King's Peak Utah Highpoint Trail

HARD 54 reviews
#1 of 68 trails in

King's Peak Utah Highpoint Trail is a 27.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Mountain View, UT that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from April until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

27.1 miles 5517 feet Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

horseback riding

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

scramble

This trail starts at the Henrys Fork trailhead and goes past Dollar, near Henrys Fork Lake and over Gunsight Pass (11,891 feet). Then drops down into the Upper Painter Basin about 2 miles to a trail junction. Turn right and climb 3.5 miles to Anderson Pass (12,800 feet) before climbing to Anderson Pass. From there, turn south and climb the north ridge of Kings Peak 1.5 miles to the summit. This portion is off-trail and has a lot of boulder hopping to the summit which has a beautiful view. Most hikers camp at the lakes at the Upper end of Henrys Fork Basin

fishing
27 days ago

I loved it .great fishin

backpacking
1 month ago

Very fun! Me and my dad did this hike. It is fairly challenging but very rewarding. The scenery is just beautiful and the view from the peak is amazing. I would definitely do it again.

backpacking
2 months ago

BEAT.

2 months ago

beautiful place I'm flat feet butt I made it more than halfway and a lot of moose and deers i went last week next year all the way

backpacking
2 months ago

My husband and I just finished this trail. Most of it is delightful. We backpacked in and camped at Dollar Lake. It was not too crowded and we had no trouble finding a great spot to camp. We awoke early the next morning and we took the gunsight pass through painter basin route. I am glad we did because I would not have wanted to miss the basin--it was both of our favorite part of the hike. Getting over gunsight pass is not too difficult and the ascent through the basin and up to Anderson pass isn't bad either. Other people here seem to think the last mile to the summit wasn't so bad but we'd disagree. Physically, it's about what I expected (challenging but very do-able) but mentally, it's a total mind, uh, screw. Besides being somewhat hypoxic, it's really not clear where you are supposed to go. It's just a big boulder scramble and you can't see the actual summit until you get right up on it. You may be tempted to scale below the ridge and then climb up to the summit--don't do it! Stay on the ridge line as much as you can. Every time you think you are about there, you are wrong! Well, except the last time, obviously. The way down is not much better--you still can't tell where you should go and it's not marked at all. The boulders are unsteady which is unsettling, especially if you have any fear of heights (I do). If I do this hike again, I will go up to Anderson pass and watch other people try to get to the summit while I bask in the beautiful sunshine! The last mile is also really exposed so be sure to wear sunscreen!

backpacking
2 months ago

Great trip with the buddy's. I will recommend if wanting to summit that you camp in the pines near the base of the chute north of Kings. Early morning start and hike the chute and then summit. We have done it both ways and the chute saves about 4.5 to 5 hours compared to gunsight pass. Anyway you choose you will not be disappointed. Awesome sights.

backpacking
2 months ago

This is a must-trip. My friend and I completed it in 22 hours. Camping at Dollar Lake was gorgeous. We hiked out 8:00-11:00 p.m. and it was a surreal experience.

backpacking
2 months ago

Loved this climb. Make sure to be prepared for sudden weather changes. Windbreaker and rain gear is essential. It gets cold at night so have proper insulation for sleeping.

Hike is not hard at all until you reach the foot of Gunsight pass. That is when the climbing begins

From the trailhead until then, it's a walk at the park.

hiking
2 months ago

We did this over the three day Labor Day weekend. If doing it in three days, I would plan on camping between Dollar Lake and the small lake at the base of Gunsite Pass. The closer you are to Gunsite Pass, the shorter the hike to the top will be the next day, but you will also be more exposed to any weather that may blow through during the night as you're trying to sleep.

There is plenty of water along much of the trail in Painter Basin all the way up to the bench near the top of Anderson Pass so I wouldn't pack more than a liter for the hike to the top if you have a way to filter or purify water along the way.

Wherever you start, I would try and leave as early as you can to leave plenty of time for weather setbacks, injuries, etc.

My two greatest concerns I had going into the trip were mosquitoes and lightning while out in the open. Fortunately, this late in the year the bugs were no problem. Unfortunately, we were on the peak when we saw a storm coming straight for us and only got a couple hundred yards down before hail, lightning, and snow hit us. Be prepared for bad weather even if you leave on a clear sky morning. Storms come in fast up there!

Our total distance according to the GPS on my phone was 29 miles (we did have to park about 1/4 mile down the road since the parking area was full. For time reference, the hike in to Dollar Lake took about 5 hours, the round trip to the top took about 11 hours (lots of bad weather), and the hike back took about 4 hours. I expect most people could make about the same time, or faster. I'm not a quick hiker.

The beauty in this hike is definitely the wide open areas. Lots of meadows, and alpine scenery. It's definitely one I would like to do again. Probably about the same time of year and camped past Dollar Lake, but still in the tree line.

2 months ago

We went over Labor Day. Hit it under some bad weather on Sunday. (research how to hunker down in a lightening storm on an exposed mountain as the weather changes rapidly, so even if you don't leave in bad weather like we did, afternoon storms are basically everyday) I recommend staying on the established trail both for ascent and descent. I found that the short cuts, the goat trail from Gunsight and the slide down Anderson pass for descent, never really saved much time. Based upon groups around us.

backpacking
3 months ago

We climbed King's Peak on Thursday August 4th - 6th with a youth large group of adults and youth. We broke into 2 groups (one of 14 and one of 12) to ensure we were following the right backcountry rules and staggered the groups start by about 30 minutes.

We hiked from Henry's Lake trail head beginning Thursday morning leaving about 11 am. We set up camp around 4pm about a mile past dollar lake in a beautiful location with our groups separated a good distance. There were some mosquito's, but it was not bad. The night sky was amazing with it being so dark that even allowed us to see an amazing fireball (way better than a shooting star) going right across the valley that night.

We started our summit hike on Friday at 6:00am and group 2 at 6:30am. Gradual climb up to Gunsight pass. At Gunsight pass we chose to go right and follow the Goat trail up the hill under the glacier. It is well marked by cairns and we were glad we did as it afforded some majestic views as the sun was coming up and it cut about 1 1/2 miles off the trip.

Once you 'round the hill' on the goat trail, there is not really a trail, but you just go across the large boulder field heading for Anderson summit. I later i realized I left my apple watch in a spot we stopped to put on sunblock along this way - so if someone finds one there - feel free to contact me :)

From the Anderson pass to the top we were definitely not alone, as there were several groups climbing, but they were all spread out. This porting 100% boulder hopping. By this point both of our groups had spread out so much that some were still at the saddle while others were already at the top.

I arrived at the summit around 11:00am as the sweeper of the last group. It was a very beautiful view of the valleys. We did all wait to get a group shot at the top - but no one complained about waiting and enjoying the spectacular view!

On the way down, we broke in to 4 groups and each of them chose to take the "chute" back down for the adventure of it and to save time. The views down the chute are awesome, but you definitely need to be deliberate in your foot placement and watch for sliding rocks. Our group all agreed they would do the chute again. We saw a momma and baby moose crossing the valley as we hiked from the base of the chute back to our camp. We arrived back at camp around 3:30pm.

On Saturday we hiked back out and left around 6:30am and were at the cars by about noon. Overall we saw a few moose, hiked the tallest mountain in Utah with some spectacular views, beautiful sunrises and captivating sunsets.

If you are interested, here is our video: https://vimeo.com/177927726

3 months ago

Spectacular!

backpacking
3 months ago

Our family hiked Kings Peak on Aug 2-6. There were 14 in our group with ages ranging from 12 to 65.
We hiked from Henry's Lake trail head beginning Wednesday morning leaving about 11 am. We hiked about 9 miles to our base camp above Dollar Lake arriving about 7 pm. The elevation was about 10,980. Temperatures were cool at night, and the mosquitos moderate.
We left camp about 10 am on Thursday for the summit and chose to shortcut under the snow pack from Gunsight pass over a rocky steep ridge to Anderson as it saved both time and distance and avoided the long descent into the basin. The off trail route was well marked with a series of cairns. Ascent from Anderson was crowded, mostly with scouts. The boulder hopping climb required both physical endurance and some mental challenge. We reached the summit about 2 pm and avoided the earlier crowding of some big scout groups. The view was spectacular.
We returned to base camp about 7 pm. On Friday we took an alternate route back and circled around several lakes before stopping about 5 miles down the trail at Bear Lake. Camping and fishing at the east side near the outlet was outstanding. Mosquitos were controlled by bug spray and the location was ideal.
Saturday morning we dropped down to Sawmill lake for some more fishing and then followed game trails down to the main fork and on to the trail head which was about 6.5 miles arriving about 2 pm.
The routes we chose was about 29.5 miles on our GPS. Water seemed abundant and we used 2 platypus group water filters. We only had rain for an hour or so on the first day. We saw about a dozen moose. Other than a lot of miles and some vigorous climbs, it was an amazing and memorable family adventure.

backpacking
4 months ago

Long hike but worth it. Recommend setting up a base camp near one of the lakes through out the basin. Dollar Lake is the most popular, but tends to be over-crowded. From our base camp we summited the next day with just our day packs. Then we backpacked out to the trailhead on day 3. The valley is beautiful. We saw several moose and big horn sheep on our excursion. The hike beyond Gunsight Pass to the summit of King's Peak is mostly boulder hopping. The summit isn't very difficult, mostly just climbing up a bunch of boulders. It's definitely not a pretty mountain. I felt like an ant climbing a big pile of gravel. The views from the summit are amazing and it feels good to say that you "climbed the highest mountain in Utah".

backpacking
4 months ago

Long but worth it.

backpacking
4 months ago

Hiked Henry's Fork Trail July 26-28. I hiked in the middle of the week to avoid the crowds, and I'm glad I did. I ran into at least 15 different scout troops and 4 groups on horses while hiking back to the trail head while they were all headed up it. The hike couldn't have been better except for the hoards of scouts and horse sh!7 every 20 yards on the trail.

I huffed my pack all the the way to the top of Anderson Pass which was a big mistake. Next time I will set up a base camp at Dollar Lake or Painter Basin.

It rained at the start of the hike for 20 minutes and after that the weather was great. I made the summit Wednesday at around 1:30 pm to clear skies and an incredible view.

Lots of mosquitoes and flies. I got bit many times through my clothes even with repellent.

Tuesday night I woke to natures call and caught the fireball streak across the sky which lit up the whole valley.

backpacking
4 months ago

Hiked/climbed Kings Peak on July 10-13, 2016 via Henry's Fork. Our group was three men with an average age of 50. The trail from the trailhead to Elkhorn crossing was dry. The bridge crossing the creek survived another winter and is still useful.
We continued to point about a mile away from Dollar Lake and set up a camp for the night, lots of mosquitos, definitely bring Deet,it is very effective. Next morning we started out to our next camp site in Painter Basin. We crossed a couple of snow fields on the switchbacks heading up to Gunsight pass. These were short and we did not feel at all unsafe. We continued down the other side into Painter Basin to our next site. We used this site as a basecamp, which turned out to be a great move for us, our trip up to the summit and back was relaxing. The trail to Anderson pass is clearly marked with cairns, this part of the hike we encountered a lot of snow melt, but little snow. The scramble to the peak from Anderson was easier than any of us thought it would be, we did encounter snow fields, but were able to go above or below each of them without losing elevation. The peak was magnificent. The return to base camp was enjoyable. We spent another night at that camp then hiked the next day all the way back to the trail head.

Overall: Lots of mosquitos, cold at night, comfortable during the day. Glad we took our time and enjoyed the trip.

hiking
4 months ago

Started on July 17 and camped at the lake that is probably 1/4 mile south of Dollar Lake. It was mosquito infested, pond/lake was also pretty dirty and clogged up the water filter quite a bit. I would suggest if you are tent camping to stay at the pond/lake just a northwest of when you start to climb Gunsight Pass.

The next morning we got up and climbed Gunsight Pass. After looking at the Gunsight cutoff route, we decided to go the long way into Painter's Basin (big mistake). Once we got to Anderson Pass and begin climbing the ridge to the summit we saw others who were taking the short cut. We talked to them after summiting and decided we would get back to Gunsight Pass that way (good decision). Seriously, take the short cut both ways. Not sketchy at all and cairns all the way.

We were the first on the summit that day and it was a great climb. There are a number of false summits going up the ridge to the peak, but keep keeping on and you will make it. We ended up going back to our camp and then hiking out to the trailhead and heading back to SLC that day. Total mileage was somewhere around 20 that day. Needless to say we slept good.

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked from Henry's Fork trailhead in mid-late June. There was some snow on the trail; it was hard, but still doable. I was shut down by thunderstorms around 2pm, so I recommend starting really early if you are doing it in one day.

backpacking
4 months ago

Condition Report: We climbed Kings Peak on July 4, 2016 via Henry's Fork. From the trailhead to below Gunsight pass, the trail is almost completely snow free and relatively dry. Sporadic patches of mud can be navigated around without much difficulty. After crossing the river and gaining the upper meadows of Henry's Fork, there's a good amount of snow runoff to contend with, but there are well established "workaround" trails that divert you around soft mud and towards narrow spots for hopping steams. Despite this, you definitely want to avoid mesh shoes and wear something that offers water resistance or waterproofing, especially with the conditions higher up. There are still several snowfield crossings and lots of snowmelt trickling down the meadows up above Gunsight.

Dollar Lake had tons of great camping spots, but the mosquitoes and flies were really bad, even after we had slathered on DEET. In retrospect we wish we would have camped higher up. If you don't mind backpacking a couple more miles, the last lake before Gunsight Pass is a beautiful spot. It's located at 40.802934, -110.364489.

After camping at Dollar Lake, we hiked to Gunsight Pass and took the Gunsight cutoff route (instead of dropping down into the Upper Painter Basin as described by AllTrails, you veer right at the pass, traverse the hillside for a while, and then head up a small cliff band to gain the upper bench to Anderson pass). We took the same path back down and avoided the Anderson "chute" which is reported to be very steep, loose and dangerous, for only modest time savings.

The first real snow we encountered was up near Gunsight Pass. The switchbacks right below the pass are covered with soft snow, putting them in terrible condition. I would highly recommend taking a direct route straight up the Gunsight drainage. This was quick, direct, and far better than the snowy switchbacks we decided to try on the way down. Once you get up to Gunsight Pass, continue over the crest just a little towards Painter Basin and you'll see a clearly marked cairn on your right. This signals the start of the cutoff route, which is shorter and keeps you from losing elevation into Painter Basin. To climbers right, you'll make a few moderately long snow traverses (the longest of the route). They're not very difficult, but a trekking pole comes in handy for balance and stability. Don't bother bringing crampons or an ice ax, as the snow is just too soft. After the snowfields, you'll scramble up the cliff band (somewhat loose class 2/3).

After ascending the cliff band and gaining the bench, there were several snow fields above us. However, we simply stayed below them. It appears that many parties make the mistake of continuing to hike "up and over." However, once you reach the bench above the cliff bands, you should simply begin traversing, neither gaining nor losing elevation. There are a number of cairns you'll pass at approximately the 12,300 foot level. Just stay at this elevation as you walk around N Gunsight. Once Kings Peak comes into view, make a bee line for Anderson pass (at the base of King's north ridge). There are just a few snowfields to navigate on your way to Anderson pass, but they can all be skirted around or crossed in narrow sections that are no more than 10 or 15 feet across.

For reference, total time for us from Dollar Lake to Gunsight Pass was 1 hr 15 min. From there, it took us an additional 3 hours to summit. We took a few short breaks, kept a moderate pace, and had no route-finding delays. We had typical scattered thunderstorms for July and needed our waterproof jackets on multiple occasions. Be prepared with waterproof layers if there are any thunderstorms in the forecast. Also, be mindful of the lightening risk. The hike in and out at the lower elevations were definitely short and t-shirt weather. If you're heading up soon I hope this condition report helps!