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Uinta Highline Trail 2017

This was the third year my brother, Andrew, and I decided to go for an approximately week-long hike, the week before Labor Day Weekend.

After researching many options we decided that Uinta Highline Trail would be a great option.

We had read that the Uinta Mountains include some of the most contiguous above treeline terrain in the lower 48. We were able to find a few trip reports, but the trail appeared to be lightly traveled.

Here is a map with the gps track from our Inreach.

Here are helpful resources to help plan a hike on the Highline Trail:
PMags trip report and trail info
Trailgroove Article
Backpacker Magazine article
Youtube daily video series
Ultimate Uintas Traverse-ideas for alternate routes and a great caltopo map

The biggest logistical challenge is coordinating a ride from one end of the trail to the other.  We used Wilkins Bus Lines.

One consideration with the Highline Trail is that most people don't understand the distance of the entire trail. Officially the entire trail is between Hayden Pass and Highway 191 (~105 miles).  Many people aren't aware that the trail continues east of the Leidy Peak Trailhead. We decided to hike the entire trail with a few alternates from east to west.  The eastern section wasn't as dramatic but still gave us a perspective of the Uintas and as we progressed west the dramatic scenery did as well.  Now that I've finished the hike I wonder if possibly forming a large loop might be more scenic and easier logistically, but it was still worthwhile to hike the entire trail.

See below for daily trip reports:

Day One: Highway 191 to East Park Reservoir

Day Two: East Park Reservoir to Summit Park

Day Three: Summit Park to Chepeta Lake

Day Four: Chepeta Lake to Bowden Lake

Day Five: Bowden Lake to Yellowstone Creek

Day Six: Yellowstone Creek to Lake Fork River

Day Seven: Lake Fork River to Triangle Lake

Day Eight: Triangle Lake to Brooks Lake

Day Nine: Brooks Lake to Hayden Pass Trailhead


  1. I love your information and trip reports. I'm also glad you love the Uintas. You might also like to join the High Uinta Lovers page at Facebook. If I can post a link here, here it is:

  2. Love the video! I'm planning to do most of this hike the first week of September 2018. I did the John Muir around the same time last year, but this is a totally different environment. How were the bugs? Was bug spray enough to keep them way or did you have to wear a bug net near the lakes? Also, I know the nighttime temps were related to your elevation, but about how cold was it each night? What is/was your bag rated and was it sufficient. Most importantly, how did you get to/from the trailheads? I'll be coming from South Carolina and have no idea what the shuttle situation is like out west. Sorry to pester you with questions, but there's not much information out there about this trail.

    1. Thanks Chad! It's a great trail. The trail stays high most of the time so there aren't as many big climbs as the JMT, but there more passes/mile. There were hardly any bugs when we went. I don't remember using bug spray. I don't think it was ever below freezing at night but there is the possibility. I was fine with a 30 degree bag with a liner. It seemed warmer than the JMT when I did it in Aug 2011, but weather is unpredictable. There was some hail when we were near King's Peak. We used Wilkins Bus lines for the shuttle (see link above). Rented a car and left it at the trailhead and had the shuttle driver pick us up from there and take us to our starting point. If you want to avoid having to take a shuttle, there are many options to create a large loop if you study a map. I think we found map suggestions from the PMags article linked above. Let me know if any questions. I found the Uintas to feel a lot less crowded than the JMT but still very scenic!

  3. Hi Eric,
    Thanks a lot for your report! I just wanted to ask you a coulple of questions. I’m a european PhD student; I will come to Utah for a conference and, after that, I thought of hiking the Uinta highline. First question: it will probably be a solo adventure: do you think it’s too risky? Second, are there cougar and/or bears? If yes, do they tend to attack humans? and how should I behave if I meet one?

    I’ve been doing mountaneering on the Alps, and there there are no big predators, hence I’m really unexperience with this type of wildlife! Sorry if my questions are silly :)!

    Actually, here’s a third one, related to the first one: I guess there won’t be any mobile signal up there. Should I get a GPS phone?

    Thanks again!

    1. Thanks Michele! Utah has lots of possibilities! What you decide to do might depend on what time of year you are going. The Highline Trail is a beautiful trail, but can still be snowy depending on time of year. You may also want to consider exploring some of Utah's National Parks, which have very unique scenery. Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, etc. It does get hot in the summer and they can get quite crowded. I haven't had a chance to do much backpacking in these national parks but there are many options if you do some research. Day hiking is great as well. Gets hot in the summer! Would need to be careful not to run out of water.

      You shouldn't have issues with wildlife in Utah. You can probably just hang your food and be ok.

      Some type of SOS device would be best as there typically isn't cell service and you're traveling solo.

      Have a great adventure! Let me know if you have any other questions!


  4. Hi Eric,

    thanks a lot for your advice! Really useful. Just one more question. Being from Europe, I don't have a health insurance. Do you know of any such insurance which covers things such as mountaineering?




About Me

I've been born and raised in the great state of Michigan. I recently graduated from physical therapy school. I enjoy being active, playing sports, and running. Backpacking has become a great interest as it is a physical challenge that provides many rewarding views and experiences. I strive to make a difference in the lives of those encounter in every day life, on the trail, or even just on this blog. May God bless each of you. Now go find an adventure! It's only a few feet away!