Explore the most popular waterfall trails in High Uintas Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

When the byway is closed, one can drive in only about 15 miles. At this point, there will be a road closed sign. There is a parking lot here. Many trucks come carrying their snowmobiles to use on the snow covered roads and trails. The main byway up to this point seems to be maintained by plows during the day (not at night), but the side roads to the campgrounds are not plowed, but some of the roads you can drive a little into depending on the type of vehicle you have and how much snow is still on the roads. I rated it 2 only because we did not have a snowmobile or skis or snowshoes to go into the trails, the rating would be better if we had any of those things to make the snow-covered roads more fun!

The red castle really is worth all the hype. The trail is pretty level and never steep, but the trail surface was trash from all the horse traffic, and really wore my feet out, so wear good shoes. There were moose along the lake. When we went the last weekend in August, it rained for a little bit but it was fine. There were also about a couple hundred sheep being run late at night from east red castle down the valley so that was... interesting. You’ll also pass lots of cows on your way there and the trail appears to be more popular with horse packers than backpackers. So it was more like the High Uintas Farm than a wilderness... still worth it to camp under the red castle.

on Highline Trail

backpacking
4 months ago

My son and I along with his friend Isaac hiked the trail in 2016.
Here is a video clip from our hike.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXplSAsahD8

Pack light and take sun screen, fishing pole, water bottle that purifies and, take the InReach Explorer for communicating and GPS. With it I was able to communicate with my wife by email and it tracked our course every 20 minutes and posted it on Facebook for those that wanted to follow us on the map.

This is not a hike it is a drive but I do it all the time! Lakes ALL OVER THE PLACE! Definitely one to check out!

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike! About 13 miles total, with steep sections, and lots and lots of mud and water on the trail, but definitely doable. We hiked this pretty late in the season, so about a mile from the lake, we hit some pretty deep snow and lost the trail. We kept trekking, though, and made it to the lake about an hour later than planned. The snow was a lot of work! Definitely will do this hike again, but probably earlier in the season, like early September. The good thing about going later, though, was that we didn't see any other hikers at all until the end of the hike when we got back to the parking lot.

backpacking
7 months ago

Amazing Hike!
Requires a recreational day pass for overnight parking. I usually buy my passes at the Chevron located in Kamas outside the west entrance to the forest. It cost me $6 for a 3-day pass. (Closes at 9pm)

Difficulty: It can get rough at times. Incline the entire way. Very steep sections.

It has many rivers/creeks running through multiple areas so you don't need to worry too much about water. (I recommend Iodine and neutralizer tablets you can buy at Walmart for $7, water tastes great with those)
If you are hiking off-trail from Salamander Lake to Ostler Lake on the West side of the basin, there aren't very many water sources, be sure to prepare for that section.

Our dog loved this trail, and did fine. Horses are welcome as well.

Recommended camping places:

If you stay on-trail, Waypoint 2 or Waypoint 3 are a great places to camp. Amethyst/Waypoint 4 is with the tree line so wood will be scarce there.

Off-trail Camping spots: The small pond/lake south of Salamander on the south side has a great little meadow area. Very comfy. Moose love that pond. Be sure to 100% camp at Ostler Lake!!! Beautiful place! Best spot there is on the south-west side near an open meadow along the tree line. Lots of wood to burn.

By far one of the best hikes!

By the way, here are my route details. Each waypoint has comments/recommendations.

https://www.gaiagps.com/datasummary/route/06c5985d-0f03-4fdc-a475-ab082dfafc40/?layer=GaiaTopoRasterFeet

Questions? E-Mail me at JoshuaTravisFryer@outlook.com

gorgeous hike through breathtaking views. one of my favorites in Utah!!!

We went from Kamas to Mirror Lake. There are many campgrounds and view point pull offs, though we did not explore them. There are many open ranges, so drivers have to watch out for cows on the road. We saw a dusting of snow on the hilltops, frost and ice patches around Mirror Lake. We saw a few trees showing fall colors.

We had a great time, hiked the entire trail to the lower lake in one day. Camped the night before at China Meadows. Left at 5 am and returned by 2pm. Didn't hike hard and stopped a plenty. Beautiful lake and Red Castle Mt is awesome!! A MUST-DO!

Just did this as a two night backpack over Labor Day weekend. It was stunning! And there are no more mosquitoes!!! I never had to use bug spray once. It also never rained! It is a long 10 mile hike in, but there's so little elevation gain it feels almost flat. There were a lot of groups camping, but everyone was very friendly and I enjoyed talking to great new people. Spent the second day going up to the upper lake for lunch. We sunned on the rock, dipped our feet in, and even swam for a second. We woke up to five moose in our campsite the second morning! I will never forget this incredible experience.

backpacking
8 months ago

Incredibly beautiful hike through meadows, pine forest, and aspen groves. As others have said, this hike is 13 miles round trip from the parking lot. The first 2 miles are fairly easy and pleasant...BUT...once you turn left to head toward Amethyst the trail becomes quite steep for about a mile and then continually ascends until you reach the lake. The trail is very rocky and there are quite a few areas where it is muddy. You will likely ask yourself several times, "How and why is this fun??" However, you can take regular breaks and enjoy the waterfalls and cascades that border the trail. After you've endured the grueling uphill climb you come to Amethyst Lake. It is well worth the hike and the most gorgeous mountain lake I have visited to-date!!

Awesome hike. As others have said, it is longer than listed.... at least 13 miles round trip to Amethyst Lake. End of August is the perfect time for this trip. It was nice and cool at night, slightly warm during the day, and the bugs had mostly disappeared. There are some nice campsites near the unnamed lake about a mile from Amethyst. We stopped on the opposite side of the trail in a meadow that had an awesome fire pit with some tree trunk benches. Plenty of firewood due to the blight.

backpacking
8 months ago

This trail was amazing! Beauty all around, and wonderful campsites at the top. Hardly any bugs this time of year. Didn't have to use deet once. Gorgeous waterfalls on the way up, and crystal aqua waters up top. However, the trail is indeed 13 miles round trip, not 11 as stated on All Trails. It may be 11 round trip from the fork, but it's 13 miles round trip from car, to Amethyst, and back. I will definitely do this trail again someday.

Stuff to think about on this trip:
Bug spray, sunscreen, waterproof shoes, woods stay pretty damp, hiking in some muddy spots, mushrooms, fishing pole, camera, basic survival kit.

This hike will take from 7-9hrs. in. I would suggest camping before the Upper Red Castle Lake. May be wise to bring rain gear if you don't typically pack it. It's worth the hike just to cleanse the soul.
Just go with it. It's good for you. You'll not have cell service.

hiking
9 months ago

Did a day hike this past Saturday. Trail was mostly dry and few bugs and plenty of wil flowers. 3 hours and 10 minutes to the lake.

Not a very difficult hike. Although you will find that most of the trail is mud as it's a heavily used equestrian trail. Dog friendly. Look for moose in the meadows! Mosquitos are plentiful. Trails seems busy on weekends.. We backpacked in and stayed two nights at Lower Red Castle Lake. Took a day hike to Red Castle Lake as it's only about two miles past Lower Red Castle Lake. Very scenic and peaceful place. Worth every mile!

Very beautiful place to put up a hammock and relax by Mirror Lake. Don't come here for peace and solitude though.

This trail is the most beautiful trail I've ever hiked. Also the longest and I read some of these reviews saying it's too hard and what not.. well by the time I got to the lower lake I had been up for a total of 26 hours from working and then driving 2.5 hours and then taking the 6 hours it took me to get to the lower lake and although strenuous. It's not at all difficult. It's super muddy and it hailed on us everyday so be prepared. The upper castle lake doesn't provide much to look at but when you're up there looking out over the land and you can see red castle and the lower lake it's worth the hour hike over the boulders to the west of the red castle lake.

I've been making the trek to RedCastle for 27 years... it's never disappointing! I chose 4 stars because of the current condition of the trail... it's muddy and wet up there, lots of damage to navigate from horse packing, if you are on a horse 5 stars.
The fishing was great at the middle lake, nailed the tigers and cuts. Use black and yellow jigs, wooly buggers.
Campers need to be more tidy and clean.. came across a few spots where human waste or trash was noticable... bark beetles have wreaked havoc on about 80 percent of the lower pines.. but up above the switch backs ... the pines are pretty healthy. Such a beautiful place to visit and come back to!

trail running
9 months ago

This is a High Uinta classic for remoteness. I have done this and several variations of the loop.
The caution for horses in other reviews are real. The Shale Dugway is notorious for big time horse wrecks in years past. Roberts Pass will pull shoes off the best horses.
Hiking will eat bad knees and ankles. You can cut off some of the mileage by omitting the Fox Lake and Kings Peak detours. You can also cut more mileage by taking the lower trail to Painter Basin and Trail Rider Pass.
Stream crossings should be done cautiously during high runoff times.
Be ready for severe thunderstorms. Only bring the best synthetic and fast drying clothing.
Trail running is hampered by rocky trail surface. Don't plan on setting a land speed record or be ready to pay the bloody price.
If you want solitude and beautiful scenery, this trail is epic.

hiking
9 months ago

Awesome!!! Amazing meadows. Lots of wildflowers. Great river with sequential waterfalls. Huge Rock cliffs. So beautiful! Logged 13.4 miles. Didn't see any moose. Only a few bugs.

on Allsop Lake Trail

backpacking
9 months ago

Great backpacking destination! Aside from a moderate amount of mosquitoes, numerous lake fish, we had the place to ourselves. Where was everybody!? Wildflowers between 0-2 miles were awesome. Quite a few cattle at miles 2-4. From mile 5 to the lake, you are walking in some pretty scenic meadows. Bring your camera! It took us about 4.5 hours to reach the lake and just under four returning to the car. There are several small sections that were muddy and swampy from horseback riding, which required circumnavigating. The trail is a very gradual and deceiving uphill, there are only two switchbacks. If you want a place to yourself, consider this destination. Easily fives stars, but minus one star for trail conditions and mosquitoes.

hiking
9 months ago

Stupendous hike! Did it in a day and tracked 13 miles. Bring at least 3 liters of water and snacks. Soak in the beauty and enjoy!

Trail conditions were okay. Tons of horseback riders; makeing the trail really muddy at some points. Lots of mosquitoes. We spent a few days there and camped at a different place each night. Most camps had trash. Fishing was amazing. Day hikes were fun. Sunsets and weather conditions were good. Rained daily for about an hour in the evenings. Would definitely recommend.

Backpacked this in July, 2016. One of my favorite trails in the Uintas! I spent many nights in the Uintas as a boy scout and this was everything I remember and more. Saw a bunch of moose and saw some really deep back woods country only few can imagine if you've been here. Great two night adventure.

Great trail! Amazing views. The afternoon thunderstorms in the Unitas really are a thing so pack appropriately. Lots of bugs as well. Tons of moose in that area so pack your cameras.

backpacking
10 months ago

Loved this hike! Made it up to Amethyst in just over three hours. Keep plugging along after the junction to Kermsuh. It's steep, but it does end! Beautiful hike and well worth it. Bugs were pretty bad, but pack some deet and you should be fine. Side trips to Ostler and BR24 are great. Best to camp at the small, un-named lake about a mile below Amethyst. Beautiful place to watch the sunrise and a quick hike back up to Amethyst for the day. Didn't fish, but they were rising all over the place.

One of the most beautiful hikes! This trail is a MUST. Super easy trail along the river into the open meadow and up the Red Castle Lakes.

backpacking
10 months ago

Hiking the Highline Trail is becoming my annual tradition. Started this hike last Saturday and ended up hiking out Tuesday out of Henry's Fork because of bad lightning/thunder conditions. This trail is beautiful and the scenery is just breathtaking. If you like to fly fish, I would highly recommend this Trail because of all the lakes along the way. I rate this Trail as moderate with a couple hard sections (Anderson Pass and a quick detour to Kings Peak).

Don't listen to Clayton(below), we hiked this trail with 3 beginners and not one person had an issue reaching the lake. Everyone carried 35lb packs and had no issues, very few breaks were necessary and the elevation gain was very moderate. Even the switch backs were extremely casual and short lived. The scenery was amazing and we had the entire lake to ourselves! The bugs were in abundance and constant application of bug spray was absolutely necessary but that was to be expected. I recommend this hike for everyone, including first timers.

Additionally I didn't download the map from this app and still tracked the trail with no issues.

9.8 miles, 3.4 hours, 1450 elevation change.

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