Durffey Mesa

Page Type
Mountain/Rock
Location:
Utah, United States, North America
Activities:
Hiking, Scrambling
Season:
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Elevation:
6848 ft / 2087 m
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Durffey Mesa
Created On: Nov 22, 2011
Last Edited On: Feb 24, 2018

Overview


 

Slickrock Dome

 


 

Sugarloaf

 

About a mile out of Boulder, the Burr Trail enters an area characterized by beautiful slickrock domes and winds among them for about six miles before descending to Burr Creek and approaching the spectacular sandstone walls of Long Canyon. To the best of my knowledge, only three of these domes have official names: Boulder BM, Sugarloaf, and Durffey Mesa. All, named and unnamed, large and small, offer scrambling routes ranging from easy (2+, which some call clambering instead of scrambling) to challenging (Class 4/5). The slopes take on an otherworldly glow at sunset and dawn, and they are littered with minerals and volcanic-looking boulders.

The higher and much longer southern neighbor of Sugarloaf, Durffey Mesa (I had no luck finding out anything about the name) stretches for about four miles but is rather narrow up top (nothing even close to precarious, but surprisingly narrow considering the length of the formation). The highpoint is close to Sugarloaf and at the northern end, but the best views might be from the southern end and slopes, where the scenery will feature mostly slickrock and not the ranches and farms around Boulder. From below, the summit appears to be heavily wooded, but it is not as dense as it appears. However, there are no views to speak of from the highpoint; the good views are found at the rim of the summit plateau.

Elevation Note: Maps put Sugarloaf at 6942' and Durffey Mesa at 6848'. However, it is very clear from Durffey that Sugarloaf is lower. I never bothered carrying a GPS device up either peak and thus cannot give any corrected information.

Route

You can drive along and pick any of a number of routes along sections where the angles are lower. Once you find a suitable line, the main route obstacle is a low cliff band guarding the summit plateau; this band is just high enough to impede easy progress, and you will have to scramble up it somewhere (no easier than Class 3 and likely harder) or find a rare break that allows easier passage (with some disappointment, I located a Class 2+ break).

Elevation gain will be around 600', and more-direct lines to the highpoint will be about half a mile.

It also looks possible to follow a route from the saddle between Durffey Mesa and the southern subpeak of Sugarloaf, but that route looks steeper and more challenging than the way I went.


 
Durffey Mesa-- On the Route

 

 
Durffey Mesa-- Upper Slopes

 

Durffey Mesa

 

Getting There


To use what is likely the most direct line(s) to the highpoint, use these directions: next to a cafe in Boulder, take the signed road for the Burr Trail, passing another cafe and some ranches until you reach the signed border of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The drive is not even five minutes. When you reach this point, Sugarloaf is on the right side of the road. Drive on for less than a mile. At the crest of a small rise, park on the shoulder across from a road heading east to some ranches and farms. Don't block the road.

Red Tape; Camping and Lodging

Red Tape

Red tape? No, not really. I can't imagine why someone might want to place bolts on this one, but that someone should know that placing new bolts is illegal.

Camping and Lodging

There is a developed campground some miles east along the Burr Trail, and dispersed camping is widely available throughout the monument. There are campgrounds both north and south along UT 12, the closest of which is probably the one at Calf Creek, a highly popular location that does live up to the raves.

There are a few lodging options in Boulder itself. The one that stands out is Boulder Mountain Lodge. The rooms at this resort-type setting are not cheap (in October 2010, high-season rates started at $120 per night), but they are very comfortable and the location is pretty unbeatable. There is an excellent restaurant on the property, and there are at least two other good dining options in town.

Sugarloaf and Durffey Mesa

 








Durffey Mesa

Mountain/Rock
10 Images 1 Climber's Log Entries 0 Comments 0 Additions & Corrections

Geography

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Parents

Grand Staircase-Escalante National MonumentMountains & Rocks