Suggestions for 3-day/2-night Uinta's Route

Perry

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My brother is coming in to town on Friday and we're looking to do a 3-day/2-night trip in the Uintas. We know it's early but we're willing to give it a go. We had originally planned to see how far we could get into the Red Castle area but that may be a no-go since Elizabeth Pass is still snow bound.

We're probably going to take snowshoes with us so we are okay with travel over the snow. My biggest concerns are flooded trails and stream crossings. Since the East Fork Bear River trail head is accessible we were thinking about a couple of options from there.

1) Head into the Norice/Priord Lake or Allsop Lake drainages.
2) Take the Bear River-Smith Fork trail east and head south on West Fork Blacks Fork into the Dead Horse Lake area.

We kind of expect to not be able to get all the way into any of these end points. If we head over to West Fk Blacks Fork we have to cross the river there so that is a question mark. We've never been in to any of these drainages before and so have no idea of whether or not trails will be flooded out due to proximity to the streams, etc.

Bottom line is we would probably like to be able to get in a fair way and make camp out of the snow then trek up further on day two to explore a bit more. Maybe something like that.

I totally realize this is bad timing but... any suggestions, considerations? Any other routes we should consider?
 

Perry

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Just got off the phone with the Mountain View Ranger District and they say the road from Mountain View up to the China Meadow area is clear so that still maybe an option to head into the Red Castle Area. So... thoughts on that route as well???
 

Nick

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I've enjoyed hiking the lower elevations of the Uintas when the rest is snowpacked. Shingle Creek and the North Fork Provo from the Mirror Lake Highway, for example. North Fork Provo is particularly good because it stays relatively low for a long time. You definitely want to start on the east side of it to avoid the river for as long as possible though.

The further east you go, the less snow you'll find. Back in 2011 when everything was still buried in snow in July, we were out at Potter Lake on the east end, all by ourselves.
 

Nick

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I don't know why anyone would want to camp on solid, melting snow though. Easy to walk on sometimes, post-holing others. Not great for winter sports, not great for hiking. Go to the desert man! That's what it's for.
 

Perry

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I don't know why anyone would want to camp on solid, melting snow though. Easy to walk on sometimes, post-holing others. Not great for winter sports, not great for hiking. Go to the desert man! That's what it's for.

That's still an option, too. Just got back from a week in CRNP ... I could definitely go back again :)
 

Jackson

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I've never been, but I know there's a decent stream crossing right at the beginning if you're going to WFBF. Probably not a simple task given the high runoff.

The trail from China Meadows could suit your needs. It's a gentle grade for most of the way with plenty of options for camping. The trail stays high above the stream mostly, but there's a crossing higher up with a bridge. Would be interesting to see the area right now.
 
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Perry

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Looks like we're going to give Red Castle a go. It'll be an adventure no matter what. If it turns out to be too much we can just turn around and head down lower.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Jackson

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Looks like we're going to give Red Castle a go. It'll be an adventure no matter what. If it turns out to be too much we can just turn around and head down lower.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Looking forward to that trip report! Looking at the snow maps, you should be able to have some of that hike mostly snow free. Mud, however...
 

LarryBoy

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I don't know why anyone would want to camp on solid, melting snow though. Easy to walk on sometimes, post-holing others. Not great for winter sports, not great for hiking. Go to the desert man! That's what it's for.
Well it must be said that early season trips are often the most beautiful in the mtns, what with patchy snow and everything all green.
 

andyjaggy

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I was planning on doing Red Castle in two weeks, so I look forward to your trip report on conditions. Trial Lake at 10k feet is down to 20 inches now, so you should be snow free most of the way up there, my guess is it will be muddy and you will have some patchy snow the last few miles.

Edit: Trail is higher then I thought it tops out at about 11,300. You will definitely be walking on snow the last few miles, and probably patchy snow about half way in on up.
 
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