Swift Creek, Milk Lake, East Ridge

Page Type
Utah, United States, North America
Route Type:
Long Hike, scramble
Time Required:
A few days
Class 3-4

Route Quality: 1 Votes

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Swift Creek, Milk Lake, East Ridge
Created On: Oct 11, 2005
Last Edited On: Oct 25, 2012


First drive to the town of Duchesne, which is along US Highway 40. From Duchesne, turn north onto State Highway 87. Follow State Highway 87 until it joins with State Highway 134 (this is where state Highway 87 heads due east instead of continuing north) between milepost 15 and 16. Follow State Highway 134 north to the little town of Mountain Home. Where State Highway 134 begins to head due east at Mountain Home, Continue north on the Moon Lake Road. After five miles, turn east on the Yellowstone River Road and to the Yellowstone River Power Plant. Continue along the Yellowstone River road to the trailhead at the end of the road, passing the Yellowstone River Dude Ranch and two campgrounds along the way.

Route Description

From the Swift Creek Trailhead, I would highly recommend that you not take the trail directly up Yellowstone Creek. The trail isn’t bad, but there are no views for many miles and at least a day or two. The trail is in a tunnel of timber the whole way and is more like hiking in the North Woods of Minnesota than the Rockies. The best way to climb West Gunsight Peak from the Swift Creek Trailhead, is to take the Swift Creek Trail to Farmers Lake and then Bluebell Pass, and then descend to Milk Lake.

From the trailhead (8000 feet elevation) at the Swift Creek Campground, follow the trail north. After just a short distance, you will reach a junction. Take a right here on the Swift Creek Trail. The trail switchbacks onto a ridge high above and to the west of Swift Creek so make sure to take plenty of water. After following the ridge for a few miles, the trail levels out and eventually reaches Swift Creek. The trail continues to follow Swift Creek, passing many beaver dams and ponds, crossing it twice on bridges before reaching Deer Lake, which is at 10,200 feet and 6 miles from the trailhead. After Deer Lake, continue on the trail and after .75 miles, you will come to a junction. Turn left and folow the trail past Farmers Lake and over Bluebell Pass, and then descend to Milk Lake. From Milk Lake, follow the base of the ridge to the east all the way to Anderson Pass. The route passes through many spectacular and beautiful alpine meadows full of wildflowers. There is no trail after Milk Lake, but the cross-country route is easy to find since there are open views and travel is not difficult. From Milk Lake, just continue contouring along the long and scenic bench, staying west of the Kings Emmons Ridge, South Kings Peak, and Kings Peak. One near Anderson Pass, climb up to the pass. If you head west a bit, it will be easier.

From Anderson Pass, Climb up the ridge to the northwest. At first there is some minor scrambling until you reach a sub-peak. Scramble around the south side of the sub-peak and climb the east ridge of Henrys Fork Peak. You can climb the spectacular ridge all the way to the summit. If you stay right on the ridgeline, there are some class 4 sections, but if you bypass some of the more rugged sections, the route is class 3+.

The route is about 40 miles round trip, and usually takes four days.

East ridgeEast Ridge of Henrys Fork Peak.

Essential Gear

Map, compass, and a good pair of boots is needed. This is about a 4 day trip so backpacking gear is needed as well.

Swift Creek, Milk Lake, East Ridge

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