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Thread: Uinta Highline Trail

  1. #1

    Uinta Highline Trail

    A friend and I hiked a section of the Uinta Highline Trail on August 5-7, totaling 26 miles in about 48 hours. This was my first backpacking trip, and I was nervous about covering so many miles. We met in Duchesne at 8:00AM on Friday then set up a car shuttle. We dropped his car off at Chepeta Lake, then drove my truck around to the start of the hike. Although we were starting 13 air miles east of Chepeta Lake, it was about 90 road miles to get there, so we didn't start hiking until about 1:30PM.

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    The hiking was fairly easy for the first day. We hiked through both old and new timber, as the area had been logged sometime in the past, and the trail was fairly easy to follow. It was cairned in places, with trees blazed in others. We made about five miles and gained just over 1,000 feet of elevation before setting up camp just below the treeline east of Leidy Peak. We could have made a few more miles, but we wanted to camp where there was water and shelter from the wind.

    The start of the hike

    Following cairns

    Blazed trail through the trees

    Marshy ground along an old logging road

    The trail is indiscernible through this meadow

    Trail meets road near Hacking Lake

    A stream from which we pumped and filtered our drinking/cooking water

    Makin' dinner

    Camp between Hacking Lake and Leidy Peak

    Clouds at sunset

    View east from camp after sunset

    Saturday was a tough day. We made 13 miles, mostly above the treeline, with a lot of elevation gain. After cooking breakfast and packing up camp, we filled up our water and started hiking at about 9:00AM. We skirted around a 3/4-mile long snow drift on the northeast side of Leidy Peak, then took the east ridge up to the peak. From Leidy Peak we continued west and stopped for lunch in the saddle between Leidy Peak and Mt. Untermann. Somewhere in the saddle we saw a group of backpackers ahead of us working their way up to Gabbro Pass. Just below the pass was a huge snow drift covering the trail, and we watched as the group dropped down several hundred feet to Lake Wilde, then climbed back up and crossed the drift in its thickest spot. We stuck to the trail, and when we reached the snow drift we scrambled up the steep hillside above the trail, just on the edge of the drift, then crossed at its thinnest point by kicking in some footholds. We stopped for another break near Gabbro Pass, and by that time I was beat. I was content to hike until we were just below the treeline again near Whiterocks Lake, but after thinking it over for a while, I talked myself into pushing myself pretty hard and trying to make it to Chepeta Lake, even if it meant hiking in the dark.

    Early morning after the first night's camp

    Making breakfast

    Almost above the treeline on the way to Leidy Peak

    Hiking up Leidy Peak

    Chris and Torrey

    Leidy Peak

    King's Peak way off in the distance

    Heading down the western slope of Leidy Peak

    Flat area on the way to Mt. Untermann

    Almost to the saddle between Leidy Peak and Mt. Untermann

    From here, the trail leads straight up to the large snow drift

    Another group of backpackers crossing the snow field below Gabbro Pass

    Mountain goats

    Approaching the snow drift

    Climbing up the edge of the drift

    Cutting a trail across the snow drift

    Lightning Park

    Dry Fork in Lightning Park

    View east to Gabbro Pass

    View into the Whiterocks Lake drainage

    Whiterocks Lake

    Creek crossing near Whiterocks Lake

    Along Whiterocks Lake

    Stream crossing


    More elk

    Trail across a meadow

    Time to use the headlamps

    Approaching Chepeta Lake

    We eventually did make it to Chepeta Lake at around 10:00PM and hastily set up camp, ate dinner, then crashed. The following morning, Sunday, we were on the trail by 9:00 on our way to bag Eccentric Peak. The first mile and a half was easy and pretty level, but rounding the north end of Papoose Lake we had to do some boulder hopping and bushwhacking. After that we had some pretty steady elevation gain for the rest of the hike to Eccentric, gaining 1,600 feet over the course of two miles. I was still dragging ass from the previous day's death march and it took over three hours to make it to Eccentric Peak, and my knee was hurting on the way down. While doing the boulder hop around the north end of Papoose Lake again, I had muddy shoes and slipped and fell, scraping and bruising my forearm. We got back to camp about five hours after setting out that morning, ending our backpacking trip after 48 hours. We still had to drive the 90 miles again to retrieve my truck, but it felt great to have completed the trip.

    Chepeta Lake

    Boulder hopping at the north end of Papoose Lake

    Papoose Lake

    The beginning of the steep part to Eccentric Peak

    Hiking up to Eccentric Peak

    Chepeta Lake

    Loooong boulder field going up to Eccentric Peak

    Daggett Peak

    Hikers on Daggett Peak

    View west from Eccentric

    Nearing the high point on Eccentric Peak

    The high point on Eccentric Peak

    Summit register and survey marker on Eccentric Peak

    Finally back at camp at Chepeta Lake, after 26.1 miles

    More photos here:

    Blog entry:

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  4. #2
    Excellent! I bet you'll be doing MANY more trips after this epic.
    I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. -Martin Luther King, Jr.

  5. #3
    awesome uintah stoke! nice to see the east end get some lovin'. mountain goats are cool. thanks for sharing.

  6. #4
    That is one hell of a good first backpacking trip man. So what did you think? Itching for another or not so much?

  7. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by ibenick View Post
    That is one hell of a good first backpacking trip man. So what did you think? Itching for another or not so much?
    Definitely itchin' for more. Western Uintas, or maybe some desert if I don't make it back soon enough. I need a new backpack and maybe some other lighter gear (or maybe I should just get my ass into better shape ), but I'm up for more.

  8. #6
    Looks like an awesome trip! Congrats on you first backpack. I'm looking forward to giving it a go myself next year.

  9. #7
    Thanks for the report.

  10. #8
    I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. -Martin Luther King, Jr.

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