Piute County High Point Trip Report

Delano Peak (12,169 ft)

Date: October 26, 2003
Author: Dean Molen

After doing Clark County, Nevada (Mount Charleston), the previous day, we were headed for the airport in Salt Lake City when my wife suggested that I should try to find something to climb on the way since I would have the time to do so. Fortunately, I had a prior interest in Delano Peak and had brought along the needed information.

After reading the trip reports posted for this hike and the route description in the High in Utah book, I felt that Darryl Montgomery was on to something as I studied the topographical map(s) I had. Driving east out of Beaver on state Highway 153, we followed his description to and traveled approximately 16 miles where not too far from the mile marker you will see a sign on the right side of the road directing you to "Big John Flat" road which is FS road 123. The road is to the left across from the sign so take the dirt road heading slightly uphill to the left. Take this one and stay left at all junctions until you come to Big John Flat, an area where camping is allowed and a new restroom facility has been built. This is probably about 4.5 miles in but alas, I wasn't driving so I did the touristy thing and looked at the scenery rather than the speedometer. No matter, you can't miss it and you'll pass through two gates on the way.

This is a very popular ATV and mountain bike area as we saw plenty of both even this late in the year. Stay on the road that goes right through the Big John Flat area, past the bathroom and onto the road that continues on toward the mountain. Delano Peak's broad shoulder is visible from Big John Flat and you could actually start the hike from there but it would add needless mileage. As you look east from Big John Flat, you are looking right at the mountain although the summit is hidden from view. A little farther up the road, you'll pass another new restroom (outhouse kind) as the Forest Service has spared no expense for the ATV'ers. A trail takes off from this area and would probably take you to the summit as well but I was trying to get to Poison Creek as described in Darryl's report.

We drove up the road but didn't quite make it to Poison Creek in our Dodge Caravan. My wife was getting rather nervous about the condition of the road and when I saw that there was an old jeep track up the mountainside that corresponded with what I was seeing on my topo, we pulled into a convenient place and parked. I took a GPS reading for where the car was and headed straight up the slope. By following the obvious lay of the land and using my GPS to keep me on track, I was able to make good time with no obstacles to slow me down. The jeep road is bermed in many spots so you can't drive up it but it was obviously a way that some rancher used to maintain his fence line that other than a few poles no longer exists. Still, just follow the jeep track to where it ends and continue on from there. The weather was windy and cold and I had to keep stopping to change layers which slowed me down. Still, I covered the distance which was probably in the 2 mile arena and the 1800 feet elevation gain in about an hour and forty minutes.

When I finally saw the summit, I noticed it had a little flag flying from it. Also found at the summit were two Gatorade bottles being used as registers but one of the bottles was very narrow necked and I couldn't get any of the papers out of it. The other bottle yielded up Ken Akerman's name and was the only county highpointer name I recognized. Bands of mountain goats were visible, one band of about 8 less than a 100 yards from my position on the summit and another band of over 27 animals to the south about a quarter mile away and yet another band to the north with perhaps about 14 animals in it.

The scenery and the view were superb; 360 degrees that proved expansive and much more scenic than I had anticipated. The wind had dropped after I had been at the summit about ten minutes and on the way down I was able to strip down to a T-shirt, what a change. It took me 40 minutes to get back to our vehicle where my wife was waiting my return.

I would recommend this route highly over the one described in High in Utah and I thank Darryl Montgomery for filing his trip report about it. Four miles is a lot better than ten and you can round trip this one in less than three hours. Nice way to get a twofer as this one counts for Beaver and Piute counties.

The two gates that you pass on the way in are only closed when snow blocks the road above (according to some locals). The western approach is in my opinion, the better way to go and saves you miles and time. Check out a topo and study the possible routes. I'm sure you'll agree.

GPS readings (NAD27 datum):

Car parking spot(38.36650° N, 112.39555° W)10,480 feet
Waypoint 1 (38.36876° N, 112.38401° W)11,396 feet
Summit (38.36922° N, 112.12175° W)12,170 feet

Webmaster's comment: The suggested western approach was also successfully taken by Mike Coltrin. Following Mike's advice, Scott Casterlin and I climbed Delano Peak on July 13, 2003 from the west in 1 hour 10 minutes and with a 1,600 elevation gain. If you can drive that far, the optimum carpark is at a bend in the road here at 10,600 feet with NAD27 coordinates (38.3708° N, 112.3901° W).