About an hour and a half from Salt Lake in the western desert of Utah is a small range of mountains called the Cedar Mountains. They are the first rise east of the Salt Flats and Dugway Desert. The highest point gets the name Cedar Peak. This is a unique wilderness area, created in 2006. You shouldnít find many people out here; itís on the way to nowhere really. Because it is a peak with over 2000 feet of prominence, it does get a few visits a year. My wife and I both carried kids up this route so how bad could it be.
From your car, walk east up the valley for a few minutes looking for the best place to ascend the ridge on your right (south). Itís open country so this shouldnít be a problem. Once you obtain the ridge, the going gets easier as you take the ridgeline southeast up to the ridge crest of the Cedar Mountains. Here youíll have great views as you walk south on a faint trail to the summit. Keep an eye out for the wild horses. The route is straightforward but follow the map so you get the correct summit.
Distance: 1.5 miles
Elevation Gain: <2,000 feet
Summit Elevation: 7,712
Kids difficulty Rating: Hard
Access Rating: Level 2-3
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Drive I-80 to exit 56. Follow the paved road south 2 miles toward the Aragonite Plant. Look for a dirt road to the left located just before the plant facility. In one mile you should reach a BLM info board. Take the right fork south 13.2 miles to a jeep road going left at a cow watering hole. (There is one split off going left at the six mile mark that you donít want). The jeep road (according to the USGS map) isnít too bad and might be possible for a 2WD vehicle if youíre willing to risk it. The road is 1.3 miles up so you could always park at the watering hole and walk it. Go up the jeep road into the canyon. When the road switchbacks and gets really steep, stop, and park. The route starts here.
Camping with Cedar Mountain in background
Cedar Mountain from camp area in late fall
Got camp up just before sunset
A few snow patches left here and there
Dinner on the tailgate before the big climb
Cedar Mountains north of the summit
Mav inside the tent having fun
Route followed the ridge on the right. We climbed up on the right to the shrub trees on the skyline. From there, it was ridge walking to the summit.
On summit ridge, working our way south to the true summit
Cliffs on the left side of the ridgeline
Going up the ridge with the true summit on right, out of view
About halfway up, we came within 200 feet of wild horses. We met them again at the summit. I don't care much for horses but the one leading this group was amazing looking. As Dozer approached, the leader would have everyone run while he stayed back to see if Dozer was changing tactics until the last minute.
View south from the summit
Family on the summit. I'm pretty sure we brought the youngest kids up there ever.
Looking East across Skull Valley to the Stansbury Range