Mount Ellen & Mount Ellen Peak
Mount Ellen is the highest peak in the Henry Mountains. It is the county highpoint for Garfield County, a Utah Prominence Peak and one of the 57 Ultra Peaks. Mount Ellen is remote, yet the trailhead is one of the highest in the state at 10,500 feet. The Henry Mountains were the last mountain range in the lower 48 to be mapped, surveyed and even named. When Major John Wesley Powell saw them in 1869, during his exploration of the Green and Colorado Rivers, the Henry Mountains did not appear on any official map. Powell first called the mountains the "Unknown Mountains," but he later named them for Professor Joseph Henry, who was Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute at that time. Just north of the highest point is a 400 foot drop, then the conical pyramid of Mount Ellen Peak rises. It is just feet shorter but often included in a climb of Mount Ellen. Mount Ellen was named in honor of the wife of Powells second in command, Almon Thompson. She was also John Wesley Powells sister.
WillhiteWeb.com - Utah Hiking & Climbing
Only dirt roads access the area so avoided in wet weather. The roads become impassable due to the clay like soil which becomes extremely slimy when wet. Two routes are usually used to access the peak. An east route from Hanksville, and another from the west. The east route is often blocked by downed trees, snowpacks and landslides. The Westside route is more reliable. From highway 24, take the Notom turn off a few miles west of Caineville. The road starts out paved but soon turns to good gravel. Follow it for roughly 13.5 miles to the Sandy Junction turnoff. Take a left and follow signs for 19 miles to the McMillan Spring Campground. The road conditions will depend on recent weather and how long it has been since the grader passed through. There are a few creek fords. High clearance is recommended but a passenger vehicle could make it in the right conditions. From the campground, it is 5 more miles to Bull Creek Pass and the trailhead.
Distance: 1.5 miles for Mount Ellen
Summit Elevation: 11,522 & 11,508 feet
Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet + 850 feet more for Mount Ellen Peak
Access: Gravel/Dirt, high clearance recommended
A nice trail takes you nearly to the summit before it fades out. A giant rock cairn has been built on a false summit. There is also several shelter holes in the ground incase you wanted to sit out a thunder storm. Continue on the ridge to the highest point (see map). Ironically, the trail starts back up just before the highpoint, traversing the east side of it on its way over to Mount Ellen Peak. The true summit of Mt. Ellen should have a mailbox register. An easy bonus peak is Mount Ellen Peak, a 400 foot drop and 400 foot climb. A nice trail takes you up its summit, look for it just above the saddle when it gets steeper. The view is cool from Mount Ellen Peak as you look north to absolutely no mountains for a long way.
Bull Creek Pass Elevation 10,500 feet
Cairn on the false summit
Mount Ellen Peak in route
Different shelters along the ridge
True summit with register
From the false summit looking at the top of Mount Ellen (left) and Ellen Peak (right)
Bull Creek Pass
Mount Ellen from saddle to the north
Lots of deer were spotted
Mt. Ellen Peak
Bull Creek Pass