Tokewanna Peak is an extremely remote peak, which is located in the High Uintas Wilderness Area, and is one of Utah's 13'ers (there are 17-21 of them, depending on the list). In 1979 the Utah Wilderness Association proposed a 659,000 acre High Uintas Wilderness. The Forest Service responded a year later with a 511,000 acre recommendation. In 1983 the Utah Wilderness Association succeeded in pushing the Utah congressional delegation to introduce a Utah Wilderness Bill. Emerging in 1984 was a 460,000 acres High Uintas Wilderness. Although smaller than the Forest Service recommendation, the creation of the High Uintas Wilderness marked a major wilderness stepping-stone.
The Uinta Mountains are one of the few mountain ranges in North America that run east to west rather than north to south. Within the Uinta Mountains are about 2000 lakes, and some 900-1000 are full of trout. Along with the San Juans in Colorado, the Uintas have more contiguous area above timberline than any other area in the Continental United States. This is a beautiful area with many lakes, meadows, wildflowers, and some rugged peaks. Solitude is usually easy to come by once you leave the popular fishing holes behind.
One thing that makes Utah's 13'ers different, then say the Colorado 14'ers, is that the distances from the nearest roads are usually much greater for the Utah 13'ers. Tokewanna is actually the closest 13'er in Utah to any road, but it is still over 15 miles from the nearest road round-trip.
From the conditions of the trail network and lack of summit markers this peak is visited infrequently, also due to the fact that these peaks still haven't caught on to the peak-bagging trends-yet. It still is one of the more visited 13'ers in Utah
From the horse troughs and trail conditions (roughness-stream fording) it would seem the trails see more horses than hikers on foot. A few of the stream crossings are wide, deep and have fast moving currents.
Tokewanna as seen from the south saddle at 12,350 looking northeast.
WEST FORK BLACKS FORK TRAILHEAD
From the traffic light in Kamas and the intersection of Route 248 and 32, head north 0.1 to SR 150 (Mirror Lake Highway). Turn Right onto SR 150 and follow for 49 miles to FR 058 aka "North Slope Road", turn right onto FR 058 (gravel road) and follow for 16 miles to the 4-way intersection with the West Fork Blacks Fork Road turning south. Turn right and follow the rough dirt road to where it crosses the river. It is highly recommended you park here, no matter what type of vehicle you own. The river crossing is very rough and driving through the meadows along the heavily rutted 4wd road is at best, environmentally insensitive, not to mention damaging to your vehicle.
MIDDLE FORK BLACKS FORK TRAILHEAD
From Kamas, drive on FR 048. Rather than turn right after 16 miles (see above), continue on the main road FR 048 and follow for 21.2 miles (From SR 150) to the intersection with another dirt road heading north-south. Turn right and follow the road a very short distance and to where it crosses the West Fork Blacks Fork River. Shortly after this, look for a minor turn-off on the right. Drive this short road to the trailhead.
EAST FORK BLACKS FORK TRAILHEAD
From the West
The driving route is the same as the route to the Middle Fork Trailhead, but instead of turning right just after crossing the West Fork Blacks Fork Trailhead, continue south for approximately 6 miles to the parking area at the East Fork Blacks Fork Camping area and trailhead.
From the North
Exit I-80 at exit 30 and head south on CR 207 for 7.9 miles to a “T”. Turn left onto CR 204 and follow southeast for 2.4 miles to another intersection. Turn right onto CR 271 and follow southerly for 15.2 miles to the Utah – Wyoming state line. Continue south following same road (FR073) for 2.7 miles to an intersection with FR058. Stay left or straight, continue on FR 058 for 0.7 miles to an intersection with FR 065. Stay Left here, 058 bears right at this intersection. Continue South on FR 065 for approximately 6 miles to the trailhead and campground.
Tokewanna as seen from the south saddle at 12,350 looking northeast.
West Fork Blacks Fork
There are several routes available. The shortest is to climb Tokewanna via the Northwest Ridge by using the Bear River-Smiths Fork Trail. There is no trail for most of the distance. Aternately, you can continue on the Bear River-Smiths Fork Trail to Middle Fork Blacks Fork and make the ascent from there. Still another route is to hike along West Fork Blacks Fork until west of peak 11,885 and then SE to saddle 11,512 and joining the Northwest Ridge Route I described. This is one of two routes to Tokewanna mentioned in the very new Utah Thirteeners book. Beyond here, the route will not be mentioned.
Middle Fork Blacks Fork
Middle Fork Blacks Fork is probably the most-used route to ascend Tokewanna. The trail still isn't used that much and can be hard to follow in places. The final ascent can be made from either Bobs Lake or the name-less lakes to the east. There is no trail beyond Bobs Lake.
East Fork Blacks Fork
There are several routes available. The route I took was up the Northeast Ridge and down via Middle Fork Blacks Fork to the Bear River-Smiths Fork Trail and then east to the trailhead. SP member Grandwazoo has added a completely different route by following the East Fork Blacks Fork River and approaching the peak from the east and finally over the south saddle. The book Utah Thirteeners mentions a route up the east ridge from East Fork Blacks Fork; a route I am unfamiliar with. This is the second of the two routes to Tokewanna mentioned in the book.
Tokewanna-NW Wasatch-Wasatch Ridge
If you want to knock off three 13'ers at once, this is your route. The route is rather rugged and can be exposed to the elements, so beware of thunderstorms.
Left to right: Tokewanna, NW Wasatch, Wasatch Peak.
No red tape for entering the Wasatch-Cache National Forest or the High Uintas Wilderness. Use Leave No Trace when hiking in the wilderness area.
This rustic campground is located in a grove of lodgepole pine and aspen. The campground is free of charge.
There are also plenty of backcountry campgrounds available, as well as many informal campsites along the road approaches.
Plenty of good backcountry campsites are available.
When to Climb
July through September is the normal climbing season. Since access roads are not open in the winter, winter ascents are almost never done and would take most climbers at least a week. Mike Kelsey made the first winter ascent of Wasatch Peak in March 1997 in five days, but he's a very fast climber.
Tokewanna on June 4 2005.
Information regarding the conditions of the forest roads to the trailhead - Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Evanston Ranger District, 1565 Highway 150, Box 1880, Evanston, WY 82931; (307) 789-3194.