897 -112.6063) by following a rough track to this point.
From where I parked my vehicle the summit was about one mile away and 1100+ feet higher. I could see my route all the way to the rocky summit and found
that a small dry watercourse aided my speedy ascent for about 1/3rd of the distance. Class 2 with proper routefinding. See map (to be posted)
Round trip: 2.25 miles Elevation gain 1180'
SP member byates added this route commentary on his preferred route, from the North:
My preferred route starts on the North end of the main ridge climbing to the Summit following the ridge as much as possible, then I drop to the east with some rather challenging but fun scrambling to the road and walk north back to the cars, I've organized at least a half dozen Wasatch Mountain club trips out there, may do another November 09.
Sam Grant has posted his GPS track at peakbagger.com
My favorite part of a summit visit in the Utah desert are the views. This peak had a central Benchmark and two witness markers but no register.
Flora and fauna
I saw a lot of evidence that deer frequent the area but not much else. Some juniper trees and scrub like brush and grasses along with a few flowers help this mountain to live up to its name: Desert Mountain
SP member MikerHiker
went by this range in early January and I have posted a couple of his pictures here to give you an idea of what it looks like at that time of year
Greg's nice shot south
Wintertime climb: See this trip report
containing pics and map on Eric Willhite's web site.