11.4 miles (round trip)
time: 8 hours
3,195 ft. gain/loss
Trailhead: 7,490 ft.
Well used and easy to follow
Summer through mid-fall. The upper parts of the trail
are usually covered with snow from mid-November through
late June. For current conditions call the Spanish Fork
Ranger District, Uinta National Forest, at (801) 798-3571.
Near Spanish Fork and Payson
many peaks along the Wasatch Front are considerably
higher than Santaquin Peak, few of the areas hikes
are more scenic than this one. The trail is especially
beautiful in the fall, as it passes through numerous
groves of maple and aspen on its way to Loafer Ridge.
Although the elevation gain is over 3,000 feet, the
gain is fairly well distributed along the 5.7 mile length
of the hike; hence the climb is not excessively strenuous.
You should carry a pair of binoculars to the top, since
there is a lot to see. Splendid views of Mount Nebo
and the Payson Lakes can be seen to the south, while
Mount Timpanogos and Utah Lake provide a backdrop for
Provo, Payson, and other nearby towns in the north.
the trailhead the path winds through the woods for 1.1
miles, gaining about 350 feet in elevation before coming
to a trail sign and junction near an old coral. Turn
left here in order to stay on the Loafer Mountain Trail.
(You will be on the Loafer Mountain Trail for the first
4.3 miles of this hike.) The trail continues east for
only 0.1 mile before coming to another junction where
you must turn right. Again there is a forest service
sign at the junction. You should stay on the Loafer
Mountain Trail, No. 98.
The trail now settles
down to a long, gradual climb of 2,000 feet over the
next 2.4 miles to the top of the Loafer Mountain Ridge.
Once you reach the ridge you will be out of the trees
and you can start enjoying the views. Payson Lakes are
directly below you, and Mount Nebo (11,928 ft.) is the
pyramid-shaped peak above the horizon 12 miles to the
south. Santaquin Peak, your destination, will also come
into view in front of you as you climb onto the ridge.
Santaquin is the most prominent peak on the left.
After another 0.7 mile
the ridge reaches a shallow saddle, where a faint trail
branches off to the right. The lesser used trail is
the continuation of the Loafer Mountain Trail, which
swings to the east at this point and eventually descends
down the mountain through Deer Hollow. To reach Santaquin
Peak you must bear left at this saddle, staying on the
better trail. There shouldnt be any confusion
because the other trail is so vague you might not even
see it. Furthermore, you goal, Santaquin Peak, is directly
in front of you now and it is quite obvious which direction
you should go.
Before continuing, pause
for a moment at the saddle to study the two peaks in
front of you, Santaquin on the left and Loafer on the
right. They are about 0.7 mile apart and are separated
by a deep notch. From this prospective Santaquin appears
to be the higher of the two, but it is actually slightly
lower. Nevertheless, Santaquin is a much more interesting
climb. Loafer is not really a peak at all, but rather
just the highest point on a long, unappealing ridge.
Also, it is hard to see Utah Valley from Loafer Peak
because the view is obstructed by Santaquin. But if
you insist on scaling the higher of the two peaks it
isn't too difficult to make your way from the saddle
up the ridge to the top of Loafer. The climb will require
about 880 feet of elevation gain. There is no trail
but there are no serious obstacles either, and the route
is quite straightforward.
The trail from the saddle
to the top of Santaquin Peak contours around the west
side of the Loafer Mountain Ridge until it reaches the
bottom of the notch separating the two peaks. It then
ascends toward the top of Santaquin, traversing around
the south side of the summit and reaching the peak 0.6
mile later. The elevation gain from the bottom of the
notch is about 430 feet.
provided by David
Day of utahtrails.com. Click here to order his book
Favorite Hiking Trails.