Mt Tuk, La Sal Mountains
Moab Hiking Tags
Above Tree Line
Best Summer Hike in Moab
Little Used Trail
Everyone who has ever visited Moab has surely noticed the large mountains looming in the backdrop of every hike. Those mountains are known as the La Sal Mountains and are actually the second tallest range in Utah. The name La Sal originated from the earliest Spanish explorers and means Salt Mountains. This name is due to the snow on them that looks like salt in the summer time, there are no salt deposits in the mountains that I know of.
Even though Mt Tuk is not the tallest of the La Sal Mountains it is the most popular Alpine hike in Moab Utah. The hike starts out from La Sal Pass and climbs a short distance through a lovely meadow. The trail eventually enters the spruce trees. I'm fairly sure the trail receives more cow traffic than human traffic so watch your step if you know what I mean. The cows don't go above the tree line so once past the trees you will be past the cows also.
The view that greats you once you reach the ridge, known as Fang Ridge, between Mt Tuk and Mt Peale would make you swear you were in Colorado and not Moab Utah. All around your are mountain tops raising above the tree line. Be on the lookout for mountain goats that are known to frequent this area.
Once at the Fang Ridge, Mt Tuk looks to be just a small hill that would require no effort to climb. However, at 12,000+ feet the oxygen is thin and the hike can start to take its toll on you. See all the small rocks in the distance? They are actually the size of tables and move around when you walk on them.
Notice how loose the rocks are in the Mt Tuk scree field! There is not really a trail here and every step must be carefully considered. Each rock wants to dance away when you step on it so please use extract caution, a broken leg or twisted ankle hear would require a very difficult evacuation.
Notice how clear and blue the sky is in the picture and dark it is in the picture above. They sky changed within just a few minutes. We were chased down from the top by lighting literally as soon as we reached the top. As with hiking in Colorado you will have to consider the weather when you plan to be on the mountain. Too early and it will be cold, too late and thunderstorms could ruin your trip. The best time to hike this mountain is in the summer. These pictures were taken in August. The Moab temperature was 100+ but it was cold up here.
If you are considering a Moab adventure we would recommend checking out the town homes at Moab Adventure Condo. We stayed with them and it was so nice to have room to relax and not be stuck in a cramped hotel room. Since the cost of the rental was split between two families it actually ended up being cheaper than a hotel room and much nicer. Not to mention the pool and hot tub were just sets from our condo.