Crater Island |

Silver Island Mountains

Hiking Crater Island - Silver Island MountainsRoadside Attraction Crater Island - Silver Island Mountains Hiking Crater Island
Silver Island Mountains

Overview | Getting There | Route | Photos | Maps | Comments

Overview

RATING: Roadside Attractions and Easy/Moderate Hikes
LENGTH: 4-6 hours
MAPS: LUCIN 4 SW, UT; LUCIN 4 NW, UT; CRATER ISLAND, UT

Fri

87 | 71

Sat

84 | 67

Sun

88 | 66

Mon

91 | 68

Tue

90 | 67

View Full Weather Details
SEASON: Late Fall, Winter, and Early Spring (Hot other times of the year)
GEAR: Standard Hiking Gear
WATER: None. Bring all you need.

Fri

87 | 71

Sat

84 | 67

Sun

88 | 66

Mon

91 | 68

Tue

90 | 67

View Full Weather Details
Morning light on the mudflats looking south at Crater Island.

Morning light on the mudflats looking south at Crater Island.

North of the main Silver Island Mountains is the remote Crater Island. The island is an area of stark hills surrounded by mudflats on three sides, with a peninsula connecting the island to the main Silver Island Mountains. This is a very infrequently visited area. Did I mention it is a remote area? A great place to go if you want to get away from the world and don't mind miles and miles of dirt road.

When I visited Crater Island, I was intrigued by several small blobs out in the mudflats just north of the island and wanted to visit the northern tip of the island and also these outcroppings. Wandering the mudflats and island has a very an "other worldly" feel. A few rabbit tracks and a howling coyote in the early morning hours were the only signs of life I saw on my visit.

The area is open terrain with many ridgelines and small summits to visit and wander. The island saw mining activity in the early 1900s, and even now (2022), exploratory core sampling is actively being done on the island, though the driller I talked to indicated not much had been found so far.

In my wanderings of the area, two hikes stuck out and are described below. Be sure when venturing out this far you have plenty of extra fuel, water, food, a spare tire, etc... The roads beyond where core drilling was occurring showed very little signs of use. If you broke down out here, it would be a very long way to help.

The Pilot Range and Northern Crater Island highpoint from the granite blobs in the mudflats.

The Pilot Range and Northern Crater Island highpoint from the granite blobs in the mudflats.

Getting There

Reaching Crater Island starts from the northern end of the Silver Island Scenic Byway. To reach the northern end of the scenic byway:

Go north off I-80 at exit 4. The exit is a few miles east of Wendover, UT, and about 115 miles west of Salt Lake City.

Once off the freeway, reset your odometer on the north side of the freeway and head north toward Bonneville Salt Flats.
1.2 miles - left onto a paved road.
1.95 miles - Right onto a dirt road. This is the Silver Island Mountain Byway/Eastside. Stay on this main dirt road as it travels north along the base of the Silver Island range. After 32.6 miles, Donner-Reed Pass is reached with a sign on the left. Just past this is the Crater Island access road at 32.85 miles. Reset your odometer as you turn right onto the Crater Island road.

  • Silver Island Scenic Byway - 32.85 miles - Crater Island side road on the right. ( 12T 266129mE 4543641mN / N41° 00' 38" W113° 46' 52" )
  • 1.1 miles - Minor side road on the left. Stay straight. ( 12T 266581mE 4545336mN / N41° 01' 33" W113° 46' 35" )
  • 2.0 miles - Side road on the left that goes up to an old mining area. Just after this side road is a side road on the right that goes to an old mining area and onto the mud flats. This is an excellent place for primitive camping. ( 12T 266981mE 4546703mN / N41° 02' 18" W113° 46' 20" )
  • 2.3 miles - Side road on the left that goes to the same mining area as the previous left. ( 12T 267199mE 4547086mN / N41° 02' 30" W113° 46' 11" )
  • 3.4 miles - Side road on the left that goes up to a large old mining area. Stay straight. ( 12T 268075mE 4548444mN / N41° 03' 15" W113° 45' 35" )
  • 6.1 miles - Highpoint Trailhead with a parking area on the right before the road rounds a bend and descends. ( 12T 269155mE 4551956mN / N41° 05' 10" W113° 44' 54" )
  • 6.75 miles - Side road on the right to a mine. Stay left. The road gets a bit worse from here. ( 12T 268817mE 4552773mN / N41° 05' 36" W113° 45' 09" )
  • 8.7 miles - Flat area at the top of a hill. There are mining remains in this area and it makes a good primitive campsite. The road descends steeply beyond here and passes a few more mining remains as it heads to the mud flats. ( 12T 268313mE 4555294mN / N41° 06' 57" W113° 45' 34" )
  • 9.5 miles - Road ends as it nears the mudflats. ( 12T 267390mE 4556117mN / N41° 07' 23" W113° 46' 15" )
Crater Island highpoint from near the trailhead.

Crater Island highpoint from near the trailhead.

Route

Northern Island Hike
This was my favorite hike on the island. From the last pass, hike down to the mudflats. After rains and in wet seasons, the mudflats might be difficult even for walking. In the winter and drier times, the mudflats have a nice firm feel and are fast walking. I headed north on the mudflat, around the northern point of Crater Island, and to the 3 rock blobs. These are piles of granite boulders and large rocks. From there, going back across the mudflats and hiking up the highest summit on the north part of the island gives excellent views of the mudflats and Pilot Range to the west. Easy cross country hiking south leads back to the trailhead in a nice loop.

Highpoint Hike
Being a bit of a peak bagger, I couldn't resist visiting the high point of the island. It is a short hike but is steep and a little loose in spots. From the trailhead, the peak is the high point to the west. Head toward it, crossing the first ridge before reaching the base of the peak. Work up the peak using good route finding. There are sections of steep and loose rock, but with a little route finding, this is pretty easy going. Return the same way from the summit. There was not a register that I could find on my visit, but a couple of large cairns and some rebar marked the summit. I wish there was a register, I would be interested to know how often it gets visited.


Maps

Printable Maps:
Mining Ruins and Primitive Camping

12T 267026mE 4546621mN

N41° 02' 15" W113° 46' 18"

Mining Ruins

12T 266720mE 4547288mN

N41° 02' 36" W113° 46' 32"

High Point

12T 268078mE 4552199mN

N41° 05' 17" W113° 45' 40"

Northern Highpoint

12T 269466mE 4557032mN

N41° 07' 55" W113° 44' 47"

Biggest Blob

12T 270538mE 4557892mN

N41° 08' 24" W113° 44' 03"

Old Mining Area

12T 267071mE 4548457mN

N41° 03' 15" W113° 46' 18"

Highpoint Trailhead

12T 269155mE 4551957mN

N41° 05' 10" W113° 44' 54"

Old Mine

12T 269118mE 4552925mN

N41° 05' 41" W113° 44' 57"

Old Mine

12T 268362mE 4555320mN

N41° 06' 58" W113° 45' 32"

Mining Area - Good Primitive Camping

12T 268400mE 4555098mN

N41° 06' 51" W113° 45' 30"

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