If you come to the desert state of Utah expecting to see a flat and barren landscape, you will be in for a surprise – Utah is undeniably mountain territory and every single one of Utah’s 29 counties boasts several mountains. In fact, Utah is home to no less than 84 Prominence Peaks, towering at least 2,000 feet over the surrounding terrain. Utah’s beautiful and unusual mountains offer great hiking as well as many opportunities for wildlife watching, rock climbing, mountain biking, and backcountry camping. In winter, many of these mountains are covered in snow and offer good backcountry skiing and snowboarding. Photo: Prawit/Fotolia
»Box Elder Peak
25 Most Beautiful Mountains in Utah
- Mount Timpanogos, Photo: Courtesy of walkingarizona - Fotolia.com
- Bountiful Peak, Photo: Courtesy of Sergio Martínez - Fotolia.com
- Deseret Peak, Photo: Courtesy of kazanovskyiphoto - Fotolia.com
- Box Elder Peak, Photo: Courtesy of Jarin - Fotolia.com
- Canaan Mountain, Photo: Courtesy of schankz - Fotolia.com
- Gunsight Peak, Photo: Courtesy of rruntsch - Fotolia.com
- King’s Peak, Photo: Courtesy of TravelStrategy - Fotolia.com
- Mount Magog, Photo: Courtesy of Maksim Smirnov - Fotolia.com
- Thayne Peak, Photo: Courtesy of Nataliia Makarova - Fotolia.com
- Navajo Mountain, Photo: Courtesy of portishead5 - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Prawit - Fotolia.com
Although it may be a little less impressive than its neighbor Mount Magog, Mount Gog is one of the highest peaks in the Bear River Mountains and is well worth a visit. If you would like to spend a few nights exploring the mountain, your closest campsite is at White Pine Lake, and there are several more campgrounds along the Logan Canyon Scenic Byway. Starting at the Tony Grove Trailhead, you can easily access the summit along the 5-mile Southwest Ridge Trail and then continue along the Gog to Naomi Traverse or the Gog to Magog Traverse if you fancy a longer hike – all three can be explored in a day. The views from the summits will more than reward you for your efforts.
You can find the rugged and beautiful Granite Peak roughly 20 miles west of Beaver, Utah, near the small town of Milford. Granite Peak forms part of the Mineral Range, which encompasses boulders, pinnacles, and marvelous granite spires, which form an unbeatable playground for anyone interested in hiking, rock climbing, bouldering, or simply exploring. Dotted between the cedars, pines, and spruces, you will find pumice mines and quarries and an abundance of nooks and crannies just waiting to be discovered. You can visit Granite Peak all year round but a high-clearance vehicle is a good idea for crossing streams in spring and you will need a longer hike-in due to snow in winter; summer can be very hot, so fall is probably the best time to fully enjoy the mountain.
Ben Lomond is a vast, pyramid-shaped mountain in the Northern Wasatch Range that rises prominently above the city of Ogden. Ben Lomond got its name from early Scottish immigrants and although it is not quite as tall as Willard Peak, it is definitely the best-known mountain in the area and attracts many outdoor enthusiasts each year, who come to walk, hike, mountain bike, scramble, and ski. You can approach the summit of Ben Lomond along one of four popular trails, of which the Willard Basin is the shortest (but involves a long drive over rough terrain to reach the trailhead). There are several campgrounds in the Ogden Area and backcountry camping is allowed. Downhill and cross-country skiing and snowboarding are popular winter activities.
Cedar Benchmark (aka Cedar Mountain Highpoint) is the highest peak in the Cedar Mountain Range, which is located in the newly proclaimed Cedar Mountain Wilderness west of Salt Lake City. You can look forward to some unique sightings when you explore Cedar Benchmark, including a 250-strong herd of wild horses, a variety of other wildlife, and large areas of pure white salt flats, which you can view from the summit. There are a couple of ways to approach the peak and the access rating for hikers is considered to be 2 to 3, but the road leading to the trailhead is in pretty bad shape and should only be attempted by four-wheel drive vehicles. There are no campgrounds in the wilderness area, but backcountry camping is allowed.
Reaching a lofty 13,060 feet, Wilson Peak is one of the highest mountain peaks in Utah and is situated in what is arguably one of the most superb terrains in the state. Wilson Peak rises rather majestically above the Red Castle Lakes area in the High Uintas Wilderness Area, offering outdoor enthusiasts a beautiful backdrop for walking, hiking, scrambling, and backcountry camping. One of the beauties of hiking to the top of Wilson Peak is its remoteness and solitude – a round trip hike is close to 30 miles and when you stand at the summit it’s just you and the magnificent views with not a road or person in sight. Visitors who are not up to making the long hike to the summit can enjoy shorter hikes and walks or trout fishing in the lakes.
Doubletop Mountain is named for its distinctive twin peaks, which are sharply divided by a deep gun sight-shaped cleft. Located in the Bear River Range in northern Utah, the mountain offers excellent hiking and is less frequented than nearby Naomi Peak, which is good news for those who like their solitude. The hike to the top is roughly 6 miles, varying slightly depending on which trail you follow – the most direct route is along Steep Hollow. Once you reach the summit and have enjoyed the sweeping views, you have the option of retracing your steps or returning via the Crescent Lake Canyon Descent, which is very scenic.
East Lovenia holds the distinction of being the most technically difficult member of the Utah 13ers to climb, even though it has the lowest altitude. East Lovenia is located in the Uinta Mountains and offers a challenging day out for hikers and scramblers. One of the main challenges of climbing East Lovenia is the distance from the nearest road (a 25-mile round trip) and the loose scree that you will have to navigate at higher altitudes. Approach roads are generally impassable in winter and it is recommended that you only attempt reaching the summit between July and August. It is possible to combine the summits of East Lovenia and Mount Lovenia in a single hike – most people would want to cover the distance over two days, including a night of primitive camping.
Located close to Pleasant Grove in Utah County, Mahogany Mountain reaches a very respectable 9,000-foot elevation, but is often overlooked in the landscape due to being somewhat overshadowed by Mount Timpanogos, which lies just behind it. Mahogany Mountain offers good year-round hiking along several trails and reaching the summit will reward you with some of the finest views in the state. The Grove Creek Trail starts close to suburban Pleasant Grove and there is another route to the summit via North Peak Trail, which is a moderate and pretty route that is just less than a 3-mile round-trip – suitable for families. Both trails, combined with other sub-trails, are also frequented by mountain bikers.
Lying in the southern part of the Bear River Range, Mount Jardine is one of the highest peaks in this section of the range (9,566 feet) and attracts a variety of outdoor enthusiasts all year round. There are three moderate routes you can choose from to reach the summit, all of which are around 6 miles one way. The Green Canyon route is the most popular and is used by hikers, skiers, snow-shoers, and mountain bikers. The Birch Canyon route is the most scenic and requires some scrambling near the summit. Be sure not to miss the famous Jardine Juniper Tree, the oldest tree in Utah – the 10-mile Jardine Juniper Trail is suitable for hiking, mountain biking, and trail running and can also be used by dogs and horses.
Robert’s Horn is a popular summit on Mount Timpanogos, which reaches a dramatic elevation of 10,993 feet, less than 1,000 feet short of the highest point of the massive. If it’s dramatic scenery you are after, you will find that hiking Robert’s Horn is one of the most rewarding hikes in Utah. The peak rises majestically above the beautiful Emerald Lake area and can be reached along the relatively easy Aspen Grove Trail or Timpooneke Trail. If you are looking for more of a challenge, there are more rugged routes suitable for ice climbing and scrambling. Campers can set up a basecamp at the Timpooneke Campground or Mt. Timpanogos Campground or enjoy a night of primitive camping near Emerald Lake.
Howell Peak is located in a very remote area of the House Range in the western Utah Desert, 180 miles from Salt Lake City. Howell Peak attracts very few visitors, which is a boon to those who long for peace and tranquility and the uncanny silence that comes with this beautiful desert location. Hikers can get fairly close to the start of the trail by car and there are several spots along the route to the peak where you can enjoy a night of primitive camping under the wide desert skies. Howell Peak is best explored between fall and the end of spring as the high summer temperatures make hiking extremely unpleasant. Nearby attractions you might like to explore include the U-DIG Fossil Quarry and Council Cave.
Delano Peak is the tallest peak in the Tushar Mountains and straddles the Beaver/Piute county border in south-central Utah. Although the mountain reaches a very respectable altitude of 12,000 feet, it is easy to reach the summit – the 4.8-mile out and back trail is considered moderate and the views from the summit are exceptionally good. Along the way you can expect to see lots of wildflowers (in season) and mountain goats. Delano Peak can be explored all year round and in winter you can try the route with snowshoes and have a go at some great backcountry skiing and snow-boarding. The route along Big John Flat has camping spots and there is a proper campground at Mahogany Cove.
The Wickiup is located in the San Rafael Swell area of Utah and gets its name from the Native American word for a dwelling or wigwam, which has a very similar shape to this unique mountain. At just 6,000 feet, the Wickiup is nowhere close to being one of Utah’s tallest mountains but it is certainly one of the most interesting and includes some of the oldest geological rock formations in the state. You can drive to the base of the trail with a four-wheel drive (provided the road is not wet or snowy) and the distance to the summit is about 6 miles one way. The Wickiup is not the easiest mountain to climb due to lots of loose and brittle rock and is not recommended for beginners.
Many people have never heard of Stookey Peak, which lies in the Onaqui Mountains, well away from the more popular Utah hiking areas. Hikers and scramblers who are looking for a route-finding challenge will enjoy taking on Stookey Peak as there is no obvious trail and you need to find your own way to the summit. You can expect to see some of the wild horses, who call the mountain home – a pair of binoculars might come in handy. You can expect quite a steep cross-country expedition as you will gain over 2,000 feet in elevation over just 1 mile, so be sure to bring plenty of water.
Mexican Hat is an intriguing sombrero-shaped rock made up of a cap rock balanced on a mesa, located about 3 miles from a village of the same name west of Bluff in Utah. Hiking and climbing Mexican Hat is a great adventure rather than a walk in the park and is popular with scramblers, climbers, and adventurous hikers. From the parking lot, it is an easy hike up to the base of the hat – you can choose to approach from any direction. Once you reach the rock, you will have to choose between the A1 Bandito Route, where you will use bolts to assist your climb to the top of the rock (this is the most popular route), or the more challenging natural A2R Royal Robbins Route. Either way, climbing Mexican Hat should feature on every rock-climbers wish-list.