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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.

Great hike. Day 1 we left Henry Fork trailhead and went in past dollar lake 2 miles to camp (9.5 total). Did this to make our summit shorter. Water was harder to find but it was less crowded. Day 2 we left camp at 7:30 am and hit the top at 11:15. We went the shorter but steeper route over the bolder field to Anderson pass. Back to camp just after 3:00 pm. Then packed up and went to dollar lake to camp to make day 3 shorter. Day 3 we left dollar lake at 8 and we were back to the trailhead at 11:00 am. Overall great hike with amazing views. Bucket list item checked off.

backpacking
8 days ago

This was an awesome trail. It came out to be just under 40 miles. We did 3 nights and 4 days. Started at the tram and camped at Fox Creek, North Fork of Cascade Canyon, and Upper Paintbrush. We came out at String Lake.

backpacking
10 days ago

Gorgeous hike. This map leaves out the hardest but most rewarding part of the trip. The hike up paintbrush pass and the drop into paintbrush canyon is the jewel of the hike. Did the 40ish miles over three night (four days). Took the tram from Teton Village to start the trip and then hiked to Death Canyon Shelf. Second day we stayed at Sunrise Lake. Third night was Lower Paintbrush Canyon.

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.

This trail is a hoot and a half. Jacobs ladder will be sure to destroy your thighs and calf’s. Wonderful view at the top though.

It was an awesome but very difficult hike. From TH to Dollar Lake is fairly easy. We went up Gunsight Pass and descended down into the valley. It is steep going up to Anderson Pass. It was much further to Anderson then anticipated. Once we got to the Pass it was boulder scrambling for an hour. It was very tiring and hard. Coming down off the summit was difficult because there isn’t really a trail so it is more boulder scrambling for about an hour. We anticipated that it would take us roughly 7 hours to summit and get back to camp. It actually took us 10 hours. Some people in the party took upwards of 12 hours. There are spots for filtering water almost all the way to Anderson Pass. I had 2 liters and ran out on the descent. All in all it was an extremely tiring hike and most likely won’t do it again.

Don't trust GPS especially if coming from Provo. The GPS puts you 4 miles away from the trailhead. I was able to find a housing development being built that put me 1.3 miles away from the trailhead.
You will want to drive to Orson park in Draper, and there will be a dirt road that takes you all the way to the trailhead but be warned cars will not like that road. I would say a crossover vehicle is pushing it.

Bring lots of water! It is dry now so you can't filter any water this time of year. I went through 2 power aids and 3 liters of water and still felt pretty dehydrated the last 3 miles down.

Plan on going in the morning. I got out late (11 am) and was in the sun the whole time. There isn't much shade from trees so the sun is on you the whole time.

I would not recommend this for the first time to beginner-moderate hikers. It is a brutally hard hike that I would recommend working up towards. It is probably the most gorgeous hike of all the peaks in my opinion though.

Gorgeous views. A wonderful knife edge scramble that was amazing.

Camped about 1.75 miles past Dollar Lake. Started up at 6:30am through Painter's Basin, made it to the top at 11:30. Great climb and hike and amazing views throughout. Went back the same way, and packed up and camped by the fork in the trail just after the river crossing to make the last day shorter. Good thing too as the clouds really rolled in and looked, like storms near Gunsite, the Basin, and the lakes. Great Hike, plentiful water with a filter.

Good long hike! I got cell coverage the whole way so it was really helpful in staying on the route, plus in a lot of areas there are a ton of Carins (unlike pfieferhorn). Hiked in late July and saw about 30 other people. So it is nice that the trail is not packed (like Timp). We started at 5:45 am, took 5 hours to summit, 3.5 hours to descend. And it seems like that pace is just above average for those on the trail. Temps were perfect until it started heating up about halfway down the mountain, not sure how to avoid that.

Awesome!

Camped at Dollar Lake. Took the short way after the cairn at Gunsight Pass by hugging the side of the mountain instead of going into Painter Basin. There are markers all along the way until you can see Anderson Pass. Most of my group did take the chute down. Two went around the way we came. They beat us by 10 minutes back to Dollar Lake. This is something to consider if you are thinking of taking the chute down. It is probably a little quicker if you are at Henry’s Fork Lake, but not Dollar, and is definitely much more physically demanding.

Awesome hike, very difficult (even for me, who just finished it for the fourth time). Make sure you have plenty of water. All four of my group started with at least 40 oz of water and we all ran out, and that was starting from base camp, eight miles from the trailhead, and it wasn't even a particularly sunny or hot day. Bring a water filter if you have it, there are streams to fill up almost the entire way.

Definitely a very difficult hike, long, grueling, and one that will push your limits. I’d recommend starting early (4-5 am) to get past Jacob’s Ladder before it gets too hot. Views are amazing and the summit push is fun but exposed, not for people who don’t like heights or inexperienced hikers

Hell hath no fury like Jacob's Ladder. That stretch of trail is steep, unrelenting, and loose. I've also dealt with multiple rattlesnakes on the trail and in the bushes. I usually climb it at night, sleep in the saddle, and summit in the morning. If you want to hike in the day, start at 5am or you'll hate your life. The scramble to the top has some exposure, but for experienced hikers it isn't bad. Awesome views. Summit is a small rock with three drop offs on each side. Not for the faint of heart.

Great trip. We hiked in to dollar lake area (difficult to identify which lake was what) and found a good spot to set up for the night. Did not get super cold (maybe low 50's). Set out at 6 am the next morning towards gunsight pass and took the shortcut around. Lots of rocks to climb and walk over. We made it to the summit by 11. Descent was easier but still difficult due to the rocks. We took a left coming off the trail to the peak down what we were told was called 'the Devil's Chute' (because who can pass something with that kind of a name up?). First half was walking down steep rocks, the second half was skiing down rocks with hiking boots. We wandered back to the main trail and found the camp by 2. Broke it down and walked out leaving the trail at 630.

Would 3 days have been more pleasant? Probably - with a more relaxed start time might have dealt with more sun but there would be more time to come down and recover before making the hike out. All in all - ~20 miles is a lot for one day.

Boyfriend and I got lost half way through and had to bushwhack our way to a road which eventually led to the grave. We were kindly 4 wheeled out as the sunset beamed. Was a good hike.

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.

So worth it. Bring plenty of water, and a filter just in case!!

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.

Very difficult hike. Took about 7 hours and that was with us trying to go fast. I’m mid 30s and relatively fit, but this hike pushed me to my limit. Trail is challenging to follow and we turned an 11 mile hike into a 12.5 mile because we took a couple wrong turns.

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!

The hike itself is absolutely amazing! My brother and I set out to climb the seven major peaks in utah county this year (Nebo, Santaquin, Spanish Fork, Provo, Cascade, Timpanogos, and Lone Peak) This one was the last one that we climbed, and it was by far our favorite! It was definitely one of the more challenging peaks though as the trail is quite steep and fairly long. Make sure to start early and take lots of water! It took us about 8 hours total.

I only have one complaint and that is that, when coming from the Provo side, the driving directions take you to a closed road! Eventually after looking at the topographic map I figured out how to get there: after driving up highland blvd to the top of the hill, I turned into a new development to the east of the road. Once in the new development, I went to the far northeast corner to where the paved road turned into a dead end, but a dirt road continued off of it. If you keep traveling north here it will bring you to a gravel road that brings you through a gate to another trailhead. Keep traveling past this trailhead about another 3/4 of a mile along the road and you will arrive at the Jacobs ladder trailhead.

I hope this helps! It delayed our start by about an hour to figure out, but we were still able to get up before it was too hot, so I’m not mad about it. The trail is very easy to follow until the cirque but even within the cirque it’s not too hard.

Bottom line: the views from the top are very rewarding and well worth the difficulty of getting there.

Absolutely stunning views all the way to the peak. I’m relatively fit, and it took 4-4.25 hours to reach the top. If you’re looking for some true adventure, this is definitely one for you. Although the hike is long, it’s certainly worth doing.

FAIR WARNINGS:
The road to the trailhead, which starts at Orson B. Smith Park, is rather long, very rough and rocky. Make sure your vehicle has good ground clearance, as you may bottom out (scrape the ground with the underside of your car, or possibly even get stuck if your ground clearance is really low) in some sections if you’re driving a compact car that’s low to the ground. Trucks and SUVs can handle this quite easily. 4WD is not exactly necessary.

Some sections of the trail are very steep, so I recommend a trekking pole or two.

Bring at least 5-6 half-liter bottles of water (or fewer larger bottles). I saw no source of water anywhere on the trail, so don’t bother packing a filtered drinking straw. I started with 4 and a half 1/2 liter bottles of water, and ran out long before I got back to the trailhead.

At one point, you will be walking across what seems like a large, hilly field of granite rock. There are many cairns which should lead you in the right direction(on your way back down, stay to the left as much as possible as many ill-placed cairns may lead you in the wrong direction). After this, it’s scrambling over large boulders almost all the way to the top.

Watch out for snakes, including rattlesnakes. If it weren’t for a fellow hiker warning me of a rattlesnake on the trail, I would’ve likely stepped right on it since it was rather well hidden in the middle of the trail.

Pack something warmer to wear for when you reach the peak, like a long sleeved shirt or a windbreaker. The wind was quite gusty, and the temperature was in the high 50s, even at noon.

This is one of the hardest trails I’ve done. Jacobs ladder will show you no mercy. Bring lots of water, trekking poles, shoes with good tread and your camera! When you hit the alpine meadow all of the effort is worth it! We were swarmed by butterflies! When you come out of the meadow stay left. Stay left of the gulley and follow that trail. If you go to the right you will have to cross a boulder field to get back on trail. Not sure why there are so many misleading cairns...
The effort is definitely worth the payout!

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