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Beautiful views the entire way and access to water virtually whole time courtesy of a stream running alongside the trail. At least 3/4 of the trail is sand so took little longer than usual. Not much tree coverage so expect to be exposed to the elements. But the falls are oh so pretty! Refreshing dip on a hot day.

July 24, 2018. This hike deserves the 'hard' rating. It's long and steep, but does have unique and beautiful views down onto the Payson Lakes area, Mt Nebo, and towards Mt. Pleasant/Moroni valley. It's well marked and clearly used by others. Some moderate overgrowth of trees/shrubs onto the trail through some of the lower areas. Moderate inclines for first couple miles with decent shade cover. Then you hit a grueling incline over dusty and gravely/shale trail while fully exposed to the west (afternoon sun) for about 1 to 1.5 miles. I started this hike at 11am and regretted not getting an earlier/cooler hike. Both up and down were very exposed to sun for most of the hike beyond the first couple miles. You'll reach the first ridge in a saddle atop the mountain and have partial views down into Utah Valley. From this point there's still a few miles to reach Loafer Mtn or Santaquin Peak. That really steep portion to this saddle is followed by long moderate inclines across scenic grass covered alpine meadows/slopes, then further up into a very pretty alpine forest just below Loafer Mtn's peak where you can see views down towards Spanish Fork canyon. Then there's about one more mile across open rocky trail to the top of Santaquin Peak. Hard to keep good footing on the way back down the really steep west-facing slope. I was just over 11 miles out & back - and was completely spent. I consider myself in average shape and was exhausted by the time I got back, but do attribute some of that to the late start and hiking throughout the afternoon heat. Except right near the trail head there's no streams or springs so come prepared with lots of water. I had used all of my 64oz hydration pack by the time I got back to the trail head. Although it has beautiful views I think it will be a 'been there, done that' trail. I don't know that I'll plan to hike it again soon.

hiking
1 day ago

I hiked up this morning. Be forewarned - they have drained the lake. It is currently a much smaller, much less attractive lake. I'd skip hiking here until it is refilled. And I don't know when that will be.

loved this hike it's a bit hard for kids but the falls at the end was awesome.

Best destination in the Uintas! However, the hike is tough, even though it's relatively flat. There are so many rocks on the trail that it limits your speed and requires you to look where you place every step. Give yourself at least a day to rest and explore before heading back.

Since my wife read the book “Return to Red Castle” about 35 years ago, this has been on her bucket list. Finally got in shape and did it this year. She’s 59 and I am 61. It was a fabulous hike over three days. Went with two of our kids and their spouses, and had a fabulous time. The trail is long but beautiful and very doable for just about anybody. With all of our extra hiking, we went about 36 miles. We did it from Wednesday to Friday. Saw very few people. On the hike down we came across about 40 to 50 people in small groups going up. The weekend looks to be quite busy. Huge, vast area that can accommodate a lot of campers and hikers. Lots of options and directions to go once you get there. Saw a cow moose on the lower half of the trail, and then three Bull moose hanging around Lower Red Castle and the meadows. Fishing was poor, we think due to a lot of pressure in both of the main lakes. We did see a lot of fish swimming around, that weren’t very interested in what we had to offer (flies). That was alright though, because there is so much incredible beauty to explore around there. Pictures don’t do it justice! Be sure to take bug spray and sunscreen. That’s a given for anywhere in the Uintas. A few blisters in our group, a little bit of altitude sickness for a couple of us for just a couple hours, and my wife tripped on the trail and kissed a boulder with her forehead, got a nice cut above her eye and bruises, and a blackeye, but with a little doctoring everything was back to normal. No way was she giving up after all these years of wanting to go there so badly. Loved every bit of it! Will probably be going back.

Just another way to celebrate a beautiful wat to celebrate a beautiful day in Utah, with outdoors activities with friends and family.

have hiked this trail twice this summer. better each time. will be doing it again very soon.

Absolutely amazing! Breathtaking and worth every step!

One of my favorite trails!

First part of trail .5 miles is all sun and you feel like your in the desert. Then it turns along the river and all shade. Nice to follow river up to waterfalls. Waterfall is nice and you can splash around before heading down.

This is a great hike! Fairly shaded most of the way, which is nice when it's hot! This hike is best in the summer because of the falls at the end is very temperature cool, and I would recommend water shoes or hiking sandals because you will walk through the water. It's a really fun hike, very beautiful place!

We looked all over Utah valley area trying to find a good hike for our small family reunion—something young kids, grandparents and pregnant women could do but also something that outdoor enthusiasts and avid hikers would enjoy. This hike was perfect. The drive is scenic and beautiful. The trail is lovely, albeit short, with meadows and (sometimes) flowers and spectacular views right off the path. The view right before the last ascent of the hike is lovely, and those who felt unable to climb the last bit felt satisfied to stay there. The views at the top are splendid though, and it’s not a long climb up the steep part. We enjoyed this trail so much we’ve been back twice since.

Great and rewarding hike. The trail was much better once you turn left off into the wooded area around 1.5 miles I believe. Beautiful meadows with butterflies cross crossing the trail all along the way. Excellent work out and views at the top. Very shaded in the morning especially in the forested area.

Oldie but goodie. Not too difficult for the most part. The last half mile or so may be a little challenging for kids.

Short and sweet! There are a lot of bridges to help you along the way and make it easier for your kids.

hiking
5 days ago

This is my son's favorite trail. We have to do it every year. I have to admit with the heat I was not looking forward to it. Leaving later in the day was really pretty nice. The creek kept the heat down and the traffic was not too bad. Watched a great sunset on the way down.

Has always been my most favorite hike! It’s definitely a challenge but well worth it! It’s very steep about half way up, which makes it almost harder to come down! Make sure you have good griped shoes and PLENY of water! Definitely depending on the time of year you do it of course! I did it for the last time last year 8months pregnant and then again this year for the first time 8months out! LOVE IT!

Amazing Views! Strenous, but well worth it! The tallest mountain in the Wasatch Range! Amazing flowers in August! :-)

This a beautiful hike but I am 60 and in pretty good condition and I would call this hike hard. There were lots of young people but not a lot of older adults (senior). As you get to the top you are climbing through the rocks at a fairly steep incline. That being said the payoff at the end, the falls, are amazing. It was worth the climb definitely.

Beautiful

We arrived at 9am on a Tuesday and there were 4 cars in the lot. After a very pleasant 2 mile hike we arrived at the springs and had them to ourselves for 45 minutes. That is all the time we needed due to persistent horse flies. The lowest pool felt like a 92f hot tub. It was most splendid and strange to have a hot waterfall jet falling on my back. The hike in and out is very nice due to the flowing stream. We were all very glad we took this amazing hike.

Great hike, shady most of the way. Really fun waterfall at the end that makes it all worth it!

Love this hike. What a find just a few miles off the 15. Well worth the $9 entrance fee.

Easiest to jump in the creek and follow it up the canyon. Perfect for summer afternoon. Tracked it at approx. 2.7 miles and 1 hour to the 2nd ladder but I was moving at fairly quick pace. Appears trail continues quite a distance past the 2nd ladder with even taller canyon walls at some point but had to turn back before sunset. Will definitely return.

Great trail. Easy and fun! Go early, trail gets busy as the day goes on but we had the springs to ourselves before noon. Stop at the first pool you see! It has a mini waterfall and it’s the best of the pools. Once it’s filled, you won’t be getting in. Bring water shoes and bug spray! Horseflies are bad! Great natural hot springs, it’s a sight to see!

backpacking
7 days ago

Amazing trail. Morning is definitely the time to go. It’s gradual at the beginning and gets very steep at the top. There were only a few good flat sites at the top for a tent, though.

Great trail!
Lake is a great stop for photos.
Saw one rattlesnake.

Unbelievable! Gorgeous views and perfect camping. The first night of our trip we camped at China Meadows and spotted three bull moose. One of which was of trophy size. The hike was pleasant with a gradual incline. The switchbacks were a little difficult but do not last long. Mosquitos were virtually nonexistent and we spent the day enjoying leisure time at Lower Red Castle Lake. We were lucky enough to witness a brilliant thunder storm our first night there. Truly ear splitting booms echoed across the drainage as lightning struck the mountainside. Be ready for quick changes in weather. This is the High Uintas.

On our way to explore Red Castle Lake, we ran into a cow moose. I would suggest taking a day hike to the south side of Red Castle. The views are spectacular from Red Castle Lake and Upper Red Castle Lake. Life truly is different above the tree line. This hike is a little steep but not too difficult without a pack. Bring a good camera and wait until the sun is setting to get magnificent lighting of the red rock. You will walk away with gorgeous photos. This area is so serene and beautiful. If possible, try to go early in the week. The crowds die down on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I would do this again in a second.

One of my favorite hikes so far. The waterfall was an amazing end to the hike.

Awesome hike but very strenuous. Bring lots of snacks and protein bars. And at least a 3 or 4 liters of water. Very beautiful but has steep climbs and two false summits. It's dog friendly but don't bring older/senior dogs.

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