Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
6,000.00 ft (1,828.80 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
16.00 mi (25.75 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.

Utah has an abundance of natural landscapes that attract people from all over the globe. From the beautiful red rock deserts to the fluffy snow of the Wasatch, Utah is rich in natural diversity. Very few people, however, venture into the vast and wild West Desert, which lies West of Salt Lake City and the I-15 Corridor. This large expanse of sagebrush and countless mountain ranges sees low visitation numbers for several reasons, the most prominent being lack of trails and amenities. Do your research on this wild landscape and the rewards are countless. The West Desert is incredibly remote and has countless mountain ranges and basins. Wildlife is abundant; and so are hotsprings. This area of Utah may not be for everyone, but for the dedicated outdoorsperson, there are few better destinations.

Ibapah Peak is one of the crown jewes of the West Desert. Ibapah rises to an astonishing 12,081 feet, which is over 7,000 feet higher than the valley floor; this means that the Deep Creek Mountains have more vertical rise than the Tetons. You read that right. Hiking up Ibapah in the Deep Creek Mountains is an experience to remember, and you'll go from exposed desert to above treeline alpine terrain. Ibapah is the county highpoint of Juab County, meaning that Utah County Highpoint seekers climb this peak in their attempt to climb the highpoints of all of Utah’s counties. Ibapah is known as one of the hardest county highpoints in the state. Couple this with the fact that Ibapah is quite truly in the middle-of-nowhere, and you have a recipe for a peakbagger's dream.

Ibapah Peak, located in Western Utah’s Deep Creek Mountains, is incredibly remote. There is no town with services for at least 50 miles in any direction, and there are no paved roads easily within 30 miles of the mountain. This is the Wild West at its best. Any party venturing to Ibapah should be self-sufficient and have a clear and concise plan as to what to do and when.

Hiking the peak is not as straightforward as most mountain hikes in Utah. To start, there is no trailhead. Simply drive up the Granite Canyon dirt road as high as you feel comfortable. Most people do not coax their car across the stream crossing, which means there is ample camping at this spot. From the creek crossing, it is an incredible 6,000 vertical feet to the summit of Ibapah in just 8 miles. Yes, this is a leg burner.  

Cross the creek and follow a jeep road for approximately 3 miles. The jeep road crosses the creek once, and it is critical to not miss this; missing this can lead to about an hour of bushwhacking. The creek crossing is just past the gate that marks the wilderness study area about a mile into the hike. Follow the jeep road up until it peters out and there are cairns on the left marking the start of the trail. Take the trail and begin the steep climb.

It is clear that the trail up Ibapah is a footpath and is not maintained. This trail can be hard to follow in spots and is mercilessly steep. Do not expect switchbacks. Follow the trail to 10,000 feet, where you will enter a large meadow. It is impossible to miss "the meadow," as it is referred to on many websites.

From the meadow, head right directly toward Ibapah, which is in sight. Hike cross country and off trail and into the forest where you will most likely pick up a series of cairns. There is no trail to the summit. Follow the cairns and be sure to not summit the sub-peak before Ibapah, which you should traverse to the right.

Continue traversing and soon the peak will be right before you. There is a climber's trail that switchbacks up the steep face to the summit. Enjoy the absolutely sweeping views of the West Desert that stretch for literally hundreds of miles in all directions. Retrace your steps back to the car.

Ibapah Peak is truly massive. This hike is a serious undertaking if done in a day. It is best to wake up at sunrise and plan on hiking until it gets dark. It is entirely possible to do this hike as an overnight, as there is abundant water. However, the trail is so steep that hauling a backpacking setup up the trail sounds nightmarish, doing it in one long day isn't advisable. As always, bring ample clothes and food, and do not plan on encountering any people.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Fall
Summer

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

No

Pros

Unique scenery. Solitude. Big peak.

Cons

Very remote. Tough trail.

Trailhead Elevation

6,000.00 ft (1,828.80 m)

Highest point

12,018.00 ft (3,663.09 m)

Net Elevation Gain

6,000.00 ft (1,828.80 m)

Features

Potable water
Wildlife
Big vistas
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Comments

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