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Thread: Uintas?

  1. #1

    Uintas?

    Any of you more experienced types know when I can start backpacking up in the Uintas? I've spent most of my time down south but my fiancee and I want to explore the Uintas. Is there anywhere we could get to now (without having to hike\camp in the snow) or do we need to give it a couple months?
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  3. #2
    Nothing you can get to right now without snow. You'll be at least Memorial Day until you can get over Bald Mt Pass.
    Just where is it I could find bear, beaver, and other critters worth cash money when skint?

  4. #3
    The question is a bit like asking "how long is a piece of string". There are many, varied routes in and it certainly varies each year. The earliest I have gone into the "back country" is the 2nd week in June. I went into Granddaddy basin and it was awesome. I tried a repeat the next year and when we got to the top looking down into the basin it was a frozen snowfield. This was a hundred years ago but I will try to attach some snapshots (since that is what we took back then). Only a small opening in the lake was thawed and no many tent locations with no snow. We didn't pack for snow camping. Still an OK trip, but would have been better even one week later and I wish we hadn't pushed it that year. But, I was expecting a repeat of the year before and didn't get it. I had an airline pilot friend once that used to fly over the area often that I would get "looks like it is still snowed in" updates from, but alas, that contact is gone. The point being that I could just never tell without getting beta from someone else that year and I think you are indeed early right now.

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  6. #4
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    Even in a dry year the High Uintas Wilderness won't begin to be snow free until sometime in mid or late June.

    You can still backpack in some areas of the Uinta Mountains though. Dinosaur National Monument is in the Uinta Mountains and the lower elevations should be quite pleasant now.

    Jones Hole is a recommended backpack in the Uinta Mountains at this time of year.

    Here is some information:

    http://www.nps.gov/dino/planyourvisi...screekarea.htm

    Here are some of my photographs:

    http://www.summitpost.org/jones-hole-june-2006/266302

    You can also extend your hike to Island Park.

    Limestone Ridge is probably OK by now, but the area is much more rugged.
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  7. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by DesertDuke View Post
    The earliest I have gone into the "back country" is the 2nd week in June. I went into Granddaddy basin and it was awesome.
    Did you park at Grandview or down at the ranch? When do they typically start plowing to Grandview, or do they just let it melt?
    Just where is it I could find bear, beaver, and other critters worth cash money when skint?

  8. #6
    Thanks for the info guys. I've been stuck down in the desert for too long...excited to get into some trees!
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  9. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Sun Dance View Post
    Did you park at Grandview or down at the ranch? When do they typically start plowing to Grandview, or do they just let it melt?
    The gate wasn't even open but we were determined so we went anyway. I seem to recall that the roads were passable. Once again, it was 100 yrs ago. When we got to the top there were some road graders, etc parked at the actual TH. My buddy knows how to operate those and I tried to talk him into "borrowing" a ride down to the gate on the way out but he wouldn't do it. Tried to straight line bushwack and it did little other than to hyperextend my knee. But........ we made it. Still better than the office.

  10. #8
    To get an idea of the snow levels up there you can look at the Snotel website. I usually check the Trial Lake station which is at 10,000ft. Still around 4ft of snow at Trial Lake as of today.

    http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/nwcc/si...m=828&state=ut

  11. #9
    Trail Master
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    There are a lot fewer bug when there is still snow on the ground. With such mild winter I bet its going to be a bad bug season in the Unitas.

  12. #10
    You don't have to cross the summits and the high passes. we always camp in the Uintas for Memorial day. Some years we have to stay at lower elevations, Some years we can get a little higher. This year was a mild winter and the snow is alread melting off really fast. You should have no problem with camp sites around 8,000 foot now and chasing the snow up the mountain as it continues to melt.

    These are trails north of Duchense in Mid May a couple of years go. I'm sure this year they are already this bare of snow since we are 3-4 weeks ahead of normal spring melt. Just look for routes that go horizontal across the face vs trails that head for the higher elevations


  13. #11
    Last year they barely cleared the road over the top of Mirror Lake Highway by the first week of July. This year is looking much more promising. We will be attempting to get some quick day fishing in during a week of business meetings taking place in Park City around the end of May... Hopefully the fish are awake by then

    Last year around the middle of June we were making some sweet snow caves in the 6 foot tall snow walls just below bald mtn pass while we were watching the giant snow blowers clear the road ahead... It was actually a lot of fun

    Hopefully the fish up there will be a little more lively this year.
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  14. #12
    Outdoor Guru Wasatch Rebel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmMatrix View Post
    Last year they barely cleared the road over the top of Mirror Lake Highway by the first week of July. This year is looking much more promising. We will be attempting to get some quick day fishing in during a week of business meetings taking place in Park City around the end of May... Hopefully the fish are awake by then

    Last year around the middle of June we were making some sweet snow caves in the 6 foot tall snow walls just below bald mtn pass while we were watching the giant snow blowers clear the road ahead... It was actually a lot of fun

    Hopefully the fish up there will be a little more lively this year.
    Yeah, I was going to say, you'll be able to get up there a lot earlier this year than we were able to last year. I had to cancel my Kings Peak trip last year in mid-July due to still too much snow.

  15. #13
    I was just chatting with someone who told me that the road was already clear to Trial Lake, They did not have proof of this other than their word so I have no idea. They also told me that the road over the top of Mirror Lake Highway was still blocked by snow.... Does anyone else have any recent updates? We were going to try and head up there this weekend or next just to check but we have to drive to Southern Utah instead :(
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  16. #14
    I am blessed to be able to live close enough to the Uintas to hike after work. The North Slope is melting out fast - I was up at the East Fork Bear River, around 9500 feet tonight and there was no snow. Trailhead access at Stillwater and East Fork Bear are good - the roads are a little rough. The gate is up on the Mirror Lake Highway, but the road is closed. I drove up to Sulphur Creek - no snow. I didn't want to go up further, but the only snow was under the trees on the east facing slopes. If the mirror lake highway isn't open on Memorial Day, it is because UDOT cannot be bothered.
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  17. #15
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    I called the forest service and they said I could drive to the Highline trail head on the mirror lake highway. But that the road was not "officially" open, which means there might be snow on it in spots. It is supposed to "officially" open next week. I am going up there tomorrow, with snow shoes, so that road better be open like the USFS said.

  18. #16
    This from a different forum yesterday.

    mirror lake highway open

    by Kingfisher

  19. #17
    I'll be leaving within the hour and report back tonight.
    Biking, Hiking, and Fishing are life. Everything else is just fluff.

  20. #18
    Confirmed - I drove from Evanston to Pass Lake. There is about 3 ft. of snow at the highline trailhead. I didn't go over bald mountain pass, but I assume it would be doable as well. It is a pretty sad state of affairs up there. I am thinking that this may be the year that a Memorial Day backpack trip will be possible.
    Biking, Hiking, and Fishing are life. Everything else is just fluff.

  21. #19

    Uintas

    I spoke with the Kamas ranger station. They said that the mirror lake highway is now open, which is unusual for this time of year. Still they said that there is 3 to 4 ft of snow at the campgrounds around Crystal Lake. I was told that they are looking at opening the campgrounds for July 4th.

  22. #20
    I rode from Kamas to Evanston today. This picture was from Mirror Lake. Brrrrr!

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