August 27-28, 2020
Two weeks before this trip I’d spent five days in the Tushar Mountains, hiking to Circleville Mountain and Blue Lake, and I’d hoped to also summit Mount Belknap but the other hikes wore me out too much. So, I returned a couple of weeks later with rested legs and finally bagged this peak. I took Friday off work and drove down Thursday evening, passing through Marysvale on my way up Beaver Creek Road. I found a spot to pull off the road at the head of Bullion Canyon and Pine Creek, and slept in the back of my Jeep that night.
I was up at sunrise on Friday morning. I drove less than two miles to where I’d planned on starting the hike, at the bottom of an old, reclaimed mining road that zig-zags up to the ridge extending southeast from Mount Belknap. It was easy-going and I reached the top of the ridge in about 35 minutes.
The mining track only extended a short distance around a big hill on the ridge, and after that I followed a hiking trail that traverses the hill’s steep western slope. That part was mostly easy, but one section across very firm dirt was a little worrying. The footing wasn’t great, and a slip here would probably send me sliding down the steep hillside for quite a distance. I made it to the saddle between the hill and Belknap. There I found a wildlife camera on a steel post, and all over the hillside in front of it were metal tags nailed to the ground, each with a different number stamped on it. I also found a geocache nearby, then headed toward the start of the very steep ascent to the summit.
It looked like a very daunting climb from below, but as I made the climb I found faint trails through the talus that made it easier. The rocks everywhere were covered in dendrites, forming beautiful black patterns on the light-colored rock. The trail carried me below the summit and I topped out on a ridge just west of the high point. There were several summit shelters, some of them quite well built with multiple rooms and nice, square walls.
It was a short, easy walk the rest of the way to the summit. I signed the summit register and read through some of the logs, then sat in a nearby summit shelter and ate lunch while enjoying the views all around.
I cruised back down from the mountain, meeting a couple in the saddle who were on their way up. We chatted briefly from a distance and they inquired about the difficulty of the steep part of the climb, and I assured them that it wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked from there. I got back to my Jeep a little after noon, having spent five hours on the trail despite it only being 3.25 miles round-trip.
My plan for the rest of the day was to explore Bullion Canyon and spend another night before going home, but there wasn’t as much to see there as I’d expected. There were a few scattered cabins and some old mining equipment throughout the canyon, and at Miner’s Park there was a large collection of buildings and equipment, with interpretive signs explaining the area’s history and the function of the machinery. Some of the larger, more interesting buildings in the canyon were on private property and had No Trespassing signs posted. I finished up much earlier than I’d planned, so instead of camping another night I drove home and made it there in time for dinner.