San Juan County High Point Trip Report

Beautiful Mountain

Date: June 2000
Author: Jobe Wymore

This is just 1/2 of a county since you need "BM Washington" for the other 1/2 for the county. I'll get the other one posted at another time.

Drove south from Shiprock for a while until I got to the turnoff that leads to Sanostee on the right (BIA 34). From the far end of town (west side) on the main drag (34) the road will make a hard left and immediately after that you will see a dirt road that extends to your right marked N34. Dirt road and it is a washboard. Turn right on this road and just head west. At 1.3 miles you'll pass a small little suburb of Sanostee and at 2.5 miles it goes over one wash and another at 3.3. At around 4.7 you reach a marked junction with 5013. Hit the odometer at this point again.

The next few miles the road gets a little bit bumpier and I'm not sure if a car could make it without high clearance. At 4.7 miles on this road (5013) it tops out and starts a gradual decent. At 5.5 miles keep a close eye out for a smaller road that appears on your right. Turn here and hit the odometer again to clear it. Immediately after taking the right turn you'll see some sort of a small stone structure on your left. Continue up this small road that actually wraps around the south end of Beautiful Mountain. This is a non-maintained section. Hasn't seen work in a long time I'm sure and you can tell. There are sections where the road is at such a side angle you get the feeling (at least I did) that rolling is not out of the question. 4WD is mandatory. At 1.1 miles up it there was a fallen tree over the road that was passable if you drove through some brush on the right. At 1.8 the road "Y's." Stay left here and roughly around 2.6 miles park on the right side of the road in a place that has nice shade for your vehicle. If you made it this far its just about over. The whole time up you might have noticed a huge slab of rock that basically wraps around the south half of Beautiful Mountain.

From the parking area, if you head straight up the steep hill (no trail) on the left side of the dirt road you will come to a point where an obvious weakness in the wall appears. Almost like a dirt/scree/bushy chute that you can hike up. From where you parked to the top of this chute is about 1/2 mile. Once on top you'll be on a plateau of sorts. Keep heading up through bushes at times and trees till you get to a rocky open summit. Cairn on top. No register. It might be good to mark your route on this one so you'll have no problem finding the gap in the rock for your descent.

Hot hike in the middle of the day. Did run into some locals on the drive in who where on horse back and didn't seem to mind me being up there.