Tom’s Experience thru hiking the Uinta Highline Trail:
Today was the second day of our three day Uinta backpacking trip; use the link for the other days under the map at the bottom of the post. We woke up early and decided to get started. Our tent had frost built up on the outside but I don’t think it rained during the night. The trek to the top of Anderson Pass was a little difficult. It is the highest point on the trail at 12,700. There was one climber who woke up earlier than us and was making his way to the top of Kings Peak.
The view from Anderson was very pretty. We could see Fox Queant Pass way off behind us in the distance, as well as Tungsten Pass where we were heading. We would wake up each morning, pick a point as far as we could see on the horizon, hike to it and then do it again, and then again, before we called it quits for the day.
The valley leading up to Tungsten Pass was very pretty. We could see some waterfalls in the distance from snow melting. There were a ton of sheep grazing and we also got to see the cowboy herding them, which was pretty neat.
Tungsten pass looked really easy from Anderson, but I soon realized I had underestimated it. It seemed to take a lot longer to climb up it than I thought. We stopped here quickly to catch our breath and enjoy the view of the valley.
The stretch from Tungsten Pass to Porcupine Pass was very pretty, with what felt like dozens of interconnected lakes. Porcupine Pass has an elevation of 12,236 and it started to mildly hail on us on the way up. At the top we were able to see a family of mountain goats off in the distance. The descent from Porcupine into the next valley was very steep and I was glad we came up the other side. As soon as we hit the bottom of porcupine, we were caught in a huge thunder and hail storm. We put on our rain gear and trudged along through it. We could see the lightning striking the mountains on our left and everything started to turn white as if it were snowing.
We got lost a few times in the meadow since there really wasn’t much of a trail (and if there was it was covered in hail), however, there were very large cairns that were built to help us. We didn’t pull out the map as much as we should have either because of the rain but eventually we hooked back up with the trail. It didn’t stop raining until we reached the Lake Fork River but that was fine with us since we had rain gear and were staying warm by moving. We eventually made it to the base of Red Knob Pass and decided to stop there. In fact, I doubt I could have kept going, I was barely moving as it was.We saw another cowboy come by as we were setting up our tent. We camped below Mount Lovenia, which was lovely. I think total hiking time today, not counting breaks, was about 12 hours.
An additional version of my adventure in the High Uintas Wilderness appeared in the second issue of Sidewalk – a hiking and backpacking magazine.
Trail Info: We started this adventure at the Whiterocks Trailhead and ended at the Uinta Highline Trailhead near Mirror Lake moving east to west. It took us about 4 hours to get from our parked car at the Uinta Highline Trailhead to the Whiterocks Trailhead so transportation from one side to the other can be rather difficult if you are doing the hike straight through. The trail passes numerous lakes and streams so water is pretty easy to get to as long as you have a way to purify it. The trail rarely drops below 10,000 feet so the altitude may be an issue for some. I think our adventure was about 68 miles from trailhead to trailhead. No permits are needed for hiking or camping in the back country but we did need to purchase a parking pass for the car we left parked at the Highline Trailhead. Dogs are allowed on the High Uinta hikes.
Whiterocks Trailhead = 40.724051,-110.052771
Highline Trailhead = 40.722854,-110.863853
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