Read about my complete Uinta Highline Trail experience, including prep, gear, logistics, and post-hike impressions.
The very first day of our trip was dedicated to travel. We left home a little before 2:00 am ET and didn’t get to our AirBnB in Salt Lake City until 6:00 pm MT. That’s 16 hours captive to logistics. The next morning was the first real day of our Uinta Highline Trail (UHT) section-hike, and it featured around 6 hours of driving. We drove the 90 minutes to Hayden Pass and parked the rental car. Our shuttle driver picked us up and drove us another 4½ hours to Chepeta Lake.
The drive was ominous. Everything was beautiful, but it took a little longer than we planned. A hailstorm blasted the van on the way up the mountain. Fortunately, it let up as we started our hike. We hoped to get 6–8 miles in before sunset, leading to 12-mile days over the remaining 5 days, but that was not to be.
Right from the start, the landscape was captivating. We went a little slow, taking pictures of too many things, but it was a lot of fun. We made it the few miles to the base of North Pole Pass when the weather turned again. I considered trying to get up and over the mountain before the weather got really bad, but I eventually decided it was simply too risky to be above the tree line in a potential lightning storm.
We scrambled to find a spot big enough for a tent. I’m not exaggerating. We looked for about 20 minutes. The ground looks grassy from far away, but it’s absolutely riddled with boulders. We settled for a spot with inoffensive rocks for the tent and I scrambled down to Taylor Lake to get water for the night and the big climb the next morning.
It started hailing/sleeting/raining on my way back up the hill and I jumped inside the tent as soon as possible. The excessive thunder and lightning confirmed that we were right to stay below the mountain pass. The rain let up just long enough to cook one Mountain House dinner. When it started pouring again, we did what you’re never supposed to do—eat inside the tent.
The tent was heavily condensated from a combination of rain on the outside and two people’s breath on the inside. Every time our heads or feet touched the single-walled tent, we got more wet. It made for a pretty miserable night.
Watch the video
Follow in our virtual footsteps as we hike a section of the Uinta Highline Trail. Watch the entire video or jump ahead to specific days. You can find more information to help you plan your own UHT hike at cchikes.com/UHT18.