South Tent Mountain has been my toughest county highpoint to reach. It took me 4 attempts to finally be successful. Was I inexplicably thrown off by the straightforward route finding? Did the dizzying 11,285 elevation overwhelm me? Was I unprepared for the 3 mile round trip? Nope. Nope. Nope. I was thwarted by the road to the trailhead each time!
The hike is off Skyline Drive and can be impassably muddy late into summer or after recent rains. When not muddy, it can be hopelessly rutted from being traveled while muddy. The best approach is to come up from Spring City, which should get you pretty close in most conditions, and be prepared to walk the extra 2-3 miles if the road is impassable. August and September seem to be the best bets for getting all the way to the trailhead.
Aside from the difficulty of the road, South Tent is an easy highpoint to bag. The shortest route will take little more than an hour, and the summit offers expansive views to the east into the San Rafael Swell, Cedar Mountain, and even the Book Cliffs far off into the distance. A nice summit! As an aside, there are many great primitive campsites along Skyline Drive, and it makes a nice place to spend a day or two.
From Spring City, UT, from Main Street, go east on 100 S.
At 0.7, 100 South end, go left, then immediate right onto Spring Canyon road. (unsigned)
3.0 miles, stay left
4.1 miles, stay right
5.6 miles, Spring City picnic area on the left. Stay right. The road begins to climb and wind steeply up.
Stay on the main dirt road until 12.5, where it intersects Skyline Drive at the top of the ridge. Though washboard, the road to this point is generally passable by most vehicles. Those with low clearance and 2wd, be cautious continuing from here, the road can be rough and/or very muddy depending on recent conditions.
Reset your odometer at Skyline Drive.
Follow Skyline Drive south. At 1.0 miles, a spur road goes off to the east just north of North Tent Mountain. If the road is in bad shape, and you made it this far, use the alternate route and start from here.
The road meanders around the west side of North Tent Mountain, stay on it. At 3.4 miles, a spur road goes off on the left (east). This spur road can be rutted and many may wish to walk it. North and South Tent Mountains are visible. If continuing down the jeep road, follow it for 0.75 miles and find a place to park.
Summit: 3440 m ( 11287 ft. )
Short Route Trailhead: 3183 m ( 10443 ft. )
Short Route (1-2 hours)
From the south side trailhead, it is an easy want up to the ridge between North and South Tent Mountains. Once on the ridge, a social/game/horse trail follows the ridge east to the summit.
Slight Longer North Route (2-3 hours)
If you start at the northern trailhead, head south and up to the ridge to the summit of North Tent Peak. Follow the ridge line east, down to the saddle, then up to the summit of South Tent Mountain on a social/game/horse trail that follows the ridge.