Category Archives: Wasatch Plateau

Seeley Mountain

This past Saturday I hiked with Chris and Dollie to the summit of Seeley Mountain in the Wasatch Plateau. Highway 31 was closed through Huntington Canyon due to the Trail Mountain Fire, so we had to drive the slightly longer route through Joe’s Valley. During the drive on Miller Flat Road, a helicopter flew overhead and we watched it dip some water out of Potter’s Ponds.

East Mountain and smoke from the Trail Mountain Fire
East Mountain and smoke from the Trail Mountain Fire

Helicopter dipping water from Potter’s Ponds
Helicopter dipping water from Potter's Ponds

Helicopter carrying water
Helicopter carrying water

The hike started in Scad Valley with a mellow climb first through sagebrush and then aspen. The quakies, of course, led to us going off-trail a lot to look at carvings in the trees. Most of the carvings were relatively recent, but some were quite old from the early 1900s.

Scad Valley trailhead
Scad Valley trailhead

Upper Scad Valley
Upper Scad Valley

Scad Valley "Trail"
Scad Valley "Trail"

Old road turned hiking trail
Old road turned hiking trail

Elwood Tidwell 1934
Elwood Tidwell 1934

Ted something, 1900
Ted something, 1900

The trail joined up with an old, closed road. I’m not sure how long it’s been closed, but the road is shown on the 1923 USGS topo map of the area, so it’s close to or possibly older than a hundred years. The road was steep but, except for a couple of fallen trees down low, easy to hike along.

Old road
Old road

Tree fallen lengthwise along the trail
Tree fallen lengthwise along the trail

Stupid sign
Stupid sign

J.L., 1906(?), 1909
J.L., 1906(?), 1909

Bert Madsen, 10-11-1917
Bert Madsen, 10-11-1917

Shirley ??? and Shirlene Poulson, 7/4/1931
Shirley ??? and Shirlene Poulson, 7/4/1931

Jack Sherman, Working on Trails
Jack Sherman, Working on Trails

Sheepherder carving
Sheepherder carving

Pretty steep for such an old road
Pretty steep for such an old road

Deer Hunt ’86 F***ed
Deer Hunt '86 F***ed

El exito depende de usted (Success depends on you)
El exito depende de usted (Success depends on you)

The road topped out in the head of Horse Canyon, and from there our route took us on another trail that went up the southwest ridge of Seeley Mountain. Although it wasn’t an official Forest Service trail, it was in pretty good shape. There were areas where the trail disappeared and we just hiked through trees or grassy areas, all of which were easy to navigate.

Trail junction
Trail junction

North slope of East Mountain
North slope of East Mountain

Climbing toward the southwest ridge of Seeley Mountain
Climbing toward the southwest ridge of Seeley Mountain

Southwest ridge of Seeley Mountain
Southwest ridge of Seeley Mountain

Upper Joe’s Valley
Upper Joe's Valley

Lonely sheepherder carving
Lonely sheepherder carving

Randy Livingston, 1988
Randy Livingston, 1988

Something Draper, 1919
Something Draper, 1919

Final push to the summit of Seeley Mountain
Final push to the summit of Seeley Mountain

I was pretty shocked and elated when, about 100 feet shy of the summit, I spotted a nearly perfect arrowhead lying on the ground! I simply never expected to ever find any arrowheads at this elevation, but on my last two hikes (two weekends apart) I found one at 10,500′ and this one at 10,260′. From the summit of Seeley Mountain, the views were much the same as I’d seen from East Mountain a couple of weeks earlier. We could see some smoke from the Trail Mountain Fire, but it wasn’t as bad as in some photos I’d seen from earlier in the week. We spent some time at the summit enjoying the views and the 4G.

Ooh, a pretty rock! Spotted about 100′ below the summit.
Ooh, a pretty rock!  Spotted about 100' below the summit.

Smoke above East Mountain
Smoke above East Mountain

Dollie and Chris at the top of Seeley Mountain
Dollie and Chris at the top of Seeley Mountain

Pines burned by the 2012 Seeley Fire
Pines burned by the 2012 Seeley Fire

Miller Flat Road through lower Scad Valley
Miller Flat Road through lower Scad Valley

Survey marker atop Seeley Mountain
Survey marker atop Seeley Mountain

Huntington and Cleveland reservoirs
Huntington and Cleveland reservoirs

The hike back down went quickly. We stopped at a water trough that was empty and noticed the pipe coming from a nearby spring was disconnected in the middle. Chris reconnected it and the trough began to fill. We’d been considering a side trip up the East Mountain trail to find a geocache and look for an old sawmill site, but it was late enough in the day that we decided to skip it (plus there were burgers and beer waiting for us back at my house). Our round-trip hiking distance ended up at 5.6 miles with 1,600′ elevation gain/loss. Back at the trailhead there was a Tacoma parked near my Jeep. I didn’t recognize it at the time but it turned out that it was Scott‘s truck, which I realized when he posted a photo of my Jeep on his Instagram story later that evening. We drove home by taking Flat, Boulger, and Eccles canyons toward Scofield and then followed Highway 6 into Price. It had been a great day, which we followed up with a barbecue, drinks, and a movie.

Reconnecting a water line between a spring and a trough
Reconnecting a water line between a spring and a trough

Bear claw marks on an aspen tree
Bear claw marks on an aspen tree

Skull and sword
Skull and sword

Colorado Columbine along the trail
Colorado Columbine along the trail

Jeep at the trailhead
Jeep at the trailhead

Crossing the sketchy log again
Crossing the sketchy log again

Furry moth
Furry moth

GPS stats
GPS stats

I found out the next day that we inadvertently entered the fire closure area during the hike, but I don’t feel too bad about it. The closure went into effect on Friday, we hiked into the area on Saturday, and the closure was announced publicly on Sunday. In addition, there was fire information posted right at the trailhead but it was several days old and didn’t mention any closures. C’mon Forest Circus, get your act together.


Photo Gallery: Seeley Mountain
GPS Track:
[Google Earth KMZ] [Gmap4 Satellite] [Gmap4 Topo]