Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
4,000.00 ft (1,219.20 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
22.00 mi (35.41 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.

Depending on who you ask and what you read, Utah has anywhere between 17 and 21 13,000-foot peaks. These 13ers are Utah's highest, and all reside deep within the boundaries of the mighty High Uintas Wilderness. Those familiar with Colorado 14ers may look down upon Utah 13ers, but that would be foolish. All Utah 13ers are a serious undertaking and would require multiple days for most hikers. The closest 13er to a trailhead, Tokewanna Peak, is 16 miles round trip by the most direct route, and just driving to the trailhead is an adventure within itself. All other 13ers require a minimum of 20 miles round trip, with at least 4,000 feet of climbing and miles upon miles of off-trail travel. Simply put, Utah 13ers are remote.

The Uinta Mountains are relatively unknown outside the state of Utah despite being a large and wild mountain range. In the northwestern corner of the range, the rugged and wild beauty is similar to that of the Tetons and other similar ranges. The High Uintas Wilderness comprises 453,000 acres of the heart of the range; however, there is an equal amount of mountainous and forested terrain outside of the official wilderness boundary, making the entire Uinta Mountains roughly 1 million acres of pure wilderness. The Uinta Mountains contain the second largest amount of terrain above treeline in the Lower 48 states, and they should be on any serious mountain enthusiast's destination wishlist. 

Gunsight Peak sits 13,263 feet above sea level, making it one of the highest peaks in the state of Utah. Gunsight is a technically easy peak to summit, (Class 2), but it requires over 20 miles of round-trip hiking, so it is best done as a multi-day adventure. Gunsight Peak sits on the rim of Henrys Fork Basin, which contains a whopping six 13ers, so a multi-day trip to Gunsight coupled with hiking other 13ers would make the most sense for this peak. 

To hike Gunsight, the Henrys Fork Trail is the best option as a starting point. This is the trailhead for Kings Peak, so expect crowds on a summer weekend, although almost all people will be going to Kings Peak, not Gunsight. The route to Gunisight shares the route to Kings Peak for most of the way. Hike up the trail to Elkhorn Cross (5 miles), where you cross Henrys Fork River and continue up on on the trail for several miles until you reach Dollar Lake. 

Once at Dollar Lake, the route to Gunsight is entirely off trail and can be slow going. There is a ridgeline extending down close to Dollar Lake from the south. Take this ridgeline up until it crests at a flat piece of land situated between Gilbert Peak and Gunsight. From this point you will be able to see the summit of Gunsight Peak for the first time. It is easiest to hike toward the ridgeline that gains the summit of Gunsight and take that ridgeline to the summit. 

The closest 13er to Gunsight Peak is Gilbert Peak, which is the third highest in Utah. It would make sense to also get Gilbert while up on Gunsight, as it is only 2 miles away. 

To return to the trailhead, simply retrace your steps. If doing this as an overnight, it would make the most sense to camp at Dollar Lake, as it is the closest lake to Gunsight Peak.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

No

Open from

May 20 to October 01

Days

2

Pros

Big views. Solitude. Wild setting.

Cons

Huge hike. Off trail.

Trailhead Elevation

9,500.00 ft (2,895.60 m)

Highest point

13,262.00 ft (4,042.26 m)

Net Elevation Gain

3,762.00 ft (1,146.66 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Wildlife
Fishing
Geologically significant
Big vistas
Big Game Watching
Horseback riding
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

Yes

Suitable for

Horseback

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

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