Kings Peak


Kings Peak

Kings Peak is the highpoint of Utah, and of Duchesne County. It is the seventh highest of the U.S. State Highpoints and located approximately 42 miles north of Duchesne in the High Uintas Wilderness Area of the Ashley and Wasatch National Forests. The mountain was named after Clarence King, who was the first director of the US Geological Survey. The standard hiking route is a 28.8 mile round trip trek, so the peak is usually climbed as part of a backpacking trip.

The present-day Kings Peak wasn't known to be the highest point in Utah before the mid 1960s. The USGS hadn't determined whether the current Kings Peak or South Kings Peak was the highest of the two summits prior to satellite measurements taken in 1966. Prior to this discovery, the USGS had marked South Kings Peak as the highest peak in Utah. Any hikers going to Utah's highest peak prior to 1966 would have scaled South Kings Peak instead of the now official Kings Peak.

Kings Peak's topographic prominence is 6,348 feet and ranks 19th in the contiguous 48 states. It is one of 57 so-called "Ultra" prominence peaks, those with more than 5,000 feet of prominence.

Getting There

Henry's Fork Trailhead is on the north side of the range. Take exit 39 off Interstate 80 on Wyoming and turn south on State Route 414. Go 6 miles to Mountain View, WY where route 414 turns west through Mountain View and becomes Route 410 as the road turns south at the west end of town. Drive Route 410 for 6.7 miles toward Robertson, WY to the point where it turns west. From this point, drive Uinta County Road 283 (also named Forest Road 072) south toward Grahams Reservoir and Bridger Lake for 12.1 miles to Forest Road 017. Turn left on Forest Road 017 and continue south 6.8 miles to Forest Road 077. Drive south on Forest Road 077 for 2.8 miles, and turn right on the road to Henry's Fork Campground and the Henry's Fork Trailhead. This is the trailhead most people use for a climb of Kings Peak. The hike is beautiful but expect crowds in July and August.

Recommended Route

Start with Henry's Fork and take the North Ridge Standard Route to reach the summit.

Henry's Fork

This is the most popular approach for Kings Peak coming from the north side of the range. The trail heads in a Southerly direction on a gradual rise. After about 3 miles and 430 feet of elevation gain, you will intersect with the Alligator Lake trail that heads off to the right. Continue straight for another 2.4 miles where you will come across a sign for the Elkhorn stream crossing to the left. At this point turn left (east) and cross via a log bridge. After crossing continue heading in a southerly direction for another couple miles where you reach Dollar Lake. This is a good spot to camp or you can continue on and setup camp closer to Gunsight Pass. Continue on the main trail to Gunsight Pass and hike the ridge over Gunsight Pass Peak and continue down to Anderson Pass where the North Ridge Route of Kings Peak takes off.

North Ridge Standard Route

This is the standard route on Kings Peak and regardless on which approach you take (with the possible exception of the Uinta River Trail), the route begins at Anderson Pass. From the pass, hike south on the ridge to the summit. It's actually pretty simple and only takes about an hour from Anderson Pass and there is a worn boot path most of the way.

Red Tape



Camping can be found at any of the trailheads without charge. Camping is also available at any of the lakes on the flanks of the peak. Water can be found in abundance in all the basins on all sides of the mountain. Many people camp at one of the many ponds and tarns north of Gunsight Pass on the Henry's Fork approach or around treeline on the Yellowstone Creek approach. Practice Leave No Trace policies!

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