Top Of The World – Utah’s Lonely Henry Mountains

Not long ago I stood on Mt. Ellen, highest point on the Henry Mountains and scanned the horizon for 360 degrees. At every point of the compass I surveyed destinations that I have visited before. Memories of each place flooded my mind, and I relished the moment as much as any outdoor experience I can remember.

The Henry Mountains are the last mountain range to be added to maps of the lower 48 contiguous states, and from them you can see into the last explored region of the continental U.S. The area surrounding the Henry Mountains is so rough that this is where western outlaws frequently hid from the law. From my vantage point on Mt. Ellen (11,500') I could see into Butch Cassidy's hideout of Robbers Roost.

Looking North: The terrain is desolate to the north as you scan across the San Rafael Swell.

Canyonlands National Park view
Looking east to the La Sal Mountains, Canyonlands National Park and the Dirty Devil River Basin.

Looking East: Views of the Dirty Devil river basin, Canyonlands National Park, and the distant La Sal Mountains east of Moab.

Butch Cassidy Robber's Roost
A coral still stands at Butch Cassidy's Robbers Roost.

Looking South: Lake Powell is off in the distance and Navajo Mountain, one of four mountains considered sacred by the Navajo People is visible with it's position on the edge of Lake Powell.

Grand Staircase
Looking south toward Navajo Mountain, and the Grand Staircase
Lake Powell
Lake Powell - Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Looking West: Scanning from the southwest to the west their are views of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, the Kaiparowitz Plateau, Bryce Canyon National Park, Powell Point and Boulder Mountain, Fish Lake National Forest and Thousand Lakes Mountain, and the entirety of Capitol Reef National Park.

Boulder Mountain
Boulder Mountain and Thousand Lakes Mountain

Bottom line, the views from the top of the Henry's are downright awe inspiring. Add to this the fact that there is a free roaming herd of purebred buffalo that roams the Henry's and you've got a recipe for complete outdoor nirvana.

Buffalo - Bison
Buffalo Bull

Access to these mountains is best accomplished from May to November as snow will be a natural impediment in the other months of the year, and possibly even during these months.

This map (link) shows access points and a route across the norther section of the Henry Mountains to Mt. Ellen.