Utah's Incredible Backcountry Trails
by David Day (Rincon Publishing)
© David Day/Rincon Publishing. All Rights Reserved.
The contrast between red rock canyon country and this alpine scramble only heightens the beauty of this high altitude hike. It takes a lot of roundabout driving to get to the trailhead from Moab in a non-4Wd car (get a good map), driving around the south end of the La Sal range to get to the other side. And even then my rental Ford had to literally ford a creek. But once you drive up through the aspens to the 10,000 ft trail head you will be glad you went. The hike will require some route finding, and what trail there is through the spruces and steep meadows quickly ends at the rocky saddle between Mt. Tuk and its neighbor, Mt. Peale. From there it is a ridge walk followed by very steep scrambling. I am an experienced 45 year old hiker, and the cold and snow (1st week of November), as well as the lung-crushing altitude (over 12,000) was a good stretch for me, don’t let the low mileage fool you. Five steps up and fifteen deep breaths, repeated, was my summit strategy. Gone were any dreams of ridge running the La Sal’s! I simply was not acclimated to the heights from the canyon hiking I had done the first few days in Moab. The view from the summit may be unmatched in the US for the color and variety of landforms. The drifts of snow had many animal tracks as well. At least at this time of year, there was no one maybe in the entire range. This is a MUST DO for experienced hikers who are in Moab and want to see canyon-topia from a whole new perspective. It was the highlight of a trip of highlights. Do it.
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