Union County High Point Trip Report

Date: May 27, 2002
Author: Scott Surgent

I basically spent 2 hours driving the highway (US-64/87) and local gravel roads looking for a way in, or somebody to ask. I even stopped at both gas stations in Des Moines; it was the one on the west edge of town who gave me some good information.

About 2 miles west of town is the AR Ranch. It is owned by the Wolfe family. They also own the Mandala Center "next door", which is where I actually bumped into Ms. Wolfe in her Bronco. She gave me directions to drive to the top. She also mentioned that they usually grant permission if one asks first. With that said, I'd imagine that future visitors should go directly to the AR Ranch, drive in, ask, and hope for the best. She was very nice. The Wolfes have the normal concerns as most landowners. They have consistent problems with hunter/trespassers, and people leaving gates open.

The road to the top is faithfully shown on the topo. It curls west then south and is deeply rutted at first, then it gets rocky. After crossing the initial gate at the corral at the entrance, there are two more gates to cross. Both are the flimsy barbed-wire kind that aren't easy to close afterwards. One was damaged on my drive in - unable to close it or do anything with it.

The road requires 4wd. This is not a friendly suggestion. No 4wd, no drive road. If you are forced to hike it, it'd be about 4 miles one way with about 2,000 feet of gain, so it's not too bad. I drove to the 8,200-foot line because I found a good place to turn around. Easy hike from there.