West Ridge from Squaw Basin / Rock Lakes

Page Type
Utah, United States, North America
Route Type:
Mostly trail hiking, with some easy boulder hoping
Time Required:
A few days
Class 2

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West Ridge from Squaw Basin / Rock Lakes
Created On: Sep 22, 2005
Last Edited On: May 24, 2006


This route to the summit of Squaw Peak begins at the Rock Creek Trailhead, just below the Upper Stillwater Dam and Reservoir.

To reach the trailhead take U.S. Highway 40 to the town of Duchesne, Utah. From Duchesne proceed north on Utah State Route 87 for ±15.5 miles. As the road makes a bend to the right (east) turn left on State Highway 134 and proceed north ±3 miles to the town of Mountain Home.

In the center of Mountain Home turn left (west) on Park Avenue (6750 North), at the sign indicating Upper Stillwater Reservoir. Follow the narrow and winding (but paved) road for ±22 miles. Just before reaching the end of the road at Upper Stillwater Dam turn left at the sign indicating the Rock Creek trailhead, and proceed ±0.25 miles to the trailhead parking area. The trailhead is located near the northwest corner of the parking area.

Route Stats

One-Way Hiking Distance: 13.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 4,740 ft.
Avg. Gain per Mile: 351 ft.
Trailhead Elevation: 8,115 ft.
Summit Elevation: 12,855 ft.

Route Description

For the most part this route to Squaw Basin and Squaw Peak follows a well maintained and easy to follow trail, although there are a number of trail junctions which will be encountered along the way.

From the trailhead the trail contours around the west end of Upper Stillwater Dam, then continues to the far north end of the reservoir. Beyond the reservoir the trail rolls along through forested terrain for another mile or so, to a trail junction (±2.5 miles from TH). Take the right fork which curves east and south, then crosses the Rock Creek river on a well constructed bridge.

Now on the east side of the river the trail continues north until crossing the East Fork Rock Creek on another sturdy bridge. A short distance later another trail junction is reached (±4.0 miles from TH). Take the right fork which immediately begins climbing the slopes to the east via a number of switchbacks.

The trail levels off at ±9,800 feet and continues northeast for a mile or so, passing a large meadow on the right. Just beyond the far east end of the meadow another trail junction is reached (±6.75 miles from TH). Bear left as the trail begins climbing the slopes to the north, where it soon arrives at another trail junction (±7.0 miles from TH).

The right fork of this junction heads east and continues on ±2.0 miles to Squaw Lake. While this may be a suitable location for a base camp, a shorter summit day will be obtained by taking the left for which continues generally north another ±2.5 miles, where it ends at lower Rock Lake (upper Rock Lake is located just out of site a short distance northwest of the lower lake.

From lower Rock Lake there is a good view of Squaw Peak directly to the north, with the west ridge descending down to a flat saddle well to the west of the summit. There is no trail beyond Rock Lakes, so head north cross country towards the saddle. Initially there is some brush to contend with, but the terrain soon opens up and becomes easy walking across open alpine meadows.

Pass a small unnamed lake at the base of the saddle, then begin ascending the steep talus slopes leading to the saddle. The slopes are steep and contain some cliff bands, but these can be easily avoided.

From the saddle turn right (east) and begin following the ridge towards the summit of Squaw. The lower portion of the ridge contains a few pinnacles and small obstacles which must be negotiated, usually by dropping off the ridge a short distance to the left (north), until finally arriving at the very broad and flat summit of Squaw Peak.

Essential Gear

This is an easy (although long) trail hike, with some easy boulder hopping - no special equipment will be required.

The meadows surrounding the peak are prime mosquito habitat - insect repellent is a must until late summer.

Water is abundant throughout the area - bring a suitable purification method.