Mount Hillers is located in the remote Henry Mountains and is also known as the Middle Mountain. The Middle Mountain sits between Mount Ellen
and Mount Pennell
to the north and Mount Holmes
and Mount Ellsworth
to the south. Mount Hillers is named after John K.”Jack” Hillers
, a photographer of Powell’s Colorado River survey.
Great views of the flanks from our camp spot.
Hillers is one of the best areas in the Henry Mountains to see ‘flanks’, large structures of fractured and uplifted sandstone. The east and south faces are very rugged and have many of these flanks that fin out from the mountain in beautiful colors contrasting with the mountain. The Henry Mountains are very unique and have several distinct plant zones. The lower elevations support primarily salt desert plants. The intermediate zone is mostly juniper and pinyon pine, and the higher elevations have many varieties of timber. Unfortunately, in June of 2003, a human-caused fire engulfed more than 34,000 acres of habitat on the Henry Mountains, depositing ash and contributing to erosion that left evidence throughout the area. The fire spread on most of the north and northwest faces of Hillers but once you get to the top you will see the plentiful amount of trees that once thrived on the other slopes. Many volunteers worked on reviving the fire-scarred area.
To my surprise there was a seasonal creek
that we met up with as we followed an old washed out road. It was amazing to see this pristine creek in the middle of the arid desert. Depending on the time you hike this peak, you may see many tent caterpillar nests perched in the trees along Cass Creek.
The area also provides habitat for the only free-roaming herd of American bison
in the 48 contiguous United States. It is also home to mule deer, a small population of antelope, mountain lions, many game birds, cottontail and jackrabbits. In the lower areas there are lots of reptiles (including rattlesnakes) and small rodents.
The summit views are vast in every direction. Looking north you have a great view of Mount Pennell
. To the south you can see Mount Holmes
and Mount Ellsworth
. West, you can see the amazing Capitol Reef
area, with countless details in the terrain. And, east you can see Lake Powell and many of the canyons filled in by water. You can also see several of the other high mountains in the area, like the La Sal Mountains
, Abajo Mountains
, Navajo Mountain
, the Aquarius Plateau, and even Mount Nebo
This mountain comes in at #32 on "Utah's Top 100 Prominence List"
Getting ThereFrom Salt Lake City, UT:
Head south on I-15 for approximately 50 miles to the town of Spanish Fork, in Spanish Fork take US highway 6 towards Price. Follow US highway 6 to I-70. Take I-70 11 miles west to highway 24, exit to Lake Powell and Hanksville. Follow highway 24 south to Hanksville, then take highway 95 south for 26.5 miles to highway 276. Stay on highway 276 for 17 miles and then take a right onto a well-grated dirt road that heads toward Star Spring Campground. Follow this road for approximately 3.3 miles then you will take a left, this left is before the Starr Springs Campground, so if you run into the campground you have gone too far. Keep on this road for 2 miles and then take a right, headed towards Stanton Pass. Proceed 5.5 miles on this road, until you come to the “T” in the road, take a right here heading up to the pass. Drive another 3.3 miles toward Stanton Pass, you will see a faint old road that heads to the southeast, park here
. All of the dirt roads are well-grated and can easily be driven with a passenger car. GPS coordinates for start of hike: 37.9031 -110.7280 (WGS84)
It is possible to drive in from the east side, since the Stanton Pass road connects to highway 276, but I did not go this route. The driving distances on the dirt roads are practically the same.
Route DescriptionRound Trip Distance:
Begin your hike at the old 4x4 road that heads up into the canyon. Follow this faint road that becomes washed out and will eventually turn into (seasonal) Cass Creek. You will be on the road for 1.5 miles gaining almost 1,400 feet until the road ends. From the end of the road the brush and terrain become rough
going; make your way up the creek for 0.2 miles until the slope to your right (west) becomes less steep. From the creek to the bottom of the slope you will gain 350 feet. Make your way up the slope onto the north ridge, the slope will gain a little under 200 feet. Once on the ridge
the aspen will open up and will be less brushy. Follow this ridge for 0.8 miles for another 1,550 feet until you reach the summit. The ridge is steep but the majority of it is not rocky and has good footing, because there is no trail this route is Class 2. Here
is an overview of the hike highlighted in purple.
Seasonal Cass Creek
A convenient campground in this area is Starr Springs Campground. It is located 50 miles on highway 276 southwest of Hanksville, UT. Elevation is 6,300 feet. The season is 04/01-10/31. There are 27 RV sites and 12 tent sites, also a 14 day limit. The campground provides drinking water and flushing toilets.
Also, most of the area is BLM land which provides many great undeveloped camping
spots. Be sure to leave no trace. “Pack it in, pack it out.”
When To Climb
This area is fairly dry, so you can hike this peak any time of the year. December to February will probably have snow on the upper part of the mountain. The temperatures can reach over 100 degrees in the summer, so I would recommend spring or fall. I did this peak in late spring and it was very green and the seasonal Cass Creek made for a nice cool down on the way back to the car.
No permits are required. Please follow wilderness area rules.
Richfield Field Office
150 East 900 North
Richfield, Ut 84701
Fax (435) 896-1550
Forecast for the area can be found here
Local weather for Hanksville, Ut can be found here