In mid-September, I had a free day in northern Utah, and quickly planned an assault on 12,087-foot Ibapah Peak--high point of the seldom-visited Deep Creek Mountains which is the fourth highest range in Utah. The plan was to park at the junction of Snake Valley and Granite Creek Canyon Roads (5,500 feet), bike as far as possible up Granite Creek Canyon, then continue on foot to the top of Ibapah.
My timing was perfect. Temperatures were pleasant, aspen were flashing their fall colors, and snow had yet to hit the high country.
|Golden sunrise in Snake Valley. Deep Creeks are in the distance. Situated near the Utah-Nevada border, you must drive many long miles on graveled roads to reach the remote Deep Creeks.|
|Rugged canyons are cut deeply into granite along the eastern slopes of the Deep Creeks' central core.|
|A near full moon sets over the colorful Deep Creeks.|
|Domes, spires, and caves formed on granite make for some unique scenery in the aptly named Granite Canyon.|
|Near the 10,000-foot level, Granite Canyon starts to open up into a wide, luxurious meadow. Red Mountain (11,588'), above the tree line towers overhead.|
|The wide meadow at the head of Granite Creek Canyon provided a nice opportunity to get some longer strides in before the final grunt up to Ibapah Peak.|
|A mild fall meant there were still plenty of colorful leaves clinging to the aspen, even at 10,000 feet.|
|The final push up blocky talus slopes.|
|View south along the Deep Creeks' summit ridge. The stone shelter provides relief from the wind as you refuel and check out the summit register.|
|West view into Nevada from Ibapah Peak.|
|Upper Granite Creek Canyon from Ibapah Peak.|
|If you access the Deep Creek Range from Wendover, you'll pass through this near-ghost town of Gold Hill--a rather unsettling place in the middle of nowhere.|
This was a very long and exhausting day, but also an extremely fulfilling day that left me with a wide smile on my face as my head finally hit the pillow that night.