Marsh Peak

Page Type
Trip Report
Location:
Utah, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Sep 5, 2017
Activities:
Hiking
Season:
Summer
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Marsh Peak
Created On: Oct 20, 2017
Last Edited On: Oct 21, 2017

Overview

My wife and I could not find a good place to stay in Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area where I wanted to do several days of hiking. Instead, we rented a house in the community of Dry Fork 10 miles to the northwest of Vernal, Utah. While this created long daily drives to and from Flaming Gorge, it put me very close to some of the high peaks of the Uinta Mountains. I had to climb at least one peak. The two most accessible peaks were the 12028 ft Leidy Peak and the 12240 ft Marsh Peak. Leidy Peak required more of a drive and less of a hike so I decided to climb Marsh Peak.

Marsh Peak is the highest peak in the eastern part of the Uinta Mountains. Its eastern and southern slopes are gentle. To the north, steep slopes go down to reach a nameless lake at 10820 ft. A network of abandoned logging roads can be followed to reach the upper slopes of Marsh Peak.



Trip Report

Starting Point Elevation: 9680 ft
Summit Elevation: 12240 ft
Roundtrip Hiking Distance: 10.3 miles

Left the vacation rental house in Dry Fork Utah (elevation 6700 ft) at 6:30 a.m. (sunrise was 6:55 a.m.) and went on Red Cloud Loop Road which took me into Dry Fork Canyon. Pavement ended but the road surface remained smooth. Over the last couple of days, I had seen the upper walls of the canyon from the house that we were staying at.

The road made a number of switchbacks and went up the walls of the canyon to reach a forested plateau at around 9200 ft elevation. For the next many miles, the road remained in the forest. Only in one or two places, from behind the trees I was able to get quick glimpses of distant bald rounded domes that were probably Marsh Peak and its neighbors.

In less than 20 miles, I reached the junction with Forest Road 27. I had planned to start my hike at that junction but saw that Road 27 seemed to be well graded so I turned onto it and drove a mile or so to reach the junction of Road 17 where I parked. I started my hike at 7:25 a.m. hiking up Road 27 in the forest. Free roaming cattle were mooing in the forest. Sometimes they did not moo per se, they made a loud strange sound as if a monster was on the loose in the woods.

Start of my hikeStart of my hike


For the next mile or so, Road 27 continued to remain well graded. Had I continued to drive, I could have shortened my hike by 2-3 miles. At a place where the forest opened up, the big dome of marsh Peak came to view.

Marsh PeakMarsh Peak


The road quality slowly deteriorated until it eventually looked more like a trail. Nameless roads branched off here and there. I had looked at satellite photos and knew which path to follow. The path continued to remain in the forest going up in elevation slowly and occasionally giving me views of Marsh Peak.

Marsh PeakMarsh Peak
Trail in forest


After 3.3 miles, at 8:40 a.m. and 10600 ft, I reached the start of a well-marked trail. A forest service ATV was there but I did not see a single person all day long.

Start of trailStart of trail


I left the road (which supposedly went downhill after that spot to reach Ashley twin Lakes) and began to hike up the trail. In one spot, a small cow was standing right in the middle of the trail with two bigger ones (one of which was presumably its mother) not far away in the forest. It did eventually get concerned and moved away as I continued on the trail.

Blocking the trail


At around 10850 ft, the forest thinned out and then quickly went away. Marsh Peak appeared as a big hill in front of me. It looked like I was almost there but I knew that looks were deceiving. I still had 1400 vertical feet to climb.

Marsh Peak from treelineMarsh Peak
TreelineTreeline


The trail actually did not go to the summit of Marsh Peak so I left it and went directly up the slopes toward the summit. The walls of Point 12142 ft came to view to the north.

Point 12142 ft and its cliffsPoint 12142 ft


Over the last 3 days that I had been in Dry Fork, Utah, the air had appeared very smoky hazy making the views dark and blurred (these pictures have been brushed up with Corel Paint Shop). I was however thankful that it had remained sunny.
Ashley Twin Lakes to the north/northeast.

Ashley Twin LakesAshley Twin Lakes


Continuing up the grassy and boulder covered slopes.

Below the summit
Below the summit


The slope gradually eased up until I reached the summit, which was a huge flat boulder covered area at 10:15 a.m. To the north, nasty steep slopes went down into a basin created by Marsh Peak and Point 12124 ft. A lake sat at the bottom of the basin at 10820 ft.

Lake 10820 ft & Ashley Twin LakesLake 10820 ft


Other summit views (I did not bother to investigate the structure on the summit, probably a weather/communications station or something).

Point 12142 ft & Leidy PeakPoint 12142 ft & tip of Leidy Peak
Looking northwestLooking northwest
Untermann PeakUntermann Peak
Structures on the summit of Marsh Peak


Had my lunch, enjoyed the views and left at 10:45 a.m. retracing my path down the mountain. Looking east into the haze and glare of the sun.

starting my descent, just below the summit


Back in the trees.

Treeline


Trail in the forest.

Trail in the forest
Road 27 in the forest


Hiking the long road and view of Marsh Peak behind.

Marsh PeakMarsh Peak


Reached the car at 1:20 p.m. stopped in a couple of places in Dry Fork Canyon to take pictures.

Dry Fork CanyonDry Fork Canyon
Dry Fork CanyonDry Fork Canyon


Was home by 2:20 p.m. Walls of Dry Fork Canyon from backyard.

Walls of Dry Fork CanyonDry Fork Canyon from backyard






Comments

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Viewing: 1-5 of 5
BobSmith

BobSmith - Oct 22, 2017 7:19 pm - Voted 10/10

Nice.

Looks like a nice, leisurely type of hike. Too bad the air quality sucked. Must have been from forest fires?

nader

nader - Oct 23, 2017 8:49 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice.

Thanks for looking and commenting,

I don't know what that smog was from. Flying from Chicago to Salt Lake City, there seemed to be a dark cloud of haze all the way from Iowa to Utah. You think somebody would say something about it in the news but I did not hear anything.

Scott

Scott - Oct 24, 2017 6:29 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Nice.

It was definitely the forest fires. Most of the Western US was very hazy/smokey that weekend, including in Colorado, where we were.

Scott

Scott - Oct 24, 2017 6:32 pm - Voted 10/10

Old radio tower

"I did not bother to investigate the structure on the summit, probably a weather/communications station or something"

If you are curious, it's an old helicopter serviced radio/communications tower that was put in there in the early to mid 1980's. It has been abandoned for years.

nader

nader - Oct 24, 2017 8:33 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Old radio tower

Thanks

Viewing: 1-5 of 5