Naturalist Basin Trail is a 12.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Kamas, Utah that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, fishing, horses, and backpacking and is best used from July until September. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
To get to the Naturalist Basin Trail follow the Highline trail for about 4.0 miles to the junction with the Naturalist Basin Trail. Then continue another 1.75 miles to the lake. There are a lot up ups and downs on the Highline trail but mostly descends 400 feet in the first 1.25 miles then mostly climbs 650 feet to the Jordan Lake. There are three other lakes on a bench above Jordan Lake where you will find Shaler, Faxon and LeConte Lakes
I did it a long while ago when I first got into backpacking & really love it with the access to the scenery from the Mirror Lake Hwy
Have done this trail a few times on horseback. Rocky trail but well worth the climb up into the basin from Highline Trail.
Naturalist Basin, with one big caveat, is a phenomenal place to visit. This trail is not busy, it is a highway. It should be called the Highway Trail rather than the Highline. Also, Jordan Lake is probably the least attractive lake in the basin. It also has the distinction of having assigned campsites, something most wilderness users are not used to. The basin is riddled with waterfalls up and east of Jordan, one of the prettiest areas you will ever see. Shaler Lake is right above treeline and provides a unique experience to camp there. (not for the faint of heart during an electrical storm). Blue lake is nice too, nestled under Mt. Agassiz and surrounded by stunted sub-alpine fir stands. It makes a great base camp for a run up Agassiz. Naturalist basin can still provide a great bit of solitude to the backpacker that doesn't mind leaving the trail and seeking out a spot off the beaten path. If sharing Jordan Lake with a few dozen of your closest friends is alright, then have at it.
Very good trail from Highline trail-head to Jordan Lake. East to follow but will usually pass a lot of people going both ways depending on when you hike.
This was a fun, albeit busy, trail. If you're ok with scout and/or church groups sharing your space then you'll do just fine here. We did a hike into Jordan after getting lost on our way to Evermann lake. Jordan was super busy, but it was large enough to accommodate the crowd. Evermann is a good option and although there isn't an official trail you can see where people hike to it just off of the Jordan trail before the final ascent. Look closely at the runoff along the trail and you'll see the Evermann path.
This is a highly rated trail. It works great as a fast over nighter or a long day hike with a base camp along the Mirror Lake HWY.
When coming into the basin one is presented with a choice. One cannot go wrong with either choice. It can be made into a loop with a little map work or by following the base of the mountains above the treeline. There are cliff bands between the upper and lower portions of the basin so be wary that you are on the designated trail.
The lower lakes are fisherman's dream & the upper basin the same for photographers to catch early morning or late afternoon light.