Weather and Trail Conditions
Water sources are prolific in the Henry's Fork, Painter basin and on the final approach to Anderson Pass. With 10,000+ visitors trying to climb the peak it is important to treat water using either a filter or chemical treatment. A chemical treatment such as chlorine tablets or iodine tablets is a low cost and easy way to make water found in the basin safe. Users attempting to bring in bottled water for the entire trip need to pack out their empty water bottles.
Link to weather at Kings Peak (afternoon thunderstorms are severe, plan on leaving the summit by 1 pm) http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lon=-110.37225&lat=40.77535#.U6BNepRdV5I
Utah Snotel Link showing actual overnight temperatures at the 10,000 ft level. Select Henry's Fork Snotel site for current temperature data. For reference Dollar Lake is at 10,785 ft. http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/snotel/Utah/utah.html
Every year over ten thousand people attempt to summit Kings Peak, the highest point in Utah. The most popular route is from the north starting at Henry's Fork trailhead. This 24-mile round trip hike climbs 3,500 feet in elevation, over Gunsight and Anderson Passes, with a boulder scramble to the peak from Anderson Pass for the last mile.
From the south, Kings Peak can be reached from the Yellowstone/Swift Creek trailhead, a 22-mile hike one-way. Access to this trailhead north of Duchesne, Utah, travels a dirt road for the final ten miles. An alternative route starts from the Center Park trailhead is also unpaved. Both of these routes are slow gradual climbs until they reach Anderson Pass. They see much less foot traffic than the Henry's Fork route and require an overnight stay or two somewhere along the route.
The routes from the east are from the Uinta Canyon trailhead over Roberts Pass and from West Fork White Rocks over Fox-Quent Pass. These two routes are about the same distance as the southern approach but the extra pass makes for a more strenuous hike.
From the north, the summit of Kings Peak is doable as a very long day hike, with climbers starting at dawn or earlier from the trailhead. Be aware there are often summertime thunderstorms and lightening. Plan to be leaving the summit and heading down by early afternoon to avoid bad weather.
In 2010, there were five search and rescue missions initiated for hikers who were "lost " in the area around or on Kings Peak. The majority of these lost individuals tried to shortcut the trail to save time on their descent and many of them spent a night out with no gear. Remember that the routes south or east from Kings Peak don't reach a trailhead for at least 22 miles one-way.
If you do choose the more popular Henry's Fork trailhead approach to Kings Peak, please note that there may be more than 200 felllow hikers per weekend day during July and August, also attempting to reach the summit. For this reason it is critical that you practice Leave No Trace Principles and understand the current wilderness regulations for the High Uintas Wilderness.