Miners Basin

Page Type: Route
Lat/Lon: 38.53910°N / 109.227°W
Route Type: Scramble
Time Required: Most of a day
Difficulty: Class 2+


SP member Grandwazoo's updated directions (the access road-but not hiking route has changed since our visit): Drive north out of Moab on U.S. Highway 191 for 2.3 miles. Just before crossing the Colorado River, turn right (east) on Utah Highway 128, which runs right next to the Colorado, with beautiful views of the river as well as the redrock canyon walls. In about 15 1/2 miles, turn right at the signs to Castle Valley and LaSal Loop Road. At 10.7 miles you'll reach a junction, turn right or south onto LaSal Loop road. Follow the LaSal loop road south for 4.5 miles to the Miner's Basin road, turn left. A 4WD high-clearance vehicle is required, but this area is moderately popular and the road is used often. It is 3 miles to the road's end. There is a pond, parking lot, and outhouse in Miner's Basin.

Route Description

Either walk or drive the Miners Basin Road to the trailhead near the pond. There are several route choices from here. Perhaps the easiest route choice is via the mining track that ends on the ridge just south of Peak 12,163 (12,185 on some maps). Note that this place is a maze of old mining roads and tracks, and that the topo map is completely inaccurate.You still will need to consult the topo map on this route. Perhaps the best choice from the pond is to head straight along an old mining road for about .3 miles. The road splits; turn right (south). The mining track is marked as "pack trail" on the topo map. There are more tracks than are shown on the map, but stay on the main track for .35 miles. The route can be confusing, so pay close attention to the map. The main track actually goes over a pass; don't follow it. The track/trail divides several times, always stay on the one closest to the creek. The track makes a sharp switchback, and another minor mining track heads back down the slope. This track (heading down) can make a quicker alternate route back to the trailhead on the return trip. From the switchback, follow the track to the pass south of Peak 12,163 (12,185 on some maps), ignoring the branch to the north. From here head along the ridge north and to the summit of Peak 12,163. Then follow the ridge northeast dropping 300 feet to a saddle and continuing northeast to the summit of Waas. There is much boulder-hopping along the way. This route is 3.5 miles one way with over 3,000 feet total altitude gain. In winter or spring, the route is easier to describe. In this case, you can tackle the southwest ridge of Peak 12,163 more directly, skipping all the switchbacks. Such was the case on our visit.

Essential Gear

A good pair of boots is needed.