High Uintas Wildernes - 8 Day Solo Hike August 2015

seekinglost

formerly metalbackpacker
Joined
Jun 18, 2015
Messages
88
In August 2015 I hiked about 95 miles during an 8 day solo journey through the High Uintas Wilderness in Utah. I was wanting to hike the Highline trail but decided just to do a loop type hike instead due to logistics. It was really tough finding good east-west routes besides the main highline trail that I could make a loop pout of and not repeat the same ground.

Here's the route I ended up hiking:

Day 1 - East Fork Black's Fork trailhead to EFBF drainage - 8.5 miles
Day 2 - EFBF drainage to Yellowstone Creek, Below Anderson Pass - 11.1 miles
Day 3 - Yellowstone Creek to Milk Lake, including summit of King's Peak - 10.3 miles
Day 4 - Milk Lake to Bear Lake - 12.9 miles
Day 5 - Bear Lake to Lower Red Castle Lake - 11.6 miles
Day 6 - "Off Day"... Lower Red Castle Lake to Red Castle Pass and back to Lower Red Castle Lake - 8+ miles
Day 7 - Lower Red Castle Lake to Lambert Lake - 13.1 miles
Day 8 - Lambert Lake to EFBF trailhead - 18.6 miles

The weather was on and off threats of rain for the first few days but never got more than a sprinkle during the day. Got some high winds and hail one morning while camping at Milk Lake though before the sun came up. The second half of the trip the weather was great, barely a cloud in the sky. However, smoke from the forest fires out west started to obscure long distance views and ruin pictures by the 7th and 8th days.

I saw a couple of elk but no moose. There were herds of sheep in both upper Smith's Fork Basin and at Lower Red Castle Lake. I brought my hammock and was able to find trees to hang from every night without an issue. Stars were super bright the first half of the trip during the new moon.

I climbed King's Peak on day 3 along with about 50 other people. It was a Saturday so I guess that's why there was such a crowd up there. I was not expecting to see so many people out here. Still, the views were awesome.

Highlights of the trip for me were King's Peak, Red Castle and Red Knob Pass.

If you are interested in the details of the hike, I have an 11,000+ word trip report documenting the trip here: http://metalbackpacker.com/high-uintas-wilderness-utah-8-day-hike-aug-2015/

If you just want to see the pictures and highlights of the trip, check out the video:

 

Vegan.Hiker

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
2,090
It's always cool to see something evolve from a trip planning thread to a Trip Report. Nice scenery and photography in the video. I also took a look at your site and love how your trips are spread out all over the country, seems like you've hit pretty much every region. Good stuff.
 

seekinglost

formerly metalbackpacker
Joined
Jun 18, 2015
Messages
88
It's always cool to see something evolve from a trip planning thread to a Trip Report. Nice scenery and photography in the video. I also took a look at your site and love how your trips are spread out all over the country, seems like you've hit pretty much every region. Good stuff.

Thanks man! Yup I like to bounce around... I figure, if I'm going to leave the state for a hike I might as well hit up different places.
 

Ugly

Life really is better Here
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Joined
Apr 20, 2013
Messages
832
I'm impressed with all the areas you strung together in one hike. I have done Red Castle a couple of times, but other areas like Mt Lovenia or Painter Basin are great areas. I liked seeing them all strung together.

Just as a sidenote for anyone making plans... Stayed this summer at that little lake between lower and Red Castle. It's a sweet gig. The fishing at that little lake is not great, but you can get up to Red Castle early and with less effort, there are some areas still with some wind breaks, and you avoid things like sheep or troops of boy scouts.
 

seekinglost

formerly metalbackpacker
Joined
Jun 18, 2015
Messages
88
I'm impressed with all the areas you strung together in one hike. I have done Red Castle a couple of times, but other areas like Mt Lovenia or Painter Basin are great areas. I liked seeing them all strung together.

Just as a sidenote for anyone making plans... Stayed this summer at that little lake between lower and Red Castle. It's a sweet gig. The fishing at that little lake is not great, but you can get up to Red Castle early and with less effort, there are some areas still with some wind breaks, and you avoid things like sheep or troops of boy scouts.

Thanks Ugly! Yup that's a good tip, there's some good campsites near that little lake and a little below it. I camped at Lower Red Castle Lake because I wanted some of those iconic shots of Red Castle, but also because I didn't know where else to go. That's where I'd go on a return trip though for sure. Fishing was poor at Lower Red Castle lake as well. Good fishing at the main Red Castle Lake but all I caught was Tiger Trout.
 

JoshuaDyal

Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2015
Messages
186
Just as a sidenote for anyone making plans... Stayed this summer at that little lake between lower and Red Castle. It's a sweet gig. The fishing at that little lake is not great, but you can get up to Red Castle early and with less effort, there are some areas still with some wind breaks, and you avoid things like sheep or troops of boy scouts.
That's very good to know. It's on my potential list for next year.
 

Devo

Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Messages
152
Awesome TR, I've come a cross your videos on YouTube in the past (love your Wind Rivers one) so it was cool to see you pop up on here and do a Uintas trip. How did it rank with some of your other trips?
 

seekinglost

formerly metalbackpacker
Joined
Jun 18, 2015
Messages
88
What was your gear list for this trip? How did you manage the power needs for your electronics?

Blake, here's a rundown on some of the gear:

Osprey Exos 58 pack + rainfly
Warbonnet Outdoors Riderunner Hammock
Warbonnet Outdoors Superfly Tarp
Warbonnet Outdoors Lynx underquilt - full length 20°F
Hammock Gear Burrow 40 top quilt

That's the big stuff. Clothing wise:

Footwear - Inov 8 Roclite 315s
Cheapo walmart water sandal things for camp and river crossings
Dirty Girl gaiters
Insulation - REI Rauk jacket
Base - Patagonia Capilene I top and bottom
REI zip off shorts/pants
Nike Dri-fit shirt
Outdoor Research sombrero
Outdoor Research rain jacket and pants

Camera gear:

Sony Nex-7
18-55mm lens
16mm lens
3 batteries
Home made 4.7oz tripod
A couple filters, remote shutter control, extra SD card, etc
GoPro Hero4 Black Edition
6 batteries
Flow-Mow time-lapse panner
Head and chest mounts

Garmin Oregon 450 GPS - It takes 2 AAs... I use Energizer Ultimate lithium batteries and had 4 extras. I usually get about 3-4 days out of a pair.

Cookware - I normally go stoveless, but after catching fish and having no wood for a fire in the Winds last year I decided just to bring the stove so I had a sure fire way to cook fish if I caught them.

Knock-off MSR PocketRocket stove
Propane/Butane mix fuel
small non stick frying pan

And all the other typical extra stuff... firesteel, cordage, pocket knife, first aid kit, etc.

I did bring my cell phone but only used it a few times to play music.

I was thinking about buying a solar panel for recharging batteries, but decided that it was less weight and hassle just to bring extra batteries. On trips any longer than 10 days or so I'd say a solar panel is probably something I'd end up picking up. I just wish I had the time for 10+ day trips!

Pack weight was in the upper 40s when I started, with 3L water and almost 20 pounds of food. I went a little overboard on the food this year for sure. In my defense, I was starving last year in the Winds with only 12 pounds for 8 days. I didn't want to lose the kind of weight I did on that trip, close to 20 pounds in 8 days!

Awesome TR, I've come a cross your videos on YouTube in the past (love your Wind Rivers one) so it was cool to see you pop up on here and do a Uintas trip. How did it rank with some of your other trips?

Thanks Devo! I really liked the Uintas. I thought the colors of the mountains were beautiful and unlike anywhere I've been... red, white, green, purple, pink. Also, some of the upper drainages/basins were HUGE!! Definitely going to come back someday. It was a beautiful place and a awesome hike, but I still place the Wind River Range above it in overall grandeur. But hey, the Winds are hard to beat:D
 
Last edited:

Blake Merrell

Life Elevated - Rising Higher
Joined
Feb 25, 2013
Messages
596
Thanks @metalbackpacker for taking the time to share your gear list. looking at other people's gear lists helps me fine tune mine. That, and I kinda like to geek out on gear during the off season haha.
 

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
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Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Messages
1,016
Great report!

If there's such a thing as a manageable 85+ mile trip it looks like you did it - except for that
last day. Then again, I'm typically highly motivated on last days - therefore great for
burning up big miles.
 
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