Ibapah Peak is a remote mountain near the Utah/Nevada border in the Deep Creek Mountains. It’s popular for climbing among peakbaggers nationwide as its on the Ultra List, the 57 most prominent peaks in the lower 48, as well as a county highpoint. In fact, the day I climbed, I met Bob Schwab who has over 1,865 county highpoints! The lower portions of this trail are a bit boring in the trees, be forewarned, it’s a long drive out there but the terrain above tree line is pleasant. Haystack Peak is the second highest in the Deep Creek Range.
Distance: 6 miles + 1.6 to Haystack Peak
Elevation Gain: 5,300 feet + 1,500 for Haystack Peak
Summit Elevation: 12,087 feet
Ibapah Peak & Haystack Peak
WillhiteWeb - Utah Hiking & Climbing
Deep Creek Range from George H. Hansen Peak
Red Mountain and the saddle between Red and Ibapah
The summit from near the trailhead
Looking east from the summit of Ibapah
The summit area
Nearing the Haystack
Working my way over to Haystack Peak
Here is the route from Ibapah over to Haystack Peak
Looking back at the class 4 notch you must go through to get over to Haystack
Looking back at Ibapah from Haystack Mountain
Below: Ibapah Peak to Haystack Peak Map
Ibapah starts out on an old jeep road for a few miles before climbing quickly on a pack trail. Surprisingly, much of the route is tree covered making the hike back during the mid-day sun enjoyable. I did this trip mid summer and the creeks you crisscross were still flowing nicely. At 10,000 feet, you can leave the trail at any point working your way north on an upward traverse. Some hike all the way to meadows at the pass, then start the traverse. Most of the traverse is easy open forests although right off the trail is brushy. Look at the map below to see how high on the false summits rib you need to be to find the climbers trail to the summit, around 11,200. If you don’t find it, you will once you get onto the ridge top. The last 900 vertical feet is easy trail hiking to the summit, although the altitude over 12,000 feet should slow you down a bit. The summit once had a heliograph station so there is all kinds of ruins up there. On my way down the backside to Haystack Peak, I found all kinds of old junk that had been thrown down the mountain by those living and working on Ibapah.
For a bonus peak if you are a peak junky or want to climb all the 12ers in Utah, head over to Haystack Peak. This requires dropping 700 feet that you will have to re-gain, traversing almost 2 miles and climbing another 620 feet. There’s also one class 4 section you’ll have to negotiate as well, see picture.
Both ways are long. I came in from the east on the Pony Express Road; I left going the north route to Wendover and back on Hwy 80. My only suggestion would be to take the north route with a passenger car as there is less bumpy gravel road driving. Access the Pony Express Road just north of Vernon, follow it forever until Callao. Past town in an intersection, go left onto “Deep Creek Mtns. Road” for 13 miles where you should see a sign for the Granite Creek Road. Follow the Granite Creek Road 4.3 miles to the trailhead. Note: near the end, the road you need takes a “hidden” right, crossing a creek. The road then becomes a high clearance road. If you park and the creek nearby on the right, you have missed the road split; the real trailhead will have signs.
From Wendover, go south on US Alt. 93 for 28 miles, turn left on road with possible signs for Ibapah and Callao. Travel this paved road 17 miles (going back into Utah), then turn left onto a dirt road toward Gold Hill. Follow this dirt road 12 miles to Gold Hill. Turn right, heading south for 5 miles to a Y. Go left at the Y (now the Pony Express Road), for 14 miles where you come to the intersection just west of Callao. As above, go right for 13 miles looking for the Granite Creek Road sign.