Studhorse Peak #1, 2, & 3 and Driving Burr Gap to Boulder & Highway 12 Capitol Reef Utah

  • Updated: November 25, 2016
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

November 25th, 2016

We picked Studhorse Peaks because of the names and a writeup we found online claiming they were a fun scramble.

We woke up at the Cedar Mesa Campground with everything coated in frost including our sleeping bags and all our gear as we'd neglected to put on the rainfly last night.  This made packing the tent a slight mess but we had Jen's camp stove french toast to soften the blow.

We drove south from the campground and then up Burr Trail Road to a small turnout between Studhorse Peak #1 and #2 stopping only briefly for the requisite sign picture.

Studhorse Peak #1

Studhorse Peak #1 is the furthest north of the 5 peaks that make up the Studhorse Peaks.  We approached from a turnout in between Studhorse Peak #1 and #2 and aimed more for the promised more interesting route by sticking further right than we needed to.

It made for a fun if short scramble and the summit with a few interesting 3rd class bits along the way.  There were a few 4th class options further to the right that I shied away from after feeling them out.  The rock was somewhat slippy largely due to lichen infestation.

The top had a very nice view but no register or standout high point.

Studhorse Peak #2

We headed back south and took a dirt road leading west just south of the remaining peaks.  This area had some low stone structures I assume date back to mining operations along with an abandoned vehicle and the usual amount of old cans and other trash.  *cough*  I mean artifacts.

We parked where the road got rough (though it turned out I could have gotten further by staying south) and started up a road.

The road degraded quickly.

Jen scrambled up some really loose dirt that barely held her weight.  Kristen and I went around and ended up on something almost as bad.

I went up but Kristen backed off and went up the road after I nearly hit her with a rather large chunk of rubble while trying to see if things went.

The peak is a mesa and the road runs to the north eastern peak where I assume there was mining activity (we didn't check due to time)  We grabbed the highpoint and descended to the southwest.

Studhorse Peak #3

This was the peak that seemed most interesting from the road.  There was a small finger ridge we climbed from the south and gained the ridge with some light 3rd class right around this window.

Once on the ridge we entered some large white rocks which were some of the most memorable of the range.

Studhorse Peak #2 from near the summit of #3.

This area below the summit had the best views and we spent more time here after we tagged the actual high point.

Coming down we went a bit further south thinking we might be able to drop down to the road (which we couldn't due to cliffs) and ended up in an interesting slot.

Which ended in this...

Jen jumped down the 8 ft or so at the end while Kristen and I decided we were rather attached to our ankles and found another way down.

There were two further peaks in the range but they didn't look as interesting as the three we'd done.

We still wanted firewood and planned to hit Torrey before it got too late in the hopes the gas station might be open.  Google pointed out that swinging to the west through Boulder would take less time than backtracking so we set off that direction.

We didn't expect much but the scenery on the southern end especially was spectacular.  And it was also not the right time of day for any decent photography.

We eventually reached Boulder where a very kind local was offering to cut us some firewood before we found a gas station that had bundles (easier to fit in the jeep)

Four bundles of firewood heavier we continued north along Highway 12 where the road climbed to almost 10k putting us above the snow level.

We started looking for a campsite as soon as we dropped back below the snow but the area just south of Torrey and Teasdale didn't offer much.  After trying a number of dirt tracks that didn't pan out we decided to drive back to Notom Road and enjoy our firewood.

Jen found a posting about a site just south of where the Notom Road crosses Pleasant Creek and we decided to try that.

The soft sand made for nice camping and there's a stream right behind the tent but it's a little close to the road and we ended up hearing periodic vehicle traffic throughout the next few hours.  There's better stuff nearby.

We had a nice fire and we had pie!  And tomorrow we were headed for the main attraction Fern's Nipple.

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