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Deep Creek Mountains – Toms Canyon

Deep Creek Mountains near Callao, Utah


Desert, Mountains, Cabins


20 Miles with all side routes

Parking Lot Elevation


Summit Elevation


Elevation Gain/Loss


Time Required

3-6 Hours





Water Info

There is a large fresh water creek in the canyon and very close to the trail in several areas

Best Season

Open June 1st - November 1st

Sun Exposure

Full sun exposure most of the way. Wear sunscreen!

Trail Condition

Atv/Jeep trail. The main canyon I would rate as intermediate and Middle Canyon I would rate as expert due to steep, loose, and off camber situations



Visitor Center






GPS Coordinates:

Trail Head:39.87326N, 113.81564W

Driving Directions

The Trail:

Tom’s Canyon is an ATV/Jeep trail in the Deep Creek Mountains. The Deeps are south of Wendover and are the tallest range in the West Desert. They rise 7,800 feet from the desert to heights over 12,000 feet. This is a VERY remote area and only those properly prepared should visit. You need to pack everything to be self sufficient as this isn’t an area you want to break down in and be stranded. With that said the Deep Creeks are one of the most incredible areas I have ever visited. We spent three days and could easily spend three more. Its a gorgeous area with lots of historical relics and buildings to see.¬†This area is extremely important to stay on the obviously traveled roads and trails. The area is actively trying to be made into wilderness and was actually recently reopened from the Wilderness Study Area after the locals won a lawsuit showing historical use of the roads in the areas. It is extremely important that we treat this area with respect so we can all enjoy it for years to come.


Tom’s Canyon scenery wise was the highlight of this trip for me. The trail starts from the desert floor and immediately rises through desert trail that is fairly steep and loose in areas. There are also a few ruts and washed out areas that make it a challenge to traverse on an ATV. Go slow here and be safe. Four wheel drive is definitely very helpful on this trail. I won’t say you couldn’t make it in two wheel drive but some areas would be pretty dangerous.

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I enjoyed watching the vegetation completely change as you gained elevation. The area also has several really cool granite formations. These are very common in these mountains. Its like the City of Rocks on steroids.

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There is a side trail that crosses the creek and takes you to beautiful views of Ibapah Peak and an old cabin. Ibapah is one of the tallest mountains in Utah and one of the most prominent mountains in the USA. If you run into a cabin on the main trail you have gone too far and missed the side trip that is arguably the best part of the ride.


Here is the cabin with an incredible view. I really loved this area.

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This side trail ends at the cabin so retrace your steps back to the main trail. Once back on the main trail you will quickly come to another cabin in another pretty setting.

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After checking out this area there is another cabin that is mostly collapsed but has a picnic table by the creek that is a great place to eat lunch!

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Above the third cabin the trail starts climbing even quicker and isn’t short on scenery as it gets even more forested.


The trail ends at a knoll overlooking Scotts Basin. This would be a great area to hike since there are lots of petroglyphs in the basin. You get a good view from here of a peak named Ibepah Azimuth which is kind of a false summit for Haystack Peak which is another 12,000 foot peak.


Across Scott’s Basin is Rocky Peak which is very prominent and almost 11,00 feet. Rocky peak is randomly the 101’st most prominent peak in Utah.


There are other cool formations in the basin and just amazing scenery all around.

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From here you must retrace your steps back to the mouth of Tom’s Canyon. The next canyon to the North is called Middle Canyon which takes you to the top of a ridge also overlooking Scott’s Basin. This trail is VERY steep and often is really rough condition and overgrown. Its definitely worth the ride but I wouldn’t take beginners in the canyon. 4×4 is a must here. There are several interesting formations in Middle Canyon.


From the top you see Rocky Peak watching over Scott’s Basin from a different perspective.


The views of the highest peaks from here also include Ibapah, Ibepah Azimuth, and Haystack and they make for some amazing photos.

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On our way back we were treated to a beautiful sunset overlooking the vast Utah Desert.


Personal Thoughts:

Like I already expressed this was one of the most incredible places I have been. Amazing solitude, amazing stars, amazing scenery, amazing campsites. We saw one other group camping and didn’t see a single person while riding the trails. This isn’t an often visited area which adds to the specialty of it to me. Make sure to go prepared because this place is amazing! While you are in the area be sure to visit these areas as well!

Indian Farm Creek

Goshute Canyon

Granite Creek Canyon

Trout Creek

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The Bottom Line

Difficulty is basically the length, duration and stress of the Trek. If the Trek is really long then it will receive a higher rating. If the Trek is short then it won't receive that high of a rating. However, difficulty rating also includes how tired we were at the end of the Trek.

Technicality is how strenuous the Trek is. If there is lots of bouldering or if there is bushwhacking involved then the rating will be higher. Technicality also includes if there are steep inclines or the need for ropes and other equipment.

Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

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About The Author
I love adventure! I live in Cache Valley, Utah. Do you have questions on any of my Treks? Email me @

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3 Comments on "Deep Creek Mountains – Toms Canyon"

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Frederick J. Harris

Just came back from there. Visited around end August 2015. Agree with your description, but when I was there it was over-run with cattle. All the old cabin sites stank from cow s***. Couldn’t camp in any of them. Hope to make it back next fall, after ranchers move cattle out. Definitely need 4X4 to get in (in terms of highway vehicles).


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