UT – Haystack Peak, La Sal Mountains

Driving up La Sal Pass and Geyser Pass Roads, Haystack Mountain stands proud although it’s only 11,641 feet compared to the bigger 12-13,000′ peaks. First impressions are meh but since Joan and I were in the vicinity after our hikes up Mann and Pilot peaks, we decided to give it a go. 

There is not an official trail up Haystack, however, there is a easy to follow, well-defined use trail to the base from near the Moonlight Meadows trailhead. You’ll need to do your homework to figure out where to fine the use trail. Joan points the way to the summit. 

From a distance the mountain looks like suede, but alas it’s rocky, rocky, rocky. Once on the rocks, there is no trail nor cairns. My saying is “pick your poison!” 

It’s a lot steeper than it looks once  you are past the bushes in above photo. Crawling was the best technique as shown here by Joan. 

I was beginning to ask why oh why are we hiking this? We are hikers not climbers! But Joan in typical fashion said lets just slide down this. Ha not really but we both thought about turning around at different times. 

Joan’s years of dance gave her a distinct advance in the balance department. 

I was not thrilled when we reached a false summit and found more and more rocks and rocks. 

This photo shows that false summit. 

The views were a good distraction, although those black clouds were a bit of a concern. We sure didn’t want to find ourselves on this barren mountain should lightning make an appearance. There is no way we could quickly descend. 

Joan was the first to celebrate success. 

She even did a little dance. 

But alas another tiny bit to go.  It took us a couple hours to reach the summit from the trailhead.We had views from the top into the area we’d hiked the previous day. 

Soon enough it was time to head down, something I wasn’t looking forward to (photo by Joan). 

On the steep part, it was a lot of crab crawling (video by Joan).

Thankfully the rain waited until we were successfully off the rocks. We both love our hiking umbrellas. Since it’s hunting season, Joan’s choice of orange for a rain cover is wise. 

Looking back at Haystack Mountain, it sure doesn’t look impressive. The trail takes you up to the shoulder, then it’s make-your-own trail time. 

One of my goals for this fall was to experience the changing colors of the quaking aspen. 

It took us about four hours to complete this hike. It was more challenging for me than the previous day due to the risky footing. 

We drove to the Warner Lake trailhead later in the day. 

We took a short stroll on this trail. It was great to find a little vegetation on the other side of the mountain. This photo shows the false summit. 

Hike Details:

  • Date(s) Hiked: September 10, 2017
  • Mileage: about 3.5 miles (per View Ranger)
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: about 3,500′ (per View Ranger)
  • Trail Conditions:
    • Tree obstacles: minimal
    • Overgrowth: minimal
    • Signage: none
    • Terrain: ROCKY!
  • Navigation: map, compass and electronic GPS helpful
  • Water: none
  • Camping: moderate
  • Solitude: we didn’t see anyone
  • Bugs: none
  • Precip: come prepared
  • Temp: unknown, maybe 50’s?
  • Jan’s Cherry Picker Delight Scale: 3- cherries (out of 5) (great views, but hated the rocks)

Tips:

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6 thoughts on “UT – Haystack Peak, La Sal Mountains

  1. How do so many rocks of that similar shape (like aquarium base layer) develop atop a summit? *All of my questions regarding geology stem from my Noah’s Flood theory. For instance, the multitude of giant boulders all across Arizona which simply look like they were all heaved miles up into the sky.
    Great photography. The ponds and lakes are always awesome.

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