Upper Settings Trail - Uintas

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ajbroom11

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Mar 4, 2015
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Guys,

New to the site and forum. I haven't had much time to dig around for info, but I'm looking for information on the Upper Settings Trail in the Uintas. I'm in the process of planning a 3 to 4 day fly fishing trip in with my son who just turned 8. This will be his first multi day trip, so I want to make it memorable. Any info on the trail, East, West or Lower Shingle Creek lakes as well as North and South Erickson and Big Elk lakes?

And Ill gladly take any suggestions on other trail options as well. I want to keep it 3 to 4 days, moderate in difficulty and obviously into some good fishing....(I know, it's the Uintas). Id like to try to avoid the more congested routes as well, so It can give him a good experience of the back country and the seclusion. Planning on mid to late June, but with snow melt, weather, etc. who knows.

Thanks in advance for any info you guys have.
 

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Vegan.Hiker

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Jul 5, 2014
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Welcome. I'll leave the trip advice to those from that area (of which I'm sure you'll get plenty) but as another guy who wandered into this forum looking for advice on a Uintas trip 8 months ago, be warned that BCP is addicting. Especially if you love reading trip reports and learning about new places. I even learned funny words like "aperture" here.
 

uintahiker

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Jan 20, 2012
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Upper Setting is a decent option. Not as popular as further up the highway, probably because the last mile or two is rough and not advisable for passenger cars. There are a few TR's around here of the area you could dig up.

West Shingle Creek is the opposite way from the trailhead from the others. I haven't been there.
East Shingle Creek has brookies, with maybe a few holdover tiger trout and splake trout. But most likely brookies.
Lower- no fish
North Erickson- has grown big fish in the past. Generally shallow
South Erickson- brookies or cutts. I can't remember.

Quite frankly, it might be a little short for a 3-4 day trip. It's about right for a 2 day trip. But if the fishing's slow there aren't many options in the area.

Cuberant Basin might be a good option. It's a bit longer to get in, but it's not difficult, and there are quite a few lakes around. You could even do a day hike over to Fish Lake for some grayling. Generally uncrowded.

Buck Pasture to Dead Horse Lake might be a good option. Don't feel like you need to go all the way to the lake- the stream has fantastic fishing. It's a great place to learn flyfishing.

The Long Lake/Island Lake trail is also very popular, with most of the use being at Long and Island Lakes, but there's seclusion if you go to some of the other lakes in the area. Maybe not secluded enough for you.
 

Nick

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With 3-4 days, I'd definitely head somewhere else. Not necessarily super long, but someplace with more dramatic scenery and better potential for good fishing. Amethyst Basin would be a good one, as would Middle Basin (Ryder & McPheters).
 

ajbroom11

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Mar 4, 2015
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That was one of the things I was concerned about, with it being to short. Another thing I was concerned about was the road leading to the trail head, I've heard is a very poplar ATV trail?

I have ATV's, respect the rights, riders and the use of them......etc, and I don't want to ruffle feathers, but the last thing I want for my son is the sound of screaming engines all afternoon and night.....maybe it's not as bad as I've been told. What about continuing on if the fishing is slow into Island, Fire, Duck Lakes Etc. Looking at the map/contour lines it appears that the trail runs right along a good steep Mt and doesn't appear "to bad." Hard to completely judge though looking at a flat map!!!

Cuberant Basin has come up before, as has fish lake. I avoided it, just because it was a longer drive to get to the trail head since I'm coming from the south end of the valley. Correct me if I'm wrong, but its in the Weber River draining? Maybe I need to consider it if it's worth it.

Thanks for the info and keep it coming. Ill look more closely into the other two you mentioned
 

ajbroom11

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Mar 4, 2015
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Nick,

Its funny you mention Amethyst Basin, Middle Basin (Ryder & McPheters). I was up there several years back (when I was younger and didn't have three screws in my knee) and cant really remember the trail all that much. I was told specifically that "it's not worthy of an 8 year old?" Meaning that it's too difficult. I don't remember it being that bad, I know there is a good climb at the trail split and honestly I have all the faith in my son that he could and can do some pretty good climb/hikes, but any thoughts on that?

I know it's a popular area but what about crowds/congestion around the middle of June?
 

Nick

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That was one of the things I was concerned about, with it being to short. Another thing I was concerned about was the road leading to the trail head, I've heard is a very poplar ATV trail?

I have ATV's, respect the rights, riders and the use of them......etc, and I don't want to ruffle feathers, but the last thing I want for my son is the sound of screaming engines all afternoon and night.....maybe it's not as bad as I've been told.
That's one of the key reasons I'd avoid that area, personally. There also tends to be a lot of gunfire on the west end. Not the best wilderness experience.

Cuberant Basin
Cuberant has mediocre fishing at best, IMO. I'd skip it if that's what you want. Same for the Island Lake area, it all just gets so much pressure.

I know it's a popular area but what about crowds/congestion around the middle of June?
Even in July the crowds in Amethyst Basin aren't that bad, especially if you camp in a strategic spot. June access depends a lot on the snow melt situation, but you should have pretty good solitude. The nice thing about Amethyst is that you have at least 5 solidly good fishing spots to choose from. Amethyst Lake itself, BR-24, Ostler, Toomset and the meadows in the basin. Most of the camping traffic will be closer to the main trail or at Ostler. If you want solitude, stay down in the meadows or some place like Toomset and then day hike out to the other places.
 

andyjaggy

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Dec 2, 2013
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Naturalist Basin might be a good fit. Probably a bit easier than getting into Amethyst and there are tons of lakes you could try your luck at. It's very popular, but with so many lakes I bet you could find some solitude.
 

DrNed

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I would agree that the hike to Middle Basin is beyond an 8 year old's ability - especially if you want him to have fun. From the trailhead to the top of Middle Basin is gotta be 10+ miles. The trail is pretty mucky. I do think Amethyst Basin is a good idea. It's about 6 miles to the meadow. Once the trail crosses the stream go up the hill to your right about 20 yards and you've got a killer camp spot. Then day hike to all the surrounding lakes and you've got the stream too.
 

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