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Journey Report: Uinta Highline Path


Staff member
Mar 15, 2024
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Journey Information​

  • Dates: Wed, Jul 21, 2021 to Solar, Jul 25, 2021
  • Route: West to East. Uinta Highline Trailhead > Hacking Lake Trailhead
  • Climate: Partly cloudy mornings, afternoon t-storms. Torrential downpour on Evening 2. Hail and lightning on Day 5.
  • Distance Hiked: 81 miles
  • Time: 5 days
  • Passes: Rocky Sea, Useless Horse, Purple Knob, Porcupine, Tungsten, Anderson, North Pole, Gabbro



Earlier this 12 months, our group utilized and didn’t obtain permits for the John Muir Path.

In lieu of mountain climbing the JMT this summer season, I obtained permits for a thru-hike throughout the Grand Tetons and Justin deliberate a thru-hike of the Uintas.

In 2014, we took seven days to hike an 81-mile leg of the Uinta Highline Path from east to west. This time, Justin needed to do it in reverse, from west to east however in solely 4 days.

He knew it was attainable, as a result of he had executed it with Jason in the summertime of 2019. The climate was principally dangerous for his or her journey, which is typical of the Excessive Uintas. Jason’s boots have been so waterlogged, they joked that if he took them off his trench foot would have left nothing however “skeleton ft”.

To be sincere, I wasn’t thrilled in regards to the concept of pushing so laborious to hike the Highline in 4 days. I like difficult hikes, however this seemed like an outright masochistic endeavor.

Even so, I didn’t wish to miss it as a result of Jason, Justin, and Clay are the A Crew. Over time, we have now made so many priceless reminiscences mountain climbing collectively.

On high of that, Jason is about to maneuver to Chicago for 2 years! I received’t be seeing him as a lot with such an ideal distance between us.

As a full-time RV’er, I informed Justin I didn’t know the place I’d be come late July. Nonetheless, I’d most likely come out for the Highline… and I did.

From left to right: Justin, Jason, Max (the author), Clay at the Uinta Highline Trailhead

From left to proper: Justin, Jason, Max (the creator), Clay


The day earlier than our hike, we have been all in a position to depart work and tasks early. As a result of we had further time, we determined to hit the path on a Wednesday afternoon as a substitute of a Thursday morning. This may give us 4 and a half days as a substitute of 4.

Justin’s spouse Kate was beneficiant sufficient to drive us as much as the Highline Trailhead at Hayden Move, which is a couple of miles north of the ultra-popular Mirror Lake.

Day 1​

Distance: 10.8 mi
1,591 ft
1,776 ft

We began mountain climbing at 3:00 p.m. and reached the highest of Rocky Sea Move (11,263 ft) at 6:15 p.m. There was some mild rain.

After overlaying practically 11 miles, we made camp midway between the junctions with Head of Rock Creek Path and Rock Creek Path. We settled in to camp at 7:40 p.m.

Looking down on the basin below Rocky Sea Pass

Wanting down on the basin beneath Rocky Sea Move

Day 2​

Distance: 18 mi
4,092 ft
3,270 ft

We wakened at 6:30 a.m. and broke down camp. Began mountain climbing at 7:20 a.m.

The path took us by an enormous space of not too long ago burnt forest. It was considerably eerie and dangerous@$$ on the similar time. At one level, we seen a path signal that had burned off its publish.

We reached the highest of Useless Horse Move (11,500 ft) at 11:40 a.m. The turquoise-colored Useless Horse Lake and weathered buttes and peaks that encompass it have been gorgeous from above. After we obtained down into the basin, we have been flabbergasted by the wildflower show.

Dead Horse Pass

Useless Horse Move
Indian paintbrush among other wildflowers with Dead Horse Lake in the background

Indian paintbrush amongst different wildflowers with Useless Horse Lake within the background
More Indian paintbrush with rugged buttes in the background

Extra Indian paintbrush with rugged buttes within the background
A picturesque meadow

A picturesque meadow

We knocked out Purple Knob Move (12,000 ft) at 2:00 p.m. and descended to Lambert Meadow, then again up over a shoulder with a gorgeous small lake on it. Clay identified that we had swam in that very same lake again in 2014.

A beautiful lake along the Highline

A stupendous lake alongside the Highline

We made camp at 7:00 p.m. in an extended valley I prefer to name Sheep Sh!+ Basin, on account of the sheep poop scattered in all places you stroll.

That night time, we obtained hit with a torrential downpour accompanied by shut lightning strikes and loud thunder. I used to be so drained, I put earplugs in and fell asleep throughout the top of the storm.

Day 3​

Distance: 20 mi
3,225 ft
3,441 ft

Our alarms went off at 6:30 a.m., however It took us a bit longer to roll away from bed and break down camp. Our tents and tarps have been soaked and our down quilts have been damp from condensation however we packed up anyway! It was about to be an extended, laborious day of mountain climbing.

We hit the path at 7:45 a.m. and topped out on Porcupine Move (12,200 ft) at 10:00 a.m.

A sheep skull below Porcupine Pass

A sheep cranium beneath Porcupine Move
Looking southwest from Porcupine Pass

Wanting southwest from Porcupine Move

After a nice lunch subsequent to North Star Lake, we continued over Tungsten (11,450 ft), the best go on the Highline.

The following go, Anderson, is arguably the toughest go on the Highline. At 12,700 ft, it’s by far the very best.

We reached the highest of Anderson Move at 2:15 p.m. Gentle rain started to fall on the descent.

Looking west from Anderson Pass

Wanting west from Anderson Move
Looking east from Anderson Pass

Wanting east from Anderson Move

On our means down, Jason informed us a curious story about “Edwin” Anderson, the man the go was supposedly named after. Jason went on to clarify that Edwin was a gold prospector and that he had written a e book.

“By some means, I discovered time to learn it in between work and the transfer.”

Jason went on.

“I believe I do know the place we are able to discover some gold!”

Justin and I checked out one another incredulously, however we adopted Jason off-trail anyway. Despite the fact that he sounded loopy, Jason has by no means given me a cause to doubt him. More often than not, his off-trail shenanigans repay, notably in Southern Utah the place we have now discovered historic petroglyphs, dwellings, and clay pottery shards.

All of a sudden, Jason dove right into a thicket. I squinted to try to focus my eyes on what was occurring. A single outstretched arm prolonged out from the bushes, holding a gold can. Then one other. Inside seconds, Jason seemingly emerged from the underworld with 4 Fisher beers! I can’t even start to explain how thrilled we have been.

We have been dying to know the actual backstory.

Apparently, Jason and Clay had hiked within the earlier weekend to summit Kings Peak and plant beers for our Highline journey.

This may go down as essentially the most considerate prank anybody has ever performed on me. Boy, was it a deal with to guzzle these brews down at camp that night, particularly after a 20-mile day.

We pushed by Painter Basin and handed Milk Lake, settling in at 5:40 p.m.

Looking back at Kings Peak

Wanting again at Kings Peak

Day 4​

Distance: 19 mi
2,355 ft
2,720 ft

Views of Gilbert Peak from a creek next to where we camped

Views of Gilbert Peak from a creek subsequent to the place we camped

We obtained on the path at 8:00 a.m. and made it to the highest of North Pole Move (12,250 ft) at 3:00 p.m.

This was the third time I had hiked North Pole in my life, however I had by no means executed it from west to east. It kicked my a$$, to say the least. I really feel like I at all times underestimate this go. Its dome-like form makes it look much less intimidating, however North Pole is a doozy.

We obtained off path a couple of occasions, however finally discovered an ideal spot to camp close to Chepeta Lake at 6:50 p.m.

We were treated to a great sunset that night

We have been handled to an ideal sundown that night time

Day 5​

Distance: 12.8 mi
2,192 ft
1,647 ft

On our remaining day, we slept in just a little longer since we had fewer miles to cowl. After leaving camp at 8:30 a.m., we promptly took our sneakers off to cross a freezing chilly stream.

We crossed this stream first thing in the morning

We crossed this stream very first thing within the morning

After passing Whiterocks Lake, we went over an unnamed go and on the best way down we obtained hailed on. The hail turned to rain and shortly it was accompanied by lightning and roaring thunder.

We sat out the storm below some pine bushes subsequent to Deadman Lake (excellent identify, eh?) and deliberated about whether or not to remain or go over Gabbro, our final go.

“Let’s go if 10 minutes go by with none thunder,” I recommended.

I had barely completed my sentence when BOOM a mighty thunderclap made us all burst out laughing.

Our subsequent transfer was to arrange Jason’s MLD TrailStar and huddle beneath for awhile. Fortunately, we have been solely caught for half-hour or so.

We bagged Gabbro Move (11,700 ft) with none points and made our means across the southeast facet of Leidy Peak, often dropping the path. At one level, we noticed a buck with an ideal trying rack.

At 3:50 p.m., we reached Hacking Lake Trailhead and moseyed down the highway to Hacking Lake, the place Kate met up with us at 5:00 p.m., bless her coronary heart!

That night, Justin and Kate spoiled us with scrumptious burgers, topped with one of the best bacon I’ve ever had. Kate additionally introduced an apple pie that she baked and it was delectable.

The following morning, we drove 4 hours again to Justin’s cabin on the opposite facet of the Uintas. It felt good to complete one other legendary hike with my fellas!


This 12 months, RightOnTrek introduced me on board as an envoy and supplied to assist my hikes and out of doors actions with customized meal plans.

On their web site, you may order backpacking meals with recent components, shipped on to you.

For the Uinta Highline Path, I personalized a plan that offered me with 3000 energy per day.

One night, I supplied Jason a few of my tacky mashed potatoes with hen and he couldn’t cease speaking about how good it was ?.

RightOnTrek’s meals are severely means tastier than the competitors.

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View at RightOnTrek

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