Lower Red Castle Lake


I ❤️ GYE
May 31, 2015
July 22-23, 2016

As the end of Summer was approaching, my friends and I decided to get out for a quick trip before one headed to Virginia for grad school. The quick trip we chose was not actually that quick, but one that I had wanted to go and see for a while. So we packed up the new Outback and headed to China Meadows trailhead.

The forecast for the area was looking pretty good, last I checked, but ominous clouds were visible all day (when it wasn't raining). I really enjoyed how forested a good chunk of the trail was. I'm in the minority, but I really like walking through the woods, especially when there's a stream next to the trail. The meadows were nice as well.

We got maybe 5 or 6 miles in and stopped in a meadow for lunch. I don't care much for bothering with technology to map my routes, so that mileage is my educated guess. The meadow was nice, and so were the few people who passed by.

We carried on, and it began to rain on us. We opted not to put on our rain gear and just keep going, hoping it would be done shortly. It went on for maybe 20 minutes and quit. We dried off pretty quickly as we walked.

We reached the bridge and crossed the creek. Red Castle came into view.

And it kept coming into view.

I really liked the cascades below the lower lake.

There were some pretty fringed bluebells growing out of the spaces in between the rocks next to them. I tried and tried to get a good shot of the bee in this photo, but it was intent on staying mobile.

We crossed the bridge just above the cascades and jumped off the trail to head to the lower lake and find a camp site. Lots of flowers blooming in the marshy area below the lake. The indian paintbrush was looking great, as always.

We ended up on a hill on the north side of the lake. It would've been faster for us to have stayed on the trail to get there, but that's ok. As soon as we took off our packs, the clouds opened up and dumped rain and hail on us. We waited under some trees for about 30 minutes for it to end, and then we quickly set up our tents.

It started again, and we ran back under the trees, not wanting to be cooped up inside of the tents for the rest of the afternoon. After the second rain storm, we gathered up some wood and started a fire. We got a pretty good one going, and it survived two more storms that passed through. Red Castle looked really cool in between storms as the sun came through the clouds.

After the 4th storm (I think) moved through, the skies cleared up, and the sun began to set. We roasted some precooked brats over the fire and it was a great evening.

Here's us trying to be cool.

I was hoping for some clouds to linger so we'd get a pretty sunset, but I guess every sunset at Red Castle is pretty.

There was a whole lot of condensation on the insides of our tents the next morning. The inside of mine usually stays pretty dry unless it's really cold, so I was surprised. I think it was largely due to the water on the ground evaporating and, unable to escape, collecting on the underside of the tent's fly. So we set them out to dry in the sun.

The hike out was pretty good. As usual, it felt much longer than the hike in. Lots of groups were headed in for the long weekend. As we stopped to talk to some horse packers, they asked how the fishing was up at the lakes. We told them we didn't fish, and they couldn't believe that we would walk all that way just to admire the scenery. Without fail, I have had that conversation with different people a few times each of the two years I've been going to the Uintas. Maybe I'm crazy.
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Beautiful. I love Red Castle. Great pics. I'll have to go back and read the write-up in a bit. =)

PS - the stormy/cloudy shot of Red Castle is my favorite!
Thanks for making my lunch time reading that much better.
Great Trip Report!. Red Castle is one of my favorite places in the Uintas and the fishing was good when I was there last year. But your not crazy. I love to fish and do so almost every trip in the Uintas but it's all about the scenery and setting for me also. I could just sit and admire this awesome place all day. I totally get it.
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