CRYSTAL Peak

There are interesting places for explorers looking for fossils, gems and minerals in West Millard County. However, most of these sites are not listed in this website because they are not developed, and it can be dangerous to travel to “the middle of nowhere” if you are not prepared.

However, Crystal Peak is listed because it is unique and because of its historic significance for early explorers in the area.

Crystal Peak Photo 1

Crystal Peak is the product of one of Millard County’s many volcanoes, thought to have erupted 33 million years ago. It is not actually the volcano itself, but part of the tuff ring (material thrown out of an erupting volcano that collects in a ring around the base of the volcano). The volcano’s vent is thought to have been just east of where Crystal Peak sits. The rhyolite tuff rock has a large amount of quartz crystals in it that increases its ability to reflect sunlight. The whiteness of the rock also indicates that there is no iron in it. The surfaces of the rock here have many grooves and shallow holes creating a very beautiful and surreal landscape. It’s fun to look for small crystals hidden in the holes.

In 1855 Crystal Peak was the mysterious beacon that beckoned the explorers of the White Mountain Mission. They came west to find Crystal Peak and also discovered the Snake Range, thus becoming the first known explorers to see what is now Wheeler Peak and Great Basin National Park.

Ezra Granger Williams on June 6, 1855 wrote that they reached the foot of “White Mountain” and they halted to “gaze at the mysterious wonder which was only known by a faint, meager description by the Indians. This mountain is a white sandstone rock, interspersed with bastard diamonds.... These small diamonds almost cover the ground for some distance before we reach the mountain, so much so as to dazzle the eye of the traveler on a sunny day.”

A camping area is located at the summit of the road that passes to the north of the mountain. If you decide to go to Crystal Peak, please take plenty of food, water, sturdy hiking gear and a first-aid kit. Check at local businesses in Delta or Baker or Garrison for road conditions. Remember that you are a long way from any other humans out here. Be careful for poisonous rattlesnakes and scorpions. Watch for loose gravel or sand on the surface of the rock as you can slip and slide all the way to the bottom of the slope.

Crystal Peak Photo 2

Sources: 
“Discovering Millard County” magazine.
“Great Basin National Park Historic Resource Study,” Harlan D. Unrau.

Location: 
Approx. 100 miles southwest from Delta. Go west on US. Hwy 6 &50 approx. 60 miles, then south at Ibex Well turn-off approx. 40 miles on sometimes unmarked gravel roads. Not recommended in snowy or rainy conditions.