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  Mount Peale and Tukuhnikivatz

Total Distance: 2 miles
Hiking Time: 4+ hours
Rating: Difficult
Starting Elevation: 10,700 feet
Summit:: 12,721 feet
Elevation Gain: 2021 feet
  • BEST: Hiker's and Skier's Map of the LaSal Mtns (by FA Barnes), #39
  • GOOD: Trails Illustrated Moab Area Mt Bike Routes, #501
  • TOPOS: Mount Peale (USGS 7.5" Map); Moab (USGS 1:100,000 Map)

  • Info provided by AnasaziHikes.com

    As San Juan County's high point, Mount Peale is the third tallest of Utah's county peaks. It is also the highest peak in the LaSals. It sits back too far to give you a view of Moab, but you can see east into Dolores River drainage, south to Abajos, and west to Behind the Rocks.

    The easiest route is from the south, using La Sal Creek road.

    No special equipment is needed for hikes described here. Walking sticks would be helpful, but not necessary. There are no cliffs to climb, and usually there is a faint zigzag trail thru the talus to help you.

    The LaSal loop road actually combines sections of many roads (some paved), and you can completely circumnavigate the mountain range. More importantly, this system provides access to many more primitive roads. The Forest Service has closed most of the old mining roads in LaSals but they are often useful as hiking trails.

    Directions to Trailhead

    Drive 22 miles south of Moab on Hwy 191 to La Sal Junction. Turn east onto Utah Hwy 46 which goes thru La Sal. Drive east 12.9 miles, and turn north onto Canopy Gap road (a.k.a. Two Mile Road). After about 3 miles, turn west at a signed junction onto La Sal Pass road. It is about 10 miles to La Sal Pass. After about 1 mile you'll come to a "Y" junction. Stay right. After you pass a turnoff to Beaver Lake, the road goes thru a deep cutbank. Immediately turn north on a small road. It is 4WD due to some hills and rocky stretches and ends in a meadow after about a mile. OPTION: park at La Sal pass and follow an old mining road north.

    Mount Tukuhnikivatz (Tuk) is west, Talking Mountain is north, and Mount Peale is northeast.

    Route/Trail Notes

    Drive or hike to near the end of the 4WD road. Where it turns west and stops on a little knob, hike north-northeast on a faint trail below a talus slope on your east side. This trail soon becomes more visible. It leaves the trees and you enter a steep, rocky gully. Follow this gully up. Usually it's easier to stay in its bottom when going uphill.

    If you keep going to the saddle, Talking Mountain (a little bump in the long Tuk-Peale ridge) will be on your left. Rather than continuing to the saddle, you could also detour upslope towards the skyline east of you, out of the long gully (start up where you first start encountering tundra). Several trails thru talus lead on around towards Peale, which is sometimes hidden from sight.

    Other Hikes

    Tukuhnikivatz: Park a little short of the end of this spur road, and cross the small creek west of the road. Climb up onto a meadow for a view. To your left you'll see vestiges of an old mining road which can be used as a trail from La Sal pass. Where it ends, to your west you'll see a low saddle. Climb up to it, then turn north and follow this ridge up to the Talking-Tuk saddle, turn west, and find a zigzag route up thru rocks to Tuk's summit. It is steep, but there are no cliffs, and a faint 'trail' helps.

    Mount Laurel: This peak is north of Talking Mountin. Hike to it along the long ridge which connects Peale and Mellenthin, the highest mountain north (at least in southern part of La Sals) of Peale and about two miles away.

    Mellenthin: You can climb Mellenthin from all sides, but the easiest is from due south in Dark Canyon Basin (Dark Canyon Basin is on the east side of the LaSals). Instead of turning off Canopy Gap road continue north about 3 miles, and turn west onto Dark Canyon road (sign at junction). Several miles further turn right at an unsigned main junction. Soon after passing Dark Canyon Lake, which is downhill from the road, at another junction go left. Soon 3 faint roads turn left, uphill. Take the third one, and follow with your 4WD as far as able.

    Hike generally NW towards Laurel-Mellenthin saddle on your skyline. It is steep getting onto this saddle. You'll encounter natural gravels and tundra, and there is no real trail as not many people use this route. Once on this saddle, follow the more obvious zigzag route thru talus onto Mellenthin. It takes about 2 hours to get onto Mellenthin this way. Return the same way, or cross Mount Laurel and find an expert route back into Dark Canyon Basin.

    Other Tips/Notes

    If you're climbing all of Utah's county peaks, you might consider extending your trip to climb Mount Waas, also in the LaSal Mountains. You can read about the High in Utah guidebook route here. Other good Waas routes, along with routes nearby peaks, are described here.

     Recommended Books
    High Uintas BackcountryHigh in Utah
    Engagingly written two to three page descriptions of each hike including basic statistics, how to get to the trailhead, tips and precautions, directions on reaching the summit and a brief background on each peak. Times are estimated for both slow and quick hikers. The better of the two Utah county peak books in print.

    Get it at Amazon.com

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    High Uintas Guidebook
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    A Guide to Climbing the 13,000-Foot Peaks of the High Uintas