King's Peak Utah Highpoint Trail is a 27.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Mountain View, Utah that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
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
If you are in for a really long day, this can be a rewarding out and back day. Watch for wildlife (we ran into a mother moose and her calves). Probably two-thirds of the total distance can be jogged, but once you hit Anderson Pass running is nearly impossible, particularly the last couple of miles which are a boulder field.
The most common way to try this route is over 3 days, with a base camp in the Henry's Fork basin, likely near Dollar Lake. Fishing is good in the streams (that's where I focused), but don't expect anything very big. It's a breathtaking trek that I plan to do again.
Great backpacking trail
i may have taken a different route but it was just as fun, if not better. I hiked in a fairly large group on a 5 day round trip, totalling just over 60 miles. This is a unique hike that you will remember forever. A must go for someone teained enough. It is difficult, but fairly flat up until the summit, which is a large boulder crawl.
Holy crap.. this was a hard hike. I'm glad I did it even if I got no sleep the night before and even if the wind was so insane with hail hitting our faces. This was a cool experience, but really took it out of me. It felt like a dream.
Long but beautiful and so worth it!!
I loved it .great fishin
We had an electric storm at the top of the peak
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.