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Beautiful place! Pack warm clothes. Can’t wait to return again!

One of the best hikes in Utah, or anywhere that I have ever been.

backpacking
4 days ago

although it really is gorgeous, it has become overrun with people. There were 32 cars in the parking lot this morning, and I couldn't go more than a mile without stepping off trail for another hiker or a pack team. the area is really starting to show the use. I liked the trail, and am happy to have gone, but I would highly suggest branching off from this trail to another less used trail.

This hike was magnificent. I recommend starting before 10am if you want to do the whole thing in a day. I didn't come across many mosquitos at all. Weather was beautiful and the lake is a great place to stop and take a dip in before or after taking on the steep part of the trail. I will definitely be coming back here for a camping trip.

very beautiful and very well trafficked.

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.

hiking
14 days ago

We missed trail to clear lake but that was Ok cause there was a connector trail from Black Joe trail to clear lake. Beautiful alpine scenery, Did this trail clockwise and glad we did cause trail down ravine past Miller lake was very steep. If you want to follow trail to Clear Lake you must hug trail to stream after crossing stream at end of Big Sandy Lake. Nice area to base camp also.

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.

backpacking
16 days ago

This trail is much tougher than some of these reviews would have you believe. Check the elevation charts and you'll see what I mean. It's also the only time I've backpacked in the High Uintas and had to deal with multiple large groups of campers. That said, there is a reason it's so popular and busy. The mountains, lakes, and meadows are absolutely stunning. I prefer solitude, so I'm not sure if I'd go again, but it's a beauty for sure.

So pretty! Great backpacking trip. See my full trail guide, with photos and a map here: http://www.girlonahike.com/2018/08/backpacking-to-dead-horse-lake-uintas.html

backpacking
22 days ago

Definitely worth pushing that last mile or so past Ostler Lake to Amethyst. The water is strikingly blue! Temps are prime this time of year, plenty of great places to set up camp!

backpacking
22 days ago

Great backpacking trail/lake. Heavy use, so please make sure you pack in/pack out. The ranger at the trailhead told us open fires due to the “Extreme” fire danger rating. Unfortunately the people around us didn’t get the memo. The pit next to us re-sparked with the wind- luckily my friend and I were there to put it out.

Closer to 7 miles each way. The water spots along the way were my favorite. The steep part is steep going up, an slippery going down. Saw 2 moose (at separate times). Weather was mild and didn’t go below 44°.

Just finished this hike early today. We did the loop with a night at Big Sandy and the second night at Dads lake.

The Cirque is a great spot, but stopping there is a mistake. Views from Texas Pass are amazing and a great sense of accomplishment accompanied summiting. Shadow Lake and Dads lake are also gems that would be missed if not doing the loop.

In the 25 miles trail navigation difficulty was only an issue at Lonesome Lake/Texas Pass area as cairns seem to be all over. However, this was also a highlight for my wife who loved scrambling through boulders. You will work hard to get to top, just to look down and see that your heading straight down. BUT it’s well worth it.

This hike offers streams, lakes, peaks, forests, wild flowers everywhere. Only thing we missed out on seeing was wildlife.

**As for mosquitos, I only had a problem when I didn’t spray. When I sprayed they seemed to leave me alone.

backpacking
24 days ago

Did this gorgeous hike July 22nd-25th. Started the hike late on Sunday and decided to camp at Miller Lake. We had the entire place to ourselves! We spent two nights at Island Lake and hiked to the basin and back for a day trip. The weather was incredible, but the bugs were incessant. I’d definitely recommend deet, long sleeves and pants, and a face net. Even with all of those items, it was still rough to stand still outside of the tent for longer than 10 minutes. The scenery was out of this world, and I would gladly do this hike again. It was more challenging than people made it out to be, but it was not brutal.

This is a great Trail if it wasn't for the middle part being so Steep and Rocky I would give it 5 stars.

This hike is worth the pain to see the red castle and the upper lake views. Like most people have said the switch backs do hit you hard being that they are at the end of the hike. My hiking partner and I just took it slower when we hit them and we made it up just plan a little extra time and you will be fine. There is a bridge with a good running water right before the switch backs its good spot to take a break and get some water if you need it. Once you get up you find a fork in the trail with a sign I will tell you to go left it will take you closer to the lower lake and more camp sites. I will also tell you the all trails says it is 9.7 that is to the north side of the lake and you will need to keep walking to find any place to make camp. We camped at the south end of the lower lake and it was more like 10.4 miles at least that’s what both of our GPS’s showed. We hiked up to the upper lake and the water was clear and you could see the fish about 20 off shore. We only fished the lower lake we only get one fish but did see people pulling them in all around us. If you have time you will need to get over to the water fall it was spectacular. If you have not read by now the mosquitoes are in force up there right now. Being that there were some many people up there we didn’t think we would see much wild life but we did get to see a moose on the way down. I was a great hike and a good start to getting back in to backpacking. We did a 3 day set I would recommend this be the shortest time you do this hike a 4 or 5 day would be better. If you are debating if you should do the hikes don’t just do it. Just a reminder people if you are hiking with a group stick together and have a plan. We were asked more than a few times if we had seen someones group and if we knew where they were. Unfortunately my hiking partner and I didn’t get the memo that we were the mountain babysitters.

I’m too old and fat for this hike. 80 lbs overweight and a 50 lb pack was too much. Hike was not steep but very long. The switchbacks were steep and after the switchbacks it was still tough. Beautiful scenery. Red Castle Mountain was spectacular. Lakes were beautiful as well but the hike was too long for me. Tons of flies and mosquitoes. River views were nice as well. Saw a moose also. We did this hike Thursday through Saturday. Not enough time to do this many miles.

Beutiful easy hike lots of bugs at shadow lake and dads lakes
Great campsites did not see any animals

We did the out and back in a day, 4th of July week, last few miles back we were dragging ass but for us Floridians that get to the mountains twice a year it was an accomplishment, lol. the squitters, if working together, could've picked me up and taken me away but like I said we're from Florida so we've encountered these swarms before. Repellent repellent! Absolutely beautiful and we can't wait to come back and spend a few days, and nights, exploring the side trails!

Super fun moderate hike. Water is plenty considering the river runs along most of the trail. The forest ranger had us move our campsite about twenty feet. He said every campsite needs to be "70 paces" from the lake. Also, fires need to be 1/4 mile from the lake. Stunning landscape and view as you ascend the trail towards the towering red castle. We saw three moose and a bald eagle.

This hike is amazing. The trail follows a stream the entire way, easy to navigate, and pretty flat until reaching the last 1.5 miles of switch backs. I calculated 23 miles round trip, so 11.5 miles each way. The lake is pretty shallow and my friend got leeches on her feet, so watch out for those if you get in. Camping spaces and water are plentiful. I took the China Meadows trail that starts here Forest Rd 186, Evanston, UT 82930. Happy trails!

backpacking
1 month ago

Amethyst Lake is a great overnight backpacking destination. You can do it as a day hike, but why hurry. As others have noted horses and dogs are allowed. There is plenty of water along the route so you will not need to carry more than 1L (and a good water filter or alternative water treatment). Wildflowers are blooming everywhere. It rained on Saturday afternoon and evening. I checked the temp at 4:00 AM Sunday and it was 39 degrees. So remember at elevation the temps are vastly different than in the SLC valley :).

There is only one section of the trail that gains elevation quickly and is in poor condition due to the loose rock. This section of trail follows the creek (I think it is the outflow from Amethyst Lk) with amazing waterfalls and water slides. When you hit the top there is a gravel bar with a pool of water perfect for hydration and cooling off before beginning the gradual climb to the lakes.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike. The view of the peaks over the meadow about 5.5 miles in is really something. Make sure you keep going past the first smaller lake! I agree with other reviewers that the trail would be a bit nicer without all the horse "remains" all over the trail, but such is life.

backpacking
1 month ago

Easy access to the trailhead. Trail was a little crowded, but not terrible. Trails were well maintained.

Mosquitoes during our trip were bad if there was not a strong breeze, but the water made the wild flowers amazing to view.

Views from Seneca lake on were absolute stunning. The basin was amazing. Island lake was the most crowded area, but if you try hard you can find a good campsite anywhere.

I imagine in the later part of summer the streams and lakes will be much drier which would make parts of the hike easier, but also would take a little bit away from the views.

hiking
1 month ago

Steep climb that stays in the shade. A couple spots had quite a bit of overgrowth that you had to push through. There is quite a bit of loose rock on this trail, and bees were everywhere! If you’re looking for a shady, challenging climb, try this one. If you want something less steep with more scenery, stick to the desolation trail.

We had a good time, and didn’t see anyone on this trail. Probably wouldn’t do it again, though. Desolation would have been the much better option.

WORD OF WARNING - hiked from Big Sandy to Dad's Lake on July 4th. There were CLOUDS of mosquitos, hundreds, thousands... more mozzies than I've ever seen. Even with face nets and clothes on head-to-toe it was unbearable.

hiking
1 month ago

Mosquitos are as bad as advertised. Scenery is so out of this world that who cares about the bugs?

Did this in two nights with one campground above Island Lake. Snow, mud, and stream crossings were the biggest obstacle. As summer continues, the snow will melt, the mud will dry, the streams settle. Definitely doable. No need for traction.

Just watch out for post holing, snow is getting unstable in places.

The most difficult part is the last 5 miles back to the trailhead. And that is all mental.

Yes, fairly crowded for the backcountry, but the sort of people who do hikes like this seem like all right people to me.

Great trip with 11-13 year old scouts. This was our second year in a row coming here. We took three days for this trip. Backpacked to the lower lake of red castle and set up camp. Next day went fishing and played around. Fishing was great in the morning. Caught Brooke trout and Tiger trout both on spinner rods and fly fishing rods. Due to wind fishing was best on the West side of the lake. Didn’t make it up to the upper lake though but heard fish are bigger up there. Hiked 5 miles back and set up camp along the river. Last day fished and hiked back to the trailhead. Mosquitos were bad until you used repellent. Needed to reapply every four hours or so. Stars were amazing! No snow. Bring sunscreen. Nights were decent, not freezing. Afternoons were very warm.

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