Drive west from Salt Lake City on I-80 towards Wendover. Take exit 62 (Lakeside Military Area) and go north towards the Military Area on a paved road. You reach the Military Area in around 15 miles. At the first signs, the paved road will be bending left. Go straight/right on a gravel road. This road crosses the base. If you hit a guard station at the base, you went too far. Once across the base on the gravel road, you'll then pass through BLM for a short bit, then a rock quarry. On weekends, this quarry is quiet but I wouldn't want to go though if it was in operation. At the far end of the quarry is a railroad crossing (14 miles from the pavement). Cross over and turn left. Follow this road along the tracks for around 25.5 miles. Turn left at an unsigned crossing (the only one for miles) to the northern end of the Newfoundland Range. Go 1.5 miles from the tracks on a rutted dirt road, to a four way intersection. Turn right, follow this road for 6.5ish miles to a Y (take right at Y at 3.6 miles). There are many other minor offshoots, do your best to pick the right road. It could also be very muddy after rainy spells. At the Y at 6.5ish miles, there is a sign (see pic). This is the start of the 4WD/high clearance road. Park or follow it up around 2 miles to a mine site. Park here at 5,300 or challenge your driving 4WD skills for an additional 150 feet up to a pass at 5,450 feet.
It takes a special effort to get to Desert Peak. It is the highest mountain in the Newfoundland Range. A mountain range with only one access point, one that is hard to reach and nearly illegal. The Newfoundland Range is most viewed from I-80 along the Salt Flats. Looking north from the highway, Desert Peak is a sharp distant mountain rising out of the flatness. The range is an island in the salt flats, if it wasn't for the railroad being built nearby, it's possible a road wouldn't exist out there today. This access road runs parallel (and very close) to the tracks. It is within the right of way and owned by the rail line, even signed as no trespassing. But, there seems to be some sort of public access because the public does drive on it with no issues reported. The BLM also encourages people to visit the Newfoundland Mountains...and it is the only access.
Once you reach the range, you'll be in one of the most remote spots. Be ready for anything. The range also has a large population of Big Horn Sheep. Desert Peak is the 46th most prominent peak in Utah.
Distance: 1.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,770 feet
Summit Elevation: 7,005 feet
Access rating: Level 3 and 4
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From the saddle at 5,450, hike east up the ridge on game trails to the main crest of the range. Class 2 but steep. Once on the ridge, you see the final 1,000 feet, simple terrain on dirt and talus that doesn't slip much. Summit has benchmark and register.
Newfoundland Mountains & Desert Peak from Highway 30
Desert Peak from Graham Peak in Silver Island Mountains
Newfoundland Mountains from approach on the railroad road, Desert Peak on left
The final 1,000 feet on the SW ridge route
Looking north from the summit of Desert Peak
Looking south from the summit of Desert Peak
Looking southeast with the Stansbury Range in view
Looking east to the distant Wasatch Range
The saddle at 5,450 from where I parked
Desert Peak from the start of the 4WD road
Desert Peak benchmark
Look for this sign at the Y, the start of the 4WD road on the west side