Backpacking Kings Peak

28.8 Miles Round Trip - 4100 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Henry Fork Trailhead - Search Nearby - 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.

Tags

Camping
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Forest
Lake
Scenic

Details

28.8 Miles
4100 ft elevation gain
Out-and-Back Trail

Stay Nearby

Evanston, Utah

Marsh Lake Campground

Evanston, Utah

Bridger Lake Campground

Robertson, Wyoming

Stateline

Duchesne County, Utah

Moon Lake Group Campground

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Reviews

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Overall rating: 

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!

An excellent hike.

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

DJ Williams

almost 4 years ago

Kings Peak

Great backpack trip with my 13-yr old son.