My boys, Keith and Christopher, and I camped on the east side of Lower Red Castle Lake and hiked up and over Smith's Fork Pass and cut our own trail toward the base of King's Peak. From there it was navigating switchbacks to Anderson Pass and up the rock scramble to the peak. The round-trip hike was ~20 miles, but the views up top were spectacular!
With Bonnie and Biscuit
We started with a party of eight but only three of us made it to the top from a combination off illness and lack of preparation. It was my second attempt after a failed attempt in 2016.
My 2nd Utah county high point
Backpacked King's peak over the course of three days.
Beautiful approach; relatively flat the whole way until you get to the base of the peak and then minor scrambling.
Came in from Henrys Fork with some work buddies. Camped at Dollar Lake got up early, well somewhat early around 8 and began making our way to the summit. We took the shortcut after Gunsight Pass, which I found to be in our benefit. Made our way over to the saddle and began the ascent to the top. The views were just as good as I remembered from the first time I made it 2 yrs ago.
We chilled at the top for about 30 min. I was trying to talk someone into getting Gilbert with me but had no takers. So I headed down with Gilbert in my sights. As soon as I reached the base it began to hail like mad so I huddled in my jacket and began to double time it to Gunsight Pass. Once there after falling on my back end down the hillside, the hail stopped. I headed straight down Gunsight Pass instead of taking the switchbacks down, which was way easier than I thought.
Back on the trail, I picked a gully to shoot up instead of going all the way around Dollar to summit Gilbert. This was slow going as Talus was all around and the pitch had to be 65 degrees. Onto the open field, I spotted Gilbert and Gunsight Peak, I was wanting to be greedy and get them both, but the weather looked shady so I jogged, literally to Gilbert.
The weather did swoop in on me and the skies began to flash, feeling a bit timid I made a quick shelter next to a big boulder. I knew this really wouldn't do much, but it made me feel a bit better. After about 20 min I grabbed hold and began to jog again toward Gilbert. I suggest heading up the left side, which I did not and suffered from it. At the top the views were great and the clouds seemed like I could reach up and grab a handful to put in my pocket.
After I enjoyed the views I saw another storm coming in so I began my way back down, this time going down the north-west side. Once down on the open field again I must have passed the ridge to take me to Dollar because I ended up behind that ridge which was behind Dollar. Oh well, I went around the mound and found a light trail once I was on the North side of the mound. The storm started to flash again and this time it brought thunder so off again to the jogging, which resulted in me splitting my shin open no more than 5 min into jogging on wet pine needles.
After cursing at the pine needles and the sharp rock I fell on for a minute, I found the light trail again, which I must say was rather beautiful for how secluded it was. I made my way around and spotted Dollar, heading south of it and towards the trail I ran right into my camp. Ahh yes, camp, arriving back around 5 I crawled into my hammock and just in time as the rain began to fall.
It felt good to grab both peaks in a day.
Nice 3 days hike & camping. Regular afternoon rain & hail & lighting
Kings was the easy part, South Kings was tedious and Henry's Fork Peak was a fun finish.
Climbed Kong’s peak a few years ago via Henry’s fork campground. We thought about taking the chute below Anderson pass but changed our minds when we got to the base of it and went around through gunsight pass and around the side of the high point on the ridge to Anderson pass to the top. Great hike/scramble but a little long for me at the time
Summited on my 45th birthday with Liam Grover, Brandon Stanger, Jackson Stanger and Kaden Robinson. Beautiful day via the standard Henry's Fork Route. Climbed Gilbert Peak the next day. Great birthday!
Made it a leisurely 3-day/2-night trip. Camped about 1/4-mi from Dollar Lake. Easier to find summit if you stay on the ridge. Great weather and beautiful views.
What a beautiful hike! We had rain snow/hail on first day attempt and retreated to camp, next day was much better. That said...be prepared for anything at this altitude. The rock fields from the saddle to the summit were very difficult to cross, wouldn't want to be on them when slick. Saw chicks in shorts freezing their ass off and people in chintzy rain parkas...again...be prepared!
First real hike, great first experience at altitude.
Took "the chute" down. 100% would do again
Went up the traditional route and then high-tailed it up Anderson Pass. Spent 30 minutes at the summit, and then got back down to the car at almost sun down. Great time. I need to do it again.
Left a full trip report, solo day hike from Henry's Fork. A unique region and a gorgeous mountain.
We were impressed by the vast basins in contrast to many ranges. It's a gorgeous setting well worth the trip. We descended the Henry the 8th Couloir. We wouldn't recommmend ascent, like the former King, it's too loose.
Headed up the day before and camped south of Dollar Lake with my wife and in-laws. Tons of Boy Scout troops around but we still found seclusion. Headed up toward Gunsight in the morning around eight. Contoured around West Gunsight then up toward Anderson Pass. Hit the ridge and started feeling short of breath so we took it slow. Bagged the peak with thirty of our closest friends right as a thunderstorm pummeled Henrys Fork to the North. Feeling a bit brazen we continued onto South Kings, bagged it, then came back up to Kings. We then descended down the ridge to the chute. Slid down the chute only to be greeted by a deafening thunder clap from a lightning bolt that was probably a quarter mile away. Fortunately that was the last of our major excitement for the day as we made our way back to camp. Back to the trailhead today (Aug. 5th).
Typical hike up from Henry's Fork Trailhead. Scrambled up the east face directly instead of the north ridge from Anderson Pass, which was a fun variation and took not too long at all. No one else on this route, but saw some people on the summit. Mt. Lovenia beckons...
We climbed Kings Peak via the popular Henry's Fork Trail. A lot has been written on this subject, but I'll add a few thoughts that should be helpful to first timers. After reading the route description on the main page, we were concerned about crowds. Despite hiking on July 4th weekend, there were far less hikers on the trail than on any other of the 25 state high points we have hiked, except perhaps Borah Peak in Idaho. The reason is obvious: hiking Kings is a long slog requiring backpacking and overnighting at least one night.
Although we did the trip in two days, an extra day would have made the hike more pleasant. Most trip reports recommend camping at Dollar Lake or Henry's Fork Lake, on the near side of Gunsight Pass. That would work OK for a 3-day trip, but you really need to hike farther on Day One if you plan to complete Kings in 2 days. We climbed over Gunsight Pass and down into the upper Painters Basin to establish our camp. There, we were treated to the spectacular scenery (which is reminiscent of the interior of Iceland) and only one neighbor, whose tent was barely visible. Take note of the weather. In our case, we barely set up camp before a huge thunderstorm rolled through, lasting at least 90 minutes.
One important consideration when hiking Kings is that the length of the trail means you will be exposed to high elevations (between 9400 and 13500 feet) for days, not just hours. This means that lowlanders like me who haven't acclimatized to the high altitude may suffer altitude sickness even if they don't typcially on high point day hikes in the Rockies. (Altitude sickness is not just a function of height above sea level but also the length of exposure, with the onset of symptoms often delayed.)
Another obvious issue that I unfortunately minimized in my planning was how much carrying a 30 lb. backpack adds to the difficulty of the hike versus the typical day pack. This argues in favor of making Kings a 3-day hike rather than a 2-day hike, both because you can shorten the required hike each day and because you can leave your tent and other heavy belongings on the south side of Gunsight pass rather than lugging them up and over into Painter's Basin (and back) as we did. This is no minor consideration when fighting altitude sickness, as each of our party did at various points on the hike.
Hikers should beware that the trail signage on Kings is minimal and paint blazes non-existent. Rock cairns exist in certain areas, but it is quite easy to lose the trail once you exit the meadows of Henry's Fork Basin and head up Gunsight Pass. Generally, the direction you want to head is obvious, so you can usually relocate the trail in fairly short order. However, in certain places, such as the descent back into Painter's Basin, it is very easy to make a wrong turn and end up too far South and at the very bottom of the basin. Once there, you either must scramble through heavy brush and swamps or reverse course entirely and hike back up towards Anderson Pass to find where you made the wrong turn (an unwelcome prospect after just completing the difficult bolder hopping scramble up the summit).
One of the nice things about the Henry's Fork approach, other than the absolutely gorgeous scenery, is that water is plentiful along the trail. Even in early July, there were ample snowfields feeding streams all over the mountain. We filtered the water and used iodine tablets to be safe. If you do this, also bring absorbed acid neutralizer tablets, which eliminate the taste of the iodine (but wait 30 minutes for the iodine to do its work).
One last word of caution: if you don't have a GPS navigation system, take careful note of how you get to Henry's Fork Campground so you know what turns to make on the way out. The campground is on a dirt service road well out of cell phone range. If you finish at dark and try to feel your way back to I-80, you will end up navigating a maze of nameless dirt roads in the pitch black of the Utah/Wyoming wilderness with nothing more than your I-phone compass to guide you. (Spoken from experience!)