Emery County High Point Trip Report

East Mountain (10,743 ft)

Date: November 7, 2001
Authors: Jennifer and Gerry Roach

This is a short, but interesting climb. Some timber bashing is the challenge here, but there is a rewarding view from the summit. We followed the driving directions in "High in Utah" by Miller and Wiebel, and the gravel roads were good. The last part of the drive was quite rutted in spots, and the road could be impassable in muddy conditions.

From Castle Dale, drive west on Utah Highway 29, then drive north along Joes Valley Reservoir. At the north end of the reservoir, turn right onto Upper Joes Valley Road. On our DeLorme Gazetteer, this is also marked as FR 014. After turning onto this road, go 1.1 miles to the road fork, and stay to the right at this fork. Follow this good gravel road another 5.7 miles. Turn right (east), go another 0.7 mile and turn left. There may be a sign here indicating the Indian Creek Campground ahead. Drive another 1.3 miles to the campground. Drive 2.1 miles past the campground on a rutted dirt road, where a 4WD vehicle may be needed if the ruts get any deeper! This road is called Spoon Creek Road (FR 017), but there were no signs to confirm this. Park at the cattle guard. There are many informal campsites along this road, and many of the aspen trees in this area have carvings in them that go back over 40 years.

From your parking spot by the cattle guard at 9,120 feet, use the fence line that runs east as a guide. "High in Utah" recommends that you stay on the left (north) side of the fence line. Being renegades, we were on its south side. The fence ends as the land rises up steeply. Ahead, look for a drainage, which has a long, barrier cliff across the slope to the south of the drainage. You cannot see this barrier cliff from the road. The Miller and Wiebel route goes up the north side of the drainage, on a faint game trail. There is a nifty pour off in the bottom of the drainage. We stayed on the south side of the drainage, bushwhacked east, crossed the end of the cliff band by scrambling through a steep weakness, and bushwhacked up for 0.75 mile to the ridge line south of East Mountain's summit. Once on this gentle ridge line, we picked up a faint use trail on the top of the north-south ridge. There is also a trail that comes up from the east side of East Mountain and the Miller Creek area. The true highpoint of East Mountain is on an escarpment at the west end of a flat area.

The summit had a cairn, register and a VABM marker as well. Look for a nice carving of an elk head in the sandstone cap. The views of Upper Joes Valley and the Reservoir to the south are very photogenic. Other than game trails, the west side of East Mountain has no formal trails, and the entire hike of 2 miles and 1,623 feet is steep bushwhacking.

On the day we did this highpoint, there was a rain/sleet/snow storm with dense fog at times. It cleared as we crested the summit giving a mystical beauty to the scenery. Many people recreate in this area and a few hunters came up along the road while we were there. Blaze orange is a good idea during hunting season.