Uintas in late June?

Tarp Boy

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Jan 18, 2020
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I'm looking for some advice on the Uintas (or suggestions for an alternative location). We've been trying to do a week long trip every summer for the last few years and, due to various job related restrictions, the group can only schedule a trip the last full week of June (2020).
We are just starting to look at the High Uintas in Utah because it is within a few hours drive of a major airport. Transportation/logistics are one of the key factors for us in trip selection since we are coming from the southeast. After reading some of the posts here, I'm concerned that there may still be significant snow in the Uintas at that time of year. Seems like most people plan on late July and August for trips there. I realize this is only January so it's impossible to predict what the snow pack will be like this year, but I'm asking in general based on your experience with the Uintas, is it foolish to plan a trip there in late June? Are there sections that would be OK or that for sure that should be avoided then?

Thinking outside the 'box' do you have alternative suggestions if what we're considering is not viable?
Here are our other parameters: based on our age and the elevation change, probably 30 to 40 miles at about 8 miles a day. We can probably tolerate up to about 11,000' elevations. There will likely be 7 to 8 of us.

Thanks!
 

Wanderlust073

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These guys will probably try and talk you in to a desert trip. Utah weirdos are all about that red dirt :roflmao:

For mountains in general, I'd count on high passes still being plugged up pretty good till later in July/August. If posthole'ing around isn't your idea of a good time, plan a route that has you hiking around in lower elevations or head elsewhere. River/stream crossings can also be spicy given all the melt.
 

Tarp Boy

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All good points. I've ordered a Trails Illustrated High Uintas map for further study, so perhaps I can find a route that can keep us off any high passes. I may need to get a Wasatch map too. And I hadn't really thought about a desert trip. I look forward to hearing some suggestions for that. That could be make a good Plan B if the snow pack becomes an issue as the date approaches.
 

Perry

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Without some flexibility in your timing I think you're probably asking for trouble planning a trip in the Uintas that early. Keep in mind all the major passes between drainages in the interior are right in the 12,000 ft range. You might be able to do several out-and-back trips from multiple trailheads avoiding the major passes but even then things could be pretty sloppy wet as June is often a high runoff time. Creeks and rivers will be running high and meadows flooded. You could get lucky but I wouldn't put all my eggs in that basket.
 

regehr

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June in the big mountains can be awesome, but it's a very different kind of trip: you want snow boots, an axe, etc. and be ready to camp on the snow. Some of those horrible talus/scree/boulder fests will be covered up and becomes easy to walk across, and you can glissade down!
 

regehr

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In the mountains you have to be careful about snow conditions, it can get nastily sloppy as it warms up and it can be too firm to get traction in the morning. Sloppy snow isn't just un-fun, it can also sluff and slide in bad ways.

Regarding the desert, I've done trips in June and often not had a very good time: it's hot and the bugs are out.
 

LarryBoy

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I always di a Uintas trip the last weekend of June. Unless it's a really huge snow year, you should be able to minimize snow travel. Keep elevation and aspect in mind, and keep in mind the south slope melts out a little sooner than the north slope. If you're gonna do passes, do one that's lower and gentler.
 

wabenho

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June is tricky. I've had trips to the Uintas in mid-June where snow was a total non-issue. Last year I planned a trip to the Uintas for the last week of June and we ended up needing to switch plans due to the snow. We moved our trip to the Sawtooth range in Idaho and we had a great trip. We planned an itinerary that didn't require us to cross any passes. We found some snow around 8500' but nothing too big. It may be difficult to get the mileage you are shooting for without going over any passes. You may want to consider a lower elevation/desert trip.
I live in northern Utah and it seems our mountains are having a big winter again this year. Keep an eye on this site and as summer nears, there will be some good posts about the conditions of several western mountain ranges. You could always plan flights to SLC then adjust the particulars to the conditions as your trip gets closer.
Good luck!
 

Jackson

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It could be a lot of fun, depending on what you're into, but it's very likely (guaranteed?) to be really wet if it isn't snowy. Miles of soggy meadows and creeks running high.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned here is that with all the water you'll encounter in the meadows, you may also encounter massive numbers of mosquitos. It all depends on how quickly it warms up up there, but it's another thing to consider.

The upside of all of that is that those conditions help keep people away, so you'll probably have more of the areas to yourself.
 

DrNed

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If you can bump back even 2 weeks to early mid July your likelihood of being stopped by snow goes down significantly.
On the flip side desert in late June can be miserable due to heat.
 

Tarp Boy

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Jan 18, 2020
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Thanks to all of you for your advice. Because we are locked into our schedules and have concerns about conditions in June, we are not going to chance it this time. We are now considering a trip to the Pecos wilderness in NM for this year. We'll see if we can work in a trip to the Uintas another year but in mid-July.
 
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