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Kings Peak
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The Kings Peak Destination is located in the state of Utah, with portions of the region connected to the state’s border with both Colorado and Wyoming. Kings Peak, the namesake of the destination, sits at an elevation of 13,528 feet above sea level and serves as a fairly popular attraction in the area.[1] Other attractions in the destination include Dinosaur National Monument, Fantasy Canyon, Uintah County Heritage Museum, and Red Fleet State Park. Ashley National Forest also tends to be frequented by tourists, and it covers approximately 1,382,346 acres of land.[3] The national forest is home to various types of wildlife, such as moose, elk, mule deer, beavers, bighorn sheep, and river otters, to name a few.[2] Ashley National Forest encompasses multiple cities in the destination, including Vernal. The average temperature of Vernal ranges anywhere between 11 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year. Summer is the warmest time in the area, producing an average daily temperature of 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Late June to late August is considered the “best time of year to visit Vernal” based on WeatherSpark's tourism score for the area.[4]

What Kings Peak is known for

Located in the northeast portion of the state of Utah is the Kings Peak Destination. Within the region, is Kings Peak mountain, the namesake of the destination and the tallest mountain in Utah, as it reaches a height of 13,528 feet above sea level.[1] The mountain is generally popular among hikers, offering three different routes to reach the summit, which are as follows: “a scramble up the east slope, a hike up the northern ridge, and a long but relatively easy hike up the southern slope.”[5] Henrys Fork Trailhead is a starting point to get to Kings Peak that some hikers have recommended, as they consider it to be a "moderate climb" in the beginning. This trail is about 27 miles long; the elevation gain on the hike often leads to a “lack of oxygen,” which commonly slows down hikers. On average, it takes about 12 to 16 hours to summit Kings Peak; however, it is possible for people to make the hike a multiple-day trip by camping at designated spots along the way.[1]

Kings Peak was named after Clarence King, who was a “surveyor in the area and the first director of the United States Geological Survey.” Since being surveyed by Clarence King, the hike is now regarded as one of the hardest state summits that people can climb without needing the help of a guide or prior rock climbing experience.[5] The closest city to Kings Peak is Manila, Utah, located in Daggett County, south of the Wyoming border. The size of the town of Manila is rather small, considering it has a population of 310 people as of the 2010 census.[6] A notable city located near Kings Peak is Vernal, Utah, which lies roughly southeast of the mountain. Currently, the town has a population of 10,376 people. Statistics show that this population has grown by 2.95% since the 2020 census. Overall, the annual growth rate for the city is 0.96%. The population density for Vernal is about 2,245 people per square mile.[7] 

An attraction relatively close to Kings Peak and Vernal is Flaming Gorge Reservoir on the Green River, which is about 40 miles north of Vernal. Part of the reservoir lies within the destination; however, most of Flaming Gorge is located in Wyoming. Some of the activities that can be engaged in at the reservoir include fishing, camping, boating, and hiking, to name a few.[8] Other places that people can visit are the Dinosaur National Monument, which features "remains of ancient dinosaurs [that] lie exposed"; Fantasy Canyon; Uintah County Heritage Museum, which features exhibits dedicated to the heritage of the Uintah Basin; Red Fleet State Park, where footsteps from dinosaurs can be found; and Ashley National Forest, which is "one of the largest forests in this side of the United States."[3]


The entire southern portion of the Kings Peak Destination lies against the state border of Utah and Colorado, while the northern border is primarily made up of Utah’s border with Wyoming. Within the area, there are multiple cities, including Vernal, Fort Duchesne, Duchesne, Fruitland, and Strawberry, to name a few. Geographical features in the area include Kings Peak, the namesake of the destination; Ashley National Forest, part of the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area; and Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.

Kings Peak, in addition to Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area and the Uinta Mountains, is located within the Ashley National Forest. The region contains multiple lakes and mountains and is home to various types of wildlife. Elk, moose, black bears, coyotes, mule deer, beavers, marten, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, river otters, and marmots are some species one might see when in the Ashley National Forest.[2]

Ashley National Forest encompasses the city of Vernal, which is known for having warm summers and freezing winters. The average temperatures for the area range between 11 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Based on WeatherSpark's tourism score, it is suggested that the “best time of year to visit Vernal” is from late June to late August, specifically for warm-weather activities. During the warm season, the average daily temperature is 76 degrees Fahrenheit, while the cold season produces an average high of 41 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the temperature is coldest during January, when 12 degrees Fahrenheit is the average low and 31 degrees Fahrenheit is the average high. Snow is common in the area, specifically between the end of November to mid-February.[4]


The Kings Peak Destination has a fairly broad history considering it is home to the tallest mountain in Utah and has various dinosaur-themed attractions. Kings Peak, the namesake of the destination, was first surveyed by Clarence King, who was the “director of the first U.S. Geological Survey team that came through Utah in 1867-71.” Although, Clarence didn’t know this mountain was the tallest point in the state because it took about 25 years after him for it to be discovered.[9]

Vernal, Utah, is a city in relatively close proximity to Kings Peak—often recognized for the “town’s roots in the Old West and being a large site of ancient dinosaur fossils.” When settlers first came to Utah, the area where Vernal is now located was deemed as land for “nothing but nomad purposes.” Eventually, Abraham Lincoln set the land aside to be the Uintah Indian Reservation. During that time, Captain Pardon Dodds settled there as an Indian agent, eventually leading to other settlers coming to the area.[10][9] Since then, the town of Vernal has grown to have a population of 10,376 people and an annual growth rate of 0.96%.[7]