The Tushar Mountains, UT

The Tushar Mountains

The Tushar Mountains

The mountains were named for the Paiute word for white, T’shar, an indication of the light color seen near the summits of the peaks. Largely invisible from a great distance, the spectacular peaks at the climax of the range are best seen up close. Approaching from the east, the grandeur of the peaks is hidden by sharp and steeply rising foothills. From the east and the north, the peaks are visible, but only hint at the true majesty that is best enjoyed from the high alpine and rock-strewn ridges that provide a dream destination for the hiker or mountaineer. The peaks of the Tushar are the highest in the region, with three topping 12,000 feet. Found at the edge of the Great Basin, the volcanic heights of the Tushars provide a contrast to the dominant plateau structure to the east. Showing more similarity to the mountains of the Great Basin than the high table lands of the Colorado Plateau province, the range is a stunning complement to the outstanding desert and valley country that surrounds it. The Tushars contain both a dazzling diversity of views and vistas and a broad range of vegetation and wildlife. Matchless in southern Utah, the area contains alpine scenery that rivals Rocky Mountain National Park. One of the most striking views in the range can be had from the main route through the area along Forest Road 123. This road departs north from state Highway 153 west of Beaver, UT, climbs the range, winds through the heart of the area and descends to the hamlet of Marysvale.

The Tushar Mountains

The Tushar Mountains

The road is well known as part of the Paiute trail system. Visitors following this road to the pass above Big John Flat and Mud Lake are treated to a panoramic view of Mt Baldy and Mt. Belknap. Their ashen grey peaks above tree line fall conically to beautiful shades of rust red, purple, tan and golden yellow before being subsumed by alpine spruce/fir forests. To the west of this pass, a short hike to the ridge reveals the stunning gorge of Bullion Canyon, Mt Brigham, and South Edna Peak. An even wider palate of colors graces the slopes here with shades of purple, yellow, white, tan, light green, and pale orange blending gently into the bright green of short alpine grasses and forbs. Mountain goats can often be seen grazing here in the meadows below a feature called The Pocket. The diversity of the terrain continues to astound the visitor to the north and south of this point. The craggy heights of Shelly Baldy peak to the southwest invite a scramble to the summit. To the southeast, the smooth green folds of Delano Peak, the range’s highest point at 12, 169 feet, descend to aspen and conifer forests further south. North of this point, the peaks around the abandoned mining camp of Kimberly provide a challenging and noteworthy experience for the wilderness traveler. The Tushar Mountains contain the following roadless areas: Black Mountain ­ Wet Hollow, Bullion Delano ­ City Creek, Circleville Mountain, Pole Creek, Robber’s Roost, Sargent Mountain, and Tushar Mountains, covering approximately 249, 900 acres. The Tushar Mountain area falls within two level III ecoregions: the Central Basin and Range and the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains Ecoregions. The district contains four level IV ecoregions. The Central Basin and Range Woodland- and Shrub-Covered Low Mountains, the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains Alpine Zone, Semiarid Foothills, and Mountain Valleys subsections are all represented.

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