“Life elevated” has become the state’s slogan. Is that just all hype?

No, Utah is truly mountain territory and there are peaks scattered all over the state. Elevations in Utah range from 13,528 feet (Kings Peak) down to Beaver Dam Wash (2,185 feet).

Utah is indeed “High on the Mountain Top,” as a popular LDS Church hymn proclaims.

In fact, if you take the elevations of the highest point in each county for each of the 50 states and average them together, Utah is the “highest” state of them all.

Yes, six states -- Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Washington, Wyoming all boast mountains taller than Utah's highest, Kings Peak. However, those states also contain more low-elevation counties, reducing their statewide average.

The average of county high points for Utah is 11,226 feet, 435 feet higher than Colorado's 10,791. Nevada is third at 10,765 and Wyoming fourth at 10,179.

New Mexico, (9,404); Alaska, (9,259); Arizona (8,703); Idaho, (8,290); Montana, (7,502) and Hawaii (7,465) round out the top ten.

This formula was originally publicized by Winford Bludworth of Salt Lake City in the early 1990s. It was also used by Andy Martin of Tucson, Ariz., in his “County Highpoints” book, published a few years later.

(Of course, it does depend on what formula you use to determine average elevation, but just about any way you do it, Utah or Colorado will probably be the top state.)

Note that Colorado does have twice as many counties as Utah does. Also, Colorado contains 53 14,000-foot-plus peaks, while Utah has none. Yet, despite having many taller peaks than Utah, the eastern third of Colorado is a sloping plain toward Nebraska and Kansas, devoid of significant mountains.

A major reason for the Beehive State’s dominance is that it has mountains all over -- there are no "plains.” For example, even Washington County, containing St. George and the Beaver Dam Wash, soars to 10,000-feet plus in nearby mountains.

Beaver Dam Wash, the lowest Utah point, is even taller than the high points of 13 other states. In fact, Utah's Rich County (9,255 feet), the lowest county “high point” in Utah, is taller than the high point of 37 other states. Plus, it's the highest of the low county high points in all 50 states.

Highest point in each of Utah's 29 counties:

Beaver: * Delano Peak, 12,169.

Box Elder: "Bull Mountain," 9,934.

Cache: Naomi Peak, 9,979.

Carbon : Monument Peak, 10,452.

Daggett: * "Eccentic" bench mark, 12,276.

Davis: * Thurston Peak, 9,706.

Duchesne : Kings Peak, 13,528.

Emery: East Mountain, 10,743.

Garfield: Mt. Ellen, 11,522.

Grand: Mt. Waas, 12,331.

Iron: Brian Head, 11,307.

Juab: Ibapah Peak, 12,087.

Kane: ** Andy Nelson Peak/Gooseberry Point's S.E. Ridge, 10,027.

Millard: Mine Camp Peak, 10,222.

Morgan: * Thurston Peak, 9,706.

Piute: Delano Peak, 12,169.

Rich: Bridger Peak/Swan Peak, north ridge, 9,255.

Salt Lake: American Fork Twin Peaks, 11,489.

San Juan : Mt. Peale, 12,721.

Sanpete: South Tent Mountain, 11,285.

Sevier: Fish Lake Hightop, 11,633.

Summit: Gilbert Peak, 13,442.

Tooele: Deseret Peak, 11,031.

Uintah: * "Eccentric" bench mark, 12,276.

Utah: North Nebo, 11,928.

Wasatch: * Mount Cardwell, 10,743.

Washington: Signal Peak 10,365.

Wayne: Bluebell Knoll, 11,322.

Weber: Willard Peak, 9,764.

*Shared high point with another county.

The highest peaks in the Top of Utah.:

(Note: All peaks are in the Wasatch Range, unless otherwise noted. Also, some summits straddle county lines.)

Box Elder County’s 5 tallest named peaks:

1. “Bull Mountain,” Raft River Mountains, 9,934

2. Willard Peak, 9,764

3. George Peak, Raft River Mountains, 9,601

4. “Inspiration Point”/Willard Mountain, 9,422

5. Box Elder Peak, Wellsville Mountains, 9,372

Davis County’s 5 tallest named peaks:

1. Thurston Peak, 9,706

2. “Layton Peak,” 9,571.

3. Francis Peak, 9,547

4. “Ed’s Peak,” 9,381

5. Bountiful Peak, 9,259

Morgan County’s 5 tallest named peaks:

1. Thurston Peak, 9,706

2. Layton Peak,” 9,571.

3. Francis Peak, 9,547

4. “Ed’s Peak,” 9,381

5. DeMoisey Peak, 9,370

Weber County’s 5 tallest named peaks:

1. Willard Peak, 9,764

2. Ben Lomond Peak, 9,712

3. Mount Ogden, 9,572

4. Allen Peak, 9,465

5. Wolf Creek/James Peak, 9,422

Utah’s 10 tallest named mountain peaks:

1. Kings Peak, Uinta Mountains, Duchesne County, 13,528.

2. South Kings Peak, Uinta Mountains, Duchesne County, 13,512.

3. Gilbert Peak, Uinta Mountains, Summit and Duchesne counties, 13,442.

4. Mount Emmons, Uinta Mountains, Duchesne County, 13,440.

5. Mount Lovenia, Uinta Mountains, Summit and Duchesne counties; 13,219.

6. Tokewanna Peak, Uinta Mountains, Summit County, 13,165.

7. Mount Powell, Uinta Mountains, Summit County, 13,159.

8. “Wasatch Peak," bench mark, Uinta Mountains, Summit County, 13,156.

9. Wilson Peak, Uinta Mountains, Summit and Duchesne counties, 13,049.

10. "Squaw Peak" bench mark, Uinta Mountains, Summit County, 12,990.

Note: There are 14 unnamed peaks over 13,000 feet above sea level in the Uinta Mountains.

Tallest Utah Mountains NOT found in the Uintas Range:

1. Mount Peale, La Sal Mountains, San Juan County, 12,721.

2. Mount Mellenthin, La Sal, Mountains, San Juan County, 12,645.

3. Mount Tukuhnikivatz, La Sal Mountains, San Juan County, 12,482.

4. Mount Waas, Grand County, 12,331.

5. Manns Peak, Grand County, 12,272.

6. Mount Tomasaki, La Sal Mountains, Grand County, 12,239.

7. Delano Peak, Beaver and Piute counties, 12,169.

8. Mount Belknap (or "Belnap") Beaver and Piute counties, 12,137.

9. Mount Baldy, Beaver and Piute counties, 12,122.

10. Ibapah Peak, Juab County, 12,087.

11. Haystack Peak, Juab County, 12,020

12. Mount Holly, Beaver and Piute counties, 11,985.

13. Ibapah Azimuth, Juab County, 11,987.

14. Mount Nebo North Peak, Utah and Juab counties, 11,928.

15. Mount Nebo South Peak, Utah and Juab counties, 11,877.

16. Mount Nebo Middle Peak, Utah and Juab counties, 11,824.

17. South Mountain, San Juan County, 11,817.

18. Mount Brigham, Piute County, 11,757.

19. Mount Timpanogos “North Peak,” Utah County, 11,750.

20. "Mount Timpanogos South Peak," Utah County 11,722.

SOURCES: USGS and U.S. Forest Service maps, “High in Utah” book, by Michael R. Weibel and Dan Miller.

Photo: From Mt. Ogden looking to Ben Lomond.jpg Caption:

Photo: Kings Peak, center, reflected in pool in Henry's Basin (.JPG Caption:

Photo: Willard Peak from Inspiration Point.jpg Caption:

Photo: Thurston Peak from Layton.JPG Caption:

Photo: Kings Peak from south side.JPG Caption:


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