Max slope angle
30-45 Degrees
Primary aspect
East facing
Vertical descent
4,500.00 ft (1,371.60 m)
4.00 mi (6.44 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

At 10,719 feet, Pilot Peak is an icon of Utah/Nevada's desert and is steeped in history. Standing almost 7,000 vertical feet above the nearby Salt Flats, Pilot Peak can be seen on clear days from the Wasatch Mountains, Deep Creek Mountains, Ruby Mountains, and many, many other ranges. When the Donner Party made their infamous crossing of the Bonneville Salt Flats, they used Pilot Peak as a 'pilot' to help them cross the Salt Flats in a straight line. The Donner Party also sought refuge at Pilot Springs, near the base of Pilot Peak. 

Getting to Pilot Peak is generally very easy until the last 10 or so miles. While the distance from I-80 is not far, the road up to the starting point is continuously steep and very rocky, like almost every mountain road in this region. A minimum of 8.7 inches of ground clearance is recommended for your vehicle (Subaru Outback, Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk) to make it up the approach road. There is no technical trailhead or starting point for Pilot Peak. Simply drive up the road until it dead-ends or you can't drive any further. 

Most people would not associate Pilot Peak (or this region) with skiing, which makes the skiing and overall experience all the better. Since Pilot is best done in the spring during stable conditions and a deeper snowpack, you will most likely start the hike on dirt (this is the desert, after all). Hike on dirt and bushwhack your way to snow. The ski line is the obvious open bowl/avalanche path that faces east and comes right off the summit. This line can be seen from many miles away and is by far the most reasonable ski descent and ascent option. Skin up this giant, relatively mellow slope all the way to the summit ridge. The views are breathtaking. 

To return, simply ski the same way you went up. The steepest slopes are towards the top and get into the high 30-degree slope angle. Most of the run, however, is relatively mellow at close to 30-degrees. The skiing is long, fun, and scenic. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)


Parking Pass


Open Year-round


Open from

February 01 to May 15


Solitude. Big vertical relief. Great skiing.


Rough approach road.

Pets allowed


Trailhead Elevation

6,200.00 ft (1,889.76 m)

Highest point

10,719.00 ft (3,267.15 m)

Total elevation gain

4,500.00 ft (1,371.60 m)

Net Elevation Gain

4,500.00 ft (1,371.60 m)


Old-growth forest
Big vistas



Typically multi-day


Shuttle required


Terrain type


Snowmobiles allowed



Nearby Adventures

Great Salt Lake + Desert, Utah
West Wendover Trail Network, Nevada


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