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Ramblers is a land of hard-edged mountains, remote desert ranges, and clear horizons in southwest Utah. The Tushar Mountains east of Beaver and Interstate 15 offers the county’s best hiking adventures with trails threading among high peaks and crossing alpine meadows festooned with summer wildflowers. It’s best to set up base camp along the Beaver Canyon Scenic Byway or at Big John Flat and get out hiking. Great lower-elevation trails explore the scenic Mineral Mountains, scrambling over granite domes to expansive views. Here are six of the county’s best day hikes for your family, friends, and canine companions.
The Skyline Trail offers Beaver County’s best day hikes. The 11-mile trail crosses forested ridges and threads through grassy meadows on the west flank of the Tushar Mountains. If you hike the entire trail it will connect Big Flat at the south to Big John’s at the north end. The trail, closed to motorized vehicles like ATVs, can be done as a long day hike or broken into a two-day backpacking trip. Most hikers, however, do shorter day hikes on the trail, which divides into three distinct sections that begin from three trailheads. Hike from point to point with a shuttle or do out-and-back hikes.
Local hiking expert Jess McMullin recommends, “If you’re new to high elevation travel, I would recommend starting this hike at the Big Flat trailhead because highway 153 takes you within a half-mile of the trailhead and is a lot smoother dirt road than the other two alternatives. Driving from Beaver to Big Flat on UT 153 takes 45 minutes. The pavement ends at Puffer Lake. Continue on 4 miles of dirt road, passing the Big Flat Ranger Station where you will see a sign for the Skyline Recreation Trail. The trail begins about 300 feet past the restroom…. After 2 miles of hiking, you will finally get views of the big peaks Holly, Delano, Baldy, and Shelly Baldy which tower above the ski runs in the distance to the northwest.” As you continue north you will see other trails intersecting with the Skyline Trail. When you come upon the trail junction of #219 this is the Skyline halfway point, at the Lake Stream trailhead.
Trail #062, one of Beaver County’s wildest hiking adventures, follows a tumbling creek up a remote canyon. Begin at the South Fork of North Creek Trailhead about five miles northeast of Beaver and follow the trail up the deep canyon for 12 miles to Blue Lake, a gorgeous turquoise-colored lake nestled below Mount Baldy and Mount Belknap on the crest of the Tushar Mountains. The trail crosses the creek over 50 times. Look for deer, elk, mountain goats, and black bears along the path. Day hikers can walk two or three miles up the canyon and turn around at their leisure and return to the trailhead or begin at Blue Lake and hike downhill. Other trails climb out of the canyon, including #061 onto Baldwin Ridge and the Bosman Ridge Trail #058, which switchbacks up to high wooded ridges and Big John Flat.
You’re going to want to hike to the 12,169-foot summit of Delano Peak, the highest point in Beaver County. The Delano Peak Trail, climbing 1,700 feet in 1.5 miles, is easy to follow, has gentle grades, and offers spectacular views across the Tushars from the rocky top. Start the hike from a trailhead on Forest Road 123 and follow the trail up the blunt West Ridge. Keep watch for white mountain goats grazing on grassy slopes. After signing your name in a mailbox register on the summit, have a snack and enjoy the view. Retrace your steps down the trail for a three-mile round-trip hike or follow the range crest south for 1.5 miles to 11,985-foot Mount Holly for a double-peak day.
Located just north of Mt. Delano in the Fishlake National Forest, the Pocket Trail is a challenging hike that has a well-deserved reputation for spectacular scenery with hardly any visitors. Yep, chances are that you’ll have the alpine views all to yourself. The easiest of the three ways (and note, this is not easy) is a minimum six-mile round-trip, that’s approachable via 10-miles of a narrow access road that requires a four-wheel-drive truck or OHV. You’ll start the trek the Bullion Pasture Trailhead (see here for the complete directions, but expect an hour and a half to two-hour drive from Beaver). Join trail #074 to the Bullion Canyon, where you’ll hit trail #216. After crossing Pine Creek and some dense woods, you’ll eventually emerge onto the ridge with southern views of the “pocket.” Continue uphill and you’ll hit the center of the pocket, where a crystal clear stream flows from underneath a glacial moraine. You have lots of options in this area, and it makes sense to pick up a free map of the Upper Bullion Canyon trail system at the U.S. Forest Service office or at the trailhead. The entire route is between 10,000 and 11,000 feet, so take precautions for hiking at that altitude, including bringing plenty of food, water, and sunscreen—plus realizing that your body won’t be moving quite as fast as it does at lower elevations. But if you’re up for it, exploring the Pocket is one of the best treks around.
The Rock Corral, a BLM recreation site on the west side of the Mineral Mountains, is one of Beaver County’s most dramatic natural areas. Gleaming white granite domes, slabs, and buttresses tower above the access road, primitive campsites, a picnic area, and many unmarked trails lace the area, providing lots of hiking opportunities. One of the best trails is a 1.6-mile loop that begins at the second switchback before the road ends at the picnic area. Hike north along a sagebrush-lined trail down a shallow valley to a creek. Bend west and pass below a granite slab. The trail winds alongside the trickling creek until it almost reaches a rough road. Bend south and climb slopes up to the access road, and then hike east on the road for 0.7 miles back to the trailhead.
Hiking from Britts Meadow to Big Flat is a relatively modest, 3.5-mile hike that features a gentle grade amidst the towering Tushars. It’s a great hike for a group, with wide trails and abundant wildlife—plus you can park a car at one of the trailheads, complete the entire hike, and drive back to the start. (A round-trip of 7 miles is certainly doable if you only have one vehicle.) The trail (#228) follows Hy Hunt Creek along an old road that was created to install telephone lines from Britt Meadow to the Big Flat Ranger Station. You can go from the top down—starting at the ranger station—or from the bottom up starting at Britt Meadow, with both trailheads about 45 minutes from Beaver. Get complete directions here, but you’ll enter Beaver Canyon via state route 153. Keep in mind that you’ll have two to three miles of dirt roads to reach either trailhead.
Written by Stewart Green for RootsRated in partnership with Utah Office of Tourism and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image provided by Visit Beaver County