Located in northeastern Utah, the Uinta Mountains were named for the Uintaat Indians, early relatives of the modern Ute Tribe. The High Uintas Wilderness envelops the wild core of this massive mountain range. Characterized by the highest peaks in Utah, countless lakes, and a unique alpine ecosystem, it is among the nation's most outstanding wilderness areas. The High Uintas Wilderness is administered jointly by the Ashley and Wasatch-Cache National Forests. The Uinta Mountains were carved by glaciers from an immense uplift of Precambrian rock. Some of this rock is exposed as colorful quartzite and shales. The main crest of the Uinta Mountains runs west to east for more than 60 miles, rising over 6,000 feet above the Wyoming and Uinta Basins to the north and south. Massive secondary ridges extend north and south from the crest of the range, framing glacial basins and canyons far below. This rugged expanse of peaks and flat-top mountains is the largest alpine area in the Intermountain West and is the setting for Kings Peak, the highest peak in Utah. Hundreds of picturesque lakes, streams, and meadows lie within sculpted basins. Cold, clear rivers plunge from the basins into deep canyons that form the headwaters of Utah's major rivers. The Uinta Mountains rise from 7,500 to 13,528 feet at the summit of Kings Peak, offering diverse habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna. Above treeline, tundra plant communities thrive in the harsh climate of the highest altitudes. Thick forests of Engelmann spruce, subalpine fir, and lodgepole pine blanket the land below treeline. These forests are interrupted by park-like meadows and lush wetlands. In the lower elevations, aspen groves and countless mixed species offer contrast to the scene. The Uinta Mountains are home to: elk, mule deer, moose, mountain goat, coyote, black bear, bighorn sheep, ptarmigan, river otter, pine marten, cougar, and 75 percent of Utah's bird species, among many others. The High Uintas Wilderness boasts 545 miles of trail, which may be accessed from a number of trailheads surrounding the wilderness near the gateway communities of Duchesne, Roosevelt, and Kamas, UT and Evanston and Mountain View, WY. This extensive network of trails leads visitors deep into the wilderness, through thick forests, past rushing streams and placid lakes, to sweeping alpine vistas below majestic peaks. Opportunities for exploration are endless.
Zhou (Joe) Y. on Lofty Lake Loop Trail
Not too hard. But not easy peasy either. May be easier to go counter clock wise, which is what we did. You would climb more in the first third and enjoy the more steady descent in the latter part.
Trails are pretty clearly marked. Beautiful all around. Many lakes. Weather changes quickly. Be careful with high altitude.
Camped down by Wall lake and fished one of the smaller lakes, and no bites. Probably fished pretty hard there. Went up to Ibantik and on to Seymour Meadow Lake. The fishing at Meadow lake was lights out. Every cast was a bite. At Ibantik there were mountain goat hanging out on the cliffs. Was well worth the hike up
Great hike - We did a one night out and back, my only gripe was I wish we stayed longer. You couldn't ask for a better setting and reward at the end. The whole hike was gorgeous though, filled with streams, meadows, steeps, etc.. Fair warning though, it's a longer than advertised hike - The Garmin had it 6.6mi (13.2 RT) from parking lot trailhead to the lake.
My husband and I just finished this trail. Most of it is delightful. We backpacked in and camped at Dollar Lake. It was not too crowded and we had no trouble finding a great spot to camp. We awoke early the next morning and we took the gunsight pass through painter basin route. I am glad we did because I would not have wanted to miss the basin--it was both of our favorite part of the hike. Getting over gunsight pass is not too difficult and the ascent through the basin and up to Anderson pass isn't bad either. Other people here seem to think the last mile to the summit wasn't so bad but we'd disagree. Physically, it's about what I expected (challenging but very do-able) but mentally, it's a total mind, uh, screw. Besides being somewhat hypoxic, it's really not clear where you are supposed to go. It's just a big boulder scramble and you can't see the actual summit until you get right up on it. You may be tempted to scale below the ridge and then climb up to the summit--don't do it! Stay on the ridge line as much as you can. Every time you think you are about there, you are wrong! Well, except the last time, obviously. The way down is not much better--you still can't tell where you should go and it's not marked at all. The boulders are unsteady which is unsettling, especially if you have any fear of heights (I do). If I do this hike again, I will go up to Anderson pass and watch other people try to get to the summit while I bask in the beautiful sunshine! The last mile is also really exposed so be sure to wear sunscreen!
Bryce C. on King's Peak Utah Highpoint Trail
Great trip with the buddy's. I will recommend if wanting to summit that you camp in the pines near the base of the chute north of Kings. Early morning start and hike the chute and then summit. We have done it both ways and the chute saves about 4.5 to 5 hours compared to gunsight pass. Anyway you choose you will not be disappointed. Awesome sights.
Started late on Sunday to avoid crowds. Beautiful scenery. Too many cows in the meadows. Easy hike with beautiful scenery. Worth it to take a light rod for some catch and release. Plenty of wildlife along the way. Nothing difficult on the trail. Trail is golden as it gets close to dusk.
If I could give this a minus, I would. After the first half mile of maintained trail, this is scree, gravel, small rocks, medium rocks, large rocks, really large rocks. In short, both sides of the loop are a scramble up, over and around rocks and over rocks. THERE IS NOTHING FUN ABOUT THIS TRAIL! Most of the trail hasn't been maintained in years. There are so many wonderful, equally pretty hikes up there . This one should be a pass. Nice views, but those are everywhere. I think this trail should be CLOSED!!!
This is a great destination that really gets you a feel for what the Uintas have to offer. A friend and I did it during mid-August this year (2016) with packs. We split it up into 3 days, making things pretty easy on us for day 1 and 2, with the whole trek back being done on day 3.
The trail up to Allsop Lake was difficult to follow at times. It weaves through some marshy areas where the grasses have overgrown the trail. There are a few cairns that will help you find your way, keep an eye out for those.
We saw a few cows, but not so many that there wasn't a place to camp as has been said by others. The weather was a little unpredictable (as always in the Uintas) but we didn't get soaked at any point, which was good. If you proceed south once reaching the lake (along the eastern shore), you'll find a spot with some boulders where we camped quite peacefully on our second night, very nice spot.
If you're up for an adventure: I had wondered about the possibility of traversing the ridge between Allsop and Deadhorse Lake before we left. I made an attempt without my pack to pick my way up a gulley to the southeast of our camp, and was successful in reaching a ridge south of The Cathedral. However, I don't recommend doing so unless you're very comfortable moving through loose rock and aren't planning on carrying a pack with you. The steepness, combined with the nature of the scree would make the gulley very tough to climb with a pack. Anyways, at the top of that ridge there was a gorgeous view of Deadhorse to the east and Allsop back to the west, along with the cirques surrounding both. Worth it if you're experienced and stupid enough to try it. Be careful going back down, I tried to find a different route and nearly fell twenty feet where the cliffs shear back. Go back down the same gulley, it seems to be the only way down.
Loved this climb. Make sure to be prepared for sudden weather changes. Windbreaker and rain gear is essential. It gets cold at night so have proper insulation for sleeping.
Hike is not hard at all until you reach the foot of Gunsight pass. That is when the climbing begins
From the trailhead until then, it's a walk at the park.
We did this over the three day Labor Day weekend. If doing it in three days, I would plan on camping between Dollar Lake and the small lake at the base of Gunsite Pass. The closer you are to Gunsite Pass, the shorter the hike to the top will be the next day, but you will also be more exposed to any weather that may blow through during the night as you're trying to sleep.
There is plenty of water along much of the trail in Painter Basin all the way up to the bench near the top of Anderson Pass so I wouldn't pack more than a liter for the hike to the top if you have a way to filter or purify water along the way.
Wherever you start, I would try and leave as early as you can to leave plenty of time for weather setbacks, injuries, etc.
My two greatest concerns I had going into the trip were mosquitoes and lightning while out in the open. Fortunately, this late in the year the bugs were no problem. Unfortunately, we were on the peak when we saw a storm coming straight for us and only got a couple hundred yards down before hail, lightning, and snow hit us. Be prepared for bad weather even if you leave on a clear sky morning. Storms come in fast up there!
Our total distance according to the GPS on my phone was 29 miles (we did have to park about 1/4 mile down the road since the parking area was full. For time reference, the hike in to Dollar Lake took about 5 hours, the round trip to the top took about 11 hours (lots of bad weather), and the hike back took about 4 hours. I expect most people could make about the same time, or faster. I'm not a quick hiker.
The beauty in this hike is definitely the wide open areas. Lots of meadows, and alpine scenery. It's definitely one I would like to do again. Probably about the same time of year and camped past Dollar Lake, but still in the tree line.