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.
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 right here on the trail posted for Timothy Lakes. Continue along the trail (which can be wet in places) to another junction after another 1.75 miles. Turn right again, staying on the trail posted for Timothy Lakes. East Timothy Lake is reached after 1.2 miles. The lake makes a good base camp and is at 11,000 feet elevation and is about 9.7 miles from the trailhead.
There are several possible routes up Mount Emmons from the Timothy Lakes Basin. All are very steep. The route described here is just one possibility. From East Timothy Lakes, aim for the pass NW of Emmons and marked 12,567 on the topo map. The pass is in full view the whole way, so route-finding is not a problem. You will pass through intermitted beautiful meadows, stunted timber patches, and swampy areas before reaching the base of the steep ridge. One the base of the ridge is reached, scramble up the very steep boulder-strewn ridge to the pass. Expect much boulder-hopping. Once the pass is reached, scramble along the ridge to the summit. The total distance from the lake to the summit is 2.75 miles with 2440 feet elevation gain, but the last part up to the pass is very steep.
The total distance from the trailhead to the summit is about 25 miles round trip with 5440 feet elevation gain.
This route usually takes about 3 days round trip.
Mt. Emmons (2nd from the left) from across the Swift Creek.
A good pair of boots is needed.