Bald Mountain Summit

The Weber, Provo, Duchesne, and Bear Rivers all begin near here. This feels like the top of Utah.

Looking to the west, you can spot a couple dozen lakes that speckle the upper regions of the Provo and Weber Rivers. Turn around to the east, and enjoy a spectacular view of the Mirror Lake Highway winding its way through heavy timber, past Mirror Lake, and on toward Mount Agassiz and Hayden Peak.

This hike begins at the well-marked Bald Mountain trailhead, located at the base of Bald Mountain. You start climbing immediately and will soon find yourself traversing a series of switchbacks on the western slope. The view is great all the way, and it somehow manages to improve with every step. Near the summit, the trail follows a thin ridge with steep drops off either side. There’s really no danger if you stick with the trail, but a person with acrophobia might feel uncomfortable. Then take a natural rock stairway to what feels like the top of the world.

Take your time on this hike. It is steep. Allow about four hours for a round-trip, which should give you plenty of time at the top to appreciate the views in every direction. Heed a couple of safety reminders on this hike: (1) Stay off Bald Mountain when lightning is possible. (2) Don’t get too close to the cliff edges on the east side — they can break away. Follow these rules and your name won’t be added to Bald Mountain’s casualty list. OK, now don’t let us scare you away. This hike is time well spent.

The Hike

Overview: Bald Mountain — the best time investment you can make in the High Uintas. Just 2.5 miles of steep hiking puts you atop this well-known peak, where you’ll have a bird’s-eye view of four of Utah’s major watersheds.

Start: Bald Mountain trailhead

Distance: 5.0 miles out and back

Destination elevation: 11,943 feet

Approximate hiking time: 3.5 hours

Difficulty: Moderate — steady climbing

Usage: Heavy

Nearest town: Kamas, Utah

Drainage: Duchesne River

Maps: USGS Mirror Lake; USDA Forest Service High Uintas Wilderness; Trails Illustrated High Uinta Wilderness

Trail contacts: Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Heber-Kamas Ranger District

Finding the trailhead: From Kamas, take the Mirror Lake Highway (Highway 150) 30 miles to Bald Mountain overlook. About 0.5 mile north of the overlook is the left turn to Bald Mountain. Bald Mountain has space for twenty-five cars and offers picnic tables and toilets. No water is available. Bald Mountain trailhead is heavily used by hikers making the 2.5-mile trek to the top of Bald Mountain, where you can peer into four major drainages. 

 

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