Complete Solitude in the High Uintas

There is nothing quite like planning a good trek into the backcountry.  Alarm set for 4:00 AM.  Any other morning the shrill buzzing from the alarm would be the most unwelcome of feelings.  Yet on this day off, you welcome it with exhilaration.  Rolling out of bed, you grab your pack and get ready to go.  3 liters water, filter, nalgene, base layers, rain shell, fire, food, GPS, the list goes on and on.  I like to get onto the trail before the sun comes up.  There isn’t anything more beautiful to me than seeing a sunrise over the mountains.  The crisp morning air and the smell of dew on the ground is so refreshing.  One of my favorite areas in Utah to hike is the Uinta Range.  The area can be easily accessed by taking the Mirror lake Highway from Kamas.  It is a national forest area so be sure to pay for your car’s access and support the national park system.

Bald Mountain as seen from Mirror Lake Highway

A good hike for a beginner looking to bag a major summit is Bald Mountain.  The hike should take 2 to 3 hours to summit and about an hour to descend.  The summit elevation is very high for Utah standards, clocking in close to 12,000 feet.  Most of the trail is well-defined and easy to follow.  Exposure is very minimal and risk of falling is very small compared to other major summits.

Sitting on the Summit. What an awesome place for Lunch!

They don't call it Mirror Lake Highway for nothing.

I highly recommend that anyone going for a hike in the Uintas to go in the morning.  Afternoon thunderstorms are the norm for the Uinta range and lightning strikes are a very real danger.  Now get out and enjoy the outdoors!

Me on the Summit of Bald Mountain

Original Photography by Brad Wynalek

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