Backpacking Kings Peak

28.8 miles 4100 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Jacob Moon

Summit Utah's tallest mountain at 13,527 feet (4,123 meters). Inspiring views of all of Utah's 13,000+ foot peaks. Distance: 28.8 miles. Elevation gain: 4,100 feet.

From the Henry Fork Trailhead (approx. 9400 feet elev.) the trail gains very little elevation during the first 5.5 miles with several lakes to camp by along the way. The first lake reached is Alligator Lake. At just under 3 miles from the trailhead, this beautiful lake is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a nice, easy introduction to the altitude and rigors of backpacking. After passing Alligator Lake the trail continues on the Henry's Fork Trail for another 3 miles. At this point, you'll reach a trail junction known as ElkHorn Crossing. Here you are presented with two choices:

1) You can take the trail heading due south. This trail is the most direct route. After 2 miles, it will pass by the most popular lake in the area, Dollar Lake, which has a numbers of excellent established campsites near by.

2) You can take the West Loop Trail which will add ~4.5 miles to you trip. This is a excellent option either going to or coming back from Kings Peak because of its half a dozen picturesque lakes, excellent campsites and fewer crowds. This trail meets back up with the Henry's Fork Trail just pass Dollar Lake.

It is highly recommended to set up base camp near one of the many lakes in the Henry's Fork Basin. At this point, the trail begins to gain elevation rapidly up switchbacks to Gunsight Pass (11,900 ft elev.). From the top of the pass, the trail descends 500 vertical feet into the next drainage and loops around the steep, rocky slopes of Gunsight Peak to once again ascend the gentler, though still rocky slope of Kings Peak. This last and final section of the trail gains approx. 2000 feet over 4.6 miles to The Crown of Utah 13,527 ft.

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Camping
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Forest
Lake
Scenic

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đŸ„‡Top Contributor

about 2 years ago

The Roof of Utah

In my opinion, this is the way to summit King's Peak. Backpacking in gives you the time to enjoy the beautiful basin, explore other lakes and spend time on the peak to soak it all in. Incredible adventure!

Fun & Pretty Adventure

Good scenery mix the whole hike. We climbed up the rock slide to the right and then down that way also- on all fours both ways- great challenge, staying overnight was relaxing and peaceful as well. Highly recommend this beautiful hike.

đŸ„ˆ Contributor

over 3 years ago

Amazing views from the peak

I did this hike in late July last year. The hike itself is super moderate and is honestly mostly flat the entire way -- until the last little stretch to the summit. The views from the top were incredible, though. I went on a really clear day, and you could see for miles in any direction. I loved looking around and see all the different valleys and small lakes in the Uintas. It was lovely. I did it two days. We hiked about 8 miles until we found a good camping spot close to a lake. Then, we woke up early, hiked to the peak, came back to camp for a quick lunch / nap and then hiked back to the trailhead. We got to the trailhead before sunset, and I was back in Provo by 11 pm. It was a great hike.

Explorer

đŸ„‡Top Contributor

about 4 years ago

Challenging day hike

This can also be done as a *long* day hike (took us 15 hours). We left Salt Lake City at 1am and were at the trailhead and walking by 4am. The trail is clearly marked and easy to follow up to Gunsight Pass. After that, it branches off in a few different directions. You can head straight down to Upper Painter Basin and lose 500 feet of elevation (like the author did here), or you can turn right up a “shortcut” over Anderson Pass (also the base of Gunsight Peak) that’s marked by cairns and a narrow climber’s trail. Once on top of the pass, you’ll be able to see the main path ahead of you and the notch where people start off on the North Ridge Route. On both the shortcut and on King’s Peak itself, there are cairns virtually everywhere, which makes it difficult to decide which markers to follow. Big note: Lots of scrambling involved towards the summit, not dog-friendly. Rocks will get very slippery in precipitation. Weather forecast for our day was hot and sunny, but we ended up getting caught in a 3-hr hail + lightning storm. Bring storm gear, plenty of food, and have fun!

đŸ„‰Contributor

about 4 years ago

An excellent hike.

Great review of a fantastic hike. This is one of the best treks in the Uintahs.

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