50 mile trip suggestions for 1st week of August?

Tanasi

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May 30, 2017
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Hi, I've been searching on the site but haven't come up with exactly what we are looking for. And I am feeling overwhelmed by the amount of info and the short (for me) planning deadline! Ideally we are looking for a 40 to 50 mile loop (could be a little less, but no more), or an easy shuttle hike. We will have a rental car. We have the first week of August...including travel time from Nashville so something easily accessible to a larger airport area would be great. We love elevation and great views, and would consider a more "desert like" location if the heat/water weren't an issue. We have spent time in GNP, Cascades, Sierras, and Sawtooths and would like to see something new.

1. No grizzly bears (I know the odds are tiny that we would have a problem, but I've seen one while backpacking and it put a damper on the whole trip).
2. We don't want to carry a lot of water the whole time.

We can get to Salt Lake City pretty easily and are thinking about the Uintas. However, Ive seen a couple of trip reports that talk about the smell and poor trail conditions from sheep/cattle grazing. Any idea if those reports were accurate? We can also get to Denver easily and could do part of the CT or CDT (though we don't care about it being part of a long distance trail).

Does anyone have any favorites they could share? It doesn't even have to be in the mountains as long as we aren't tree bound the entire time.

Thank you!
 

Absarokanaut

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Sep 17, 2014
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Since the most spectacularly beautiful country is invariably NOT on a loop you might get a shot, go to the Colorado Sangres and do two shoirt trips. Check out the Colorado Springs thread I just answered the other day for some photos.

Flying hundreds if not more miles and then driving to a trailhead is EXPONENTIALLY more dangerous than the "threat" posed by Grizzly Bears. If you come to your senses we can give you amazing recommendations for Greater Yellowstone. The Teton Crest rarely sees Grizz, Blackies are everywhere though. Don't forget Mt. Lions are everywhere.
 

Tanasi

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May 30, 2017
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Since the most spectacularly beautiful country is invariably NOT on a loop you might get a shot, go to the Colorado Sangres and do two shoirt trips. Check out the Colorado Springs thread I just answered the other day for some photos.

Flying hundreds if not more miles and then driving to a trailhead is EXPONENTIALLY more dangerous than the "threat" posed by Grizzly Bears. If you come to your senses we can give you amazing recommendations for Greater Yellowstone. The Teton Crest rarely sees Grizz, Blackies are everywhere though. Don't forget Mt. Lions are everywhere.

Ok..say we drop the grizzly bear requirement :) And I do know it is irrational. There are 4 of us and though we like to spread out we can hike together and make noise. Being relatively close to a major airport is a plus so we don't spend to big of a chunk of time traveling. I looked at access to the Wind River Range. It would be a long expensive flight and drive. Maybe the Tetons would be an option, but I think it is the same flight for us though a shorter drive. Was your Colorado Springs post for day hikes? I might be looking at the wrong one. Will check it out.
 

Perry

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Don't let reports of sheep grazing keep you from the Uintas. Yes, there are places and times you might be exposed to them but there are *tons* of miles of splendor to enjoy.
 

Nick

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Don't let reports of sheep grazing keep you from the Uintas. Yes, there are places and times you might be exposed to them but there are *tons* of miles of splendor to enjoy.

This. I bitch about grazing as much as anyone, but it is no reason to avoid the place, especially if you really like being well away from grizzly habitat. The Winds are really nice and just kinda sorta grizzlyish.
 

Jackson

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x2 on what @Cuberant said about the Uintas. Trails can be swampy in a few places, and you may occasionally see overgrazed areas, but I it's not as bad as it's often made out to be. It's actually great. I can't wait to get back out there soon.

I think planning your own route beforehand often makes the trip that much more enjoyable. Just hop on Caltopo and start planning what you want to do. Look up pictures of places to determine if they're what you want to see. You can get overwhelmed by all the stuff on Alltrails, people's blogs and trip reports and such, but just remember you're not confined to those boxes. Especially when you're looking for a good 50-miler in places with lots of great trails, like the Uintas and the Winds. You can get see lots of good stuff with mileage like that. And odds are, no matter where you end up, it's going to be fantastic.

For the Uintas, maybe look at starting from one of the north slope trailheads, like Christmas Meadows, China Meadows, Henry's Fork, and West Fork Black's Fork. My experience in the Uintas isn't vast, but nearly any question you'll have could be answered by someone on here, I'd bet.
 

Tanasi

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This. I bitch about grazing as much as anyone, but it is no reason to avoid the place, especially if you really like being well away from grizzly habitat. The Winds are really nice and just kinda sorta grizzlyish.


Thank you! I've found ambien helps keep the bears away at night. Any Uintas routes in particular you would recommend? Up to 50 miles fine. Loops or easier shuttles preferred. I think the Tetons/Winds are going to be too expensive and time consuming to get to . We are also looking at a couple of Colorado Trail sections. Denver is a cheap/easy flight for us.
 

Tanasi

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x2 on what @Cuberant said about the Uintas. Trails can be swampy in a few places, and you may occasionally see overgrazed areas, but I it's not as bad as it's often made out to be. It's actually great. I can't wait to get back out there soon.

I think planning your own route beforehand often makes the trip that much more enjoyable. Just hop on Caltopo and start planning what you want to do. Look up pictures of places to determine if they're what you want to see. You can get overwhelmed by all the stuff on Alltrails, people's blogs and trip reports and such, but just remember you're not confined to those boxes. Especially when you're looking for a good 50-miler in places with lots of great trails, like the Uintas and the Winds. You can get see lots of good stuff with mileage like that. And odds are, no matter where you end up, it's going to be fantastic.

For the Uintas, maybe look at starting from one of the north slope trailheads, like Christmas Meadows, China Meadows, Henry's Fork, and West Fork Black's Fork. My experience in the Uintas isn't vast, but nearly any question you'll have could be answered by someone on here, I'd bet.
Thank you Jackson!
 

Venchka

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On the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park at Grand Lake there is a 30 mile circular trail. 25 miles is the CDT and 5 miles of connection to get back to the beginning.
Denver International to Big Sandy Trailhead in the Wind River Range is an 8 hour drive.
I'm part of a group of 4 and we have 50, 60 & 70 mile loops mapped out from Scab Creek Trailhead. 50 miles, or a bit less, can be done from Big Sandy as well.
Good luck!
Wayne



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LarryBoy

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Salt Lake to Big Sandy trailhead in the Winds isn't really all that much farther than some of the more remote north slope trailheads in the Uintas.

You could make a killer loop by hiking out of East Fork Blacks Fork (my favorite TH in the Uintas) and heading towards Red Knob Pass. At the pass, take a detour to Dead Horse Lake. Retrace your steps to the pass and head into Oweep basin, over Porcupine and Tungsten Passes. Tag Kings Peak (the highest in Utah) and climb Smiths Fork pass. Take a quick side trip to Red Castle Lake and then back over the plateau to your car. It'd probably be 50 miles or so, depending on side trips.

Venchka's loop in the Winds looks like a lot of fun as well.
 

kwc

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Wanna do something different? Head northeast and try some backpacking in the Adirondacks. No grizzlies (but there are black bears). Lots of options for loops, side trips, etc ... plenty of water ... the black flies are long gone by August & the mosquitoes won't be too bad (deer flies might be an issue though - those creatures just won't quit). Scenery is much different than what you've experienced out west. Closest "major" airport would be Albany although you could fly into Syracuse (which might be cheaper) and hit the western or northern ADKs. How about a canoe trip? You can rent canoes & head into some pretty wild country ...
 

Venchka

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Idaho Falls used to be a less expensive alternative to the Jackson Hole airport and close to good trails.
Riverton, WY airport is reportedly inexpensive from the Denver airport. However, if you entered the Winds from the east side you would need a permit from the Wind River Reservation. Assuming that you can rent a vehicle at the airport.
Too many trails. Too little time.
Wayne


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Parma

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Starting at the Highlight TH and hitting Naturalist, Four Lakes, and Rock Creek Basins would be a great loop/out n back for your guys.
Oh ya, this is in the Unitas.
 

LarryBoy

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Wanna do something different? Head northeast and try some backpacking in the Adirondacks. No grizzlies (but there are black bears). Lots of options for loops, side trips, etc ... plenty of water ... the black flies are long gone by August & the mosquitoes won't be too bad (deer flies might be an issue though - those creatures just won't quit). Scenery is much different than what you've experienced out west. Closest "major" airport would be Albany although you could fly into Syracuse (which might be cheaper) and hit the western or northern ADKs. How about a canoe trip? You can rent canoes & head into some pretty wild country ...
Or the Whites for that matter.
 

LizardAZ

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You might also look at the North Cascades, and associated wilderness areas (Pasayten, Glacier Peak, Mt Baker). All are an easy drive from Seattle. Another option, if you are willing to relax your restrictions on grizzly bears, is to fly into Calgary and head to Banff, Jasper or the other parks in the Canadian Rockies. This is a much shorter drive than trying to get from SLC to the Tetons or Winds, and there are a lifetime's worth of loops or one way hikes that can be easily hitched, or shuttled via a taxi out of one of the towns

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Venchka

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You might also look at the North Cascades, and associated wilderness areas (Pasayten, Glacier Peak, Mt Baker). All are an easy drive from Seattle. Another option, if you are willing to relax your restrictions on grizzly bears, is to fly into Calgary and head to Banff, Jasper or the other parks in the Canadian Rockies. This is a much shorter drive than trying to get from SLC to the Tetons or Winds, and there are a lifetime's worth of loops or one way hikes that can be easily hitched, or shuttled via a taxi out of one of the towns

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I sure wish someone could help me figure all of that out.
On the other hand, the Berg Lake Trail in Mt. Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia is my candidate for Hike of a Lifetime. Continuing into Jasper NP on the North Boundary Trail is well worthwhile. The Canadian parks provide adequate food storage protection so you don't need to carry heavy bear cans.
Wayne


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Bob

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Sawtooth Recreation Area, Idaho. 5 hours from SLC
 

r3biker

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Salt Lake to Big Sandy trailhead in the Winds isn't really all that much farther than some of the more remote north slope trailheads in the Uintas.

You could make a killer loop by hiking out of East Fork Blacks Fork (my favorite TH in the Uintas) and heading towards Red Knob Pass. At the pass, take a detour to Dead Horse Lake. Retrace your steps to the pass and head into Oweep basin, over Porcupine and Tungsten Passes. Tag Kings Peak (the highest in Utah) and climb Smiths Fork pass. Take a quick side trip to Red Castle Lake and then back over the plateau to your car. It'd probably be 50 miles or so, depending on side trips.

Venchka's loop in the Winds looks like a lot of fun as well.

The hike you suggested is one I'd like to do too. The High Uintas are wonderful.


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Tanasi

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May 30, 2017
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Ok! We have our tickets to SLC. The third week of August rather than the first. Hope that doesn't change anyone's recommendations but if it does please let me know. I'd like to buy a guide book and a map. Which ones do you like best? And thank you for all the responses above...they were very helpful!
 
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