Thursday, July 11, 2013

Accessible Uinta Peaks

INTRODUCTION
The Uintas trend east-west and offer beautiful scenery, remote wilderness, and the highest peaks in Utah.  The Mirror Lake Highway crosses the western Uintas from Kamas, UT over Bald Mountain Pass down to Evanston, WY.  Other than this highway, access to most peaks is limited and requires several miles of approach hiking.  However, there is a handful of high peaks along the Mirror Lake Highway that are accessible within a day.

1. Bald Mountain (11,947 ft.) 
This is one of the more popular hikes in the Uintas, and for good reason. The peak is only 2 miles from Bald Mountain Pass along the Mirror Lake Highway and there is a well-maintained trail all the way to the summit.  Additionally, the views are spectacular in all directions.
Proof.  This is me over looking Mirror Lake from the top of Bald Mountain.


2. Reids Peak (11,708 ft.)
Reids Peak is Bald Mountain's western neighbor.  It is lower than Bald Mountain but it requires some scrambling and route-finding skills that the well-maintained trail to Bald Mountain does not.  You are unlikely to see anyone on this peak despite its proximity to Mirror Lake Highway.  Many choose to link up Bald Mountain and Reids Peak into a single day - and is very doable.     

3. Mount Agassiz (12,428 ft.)
Mount Agassiz is on the ridge line east of the Mirror Lake Highway.  This hike is 7 miles round trip and starts at the Highline Trailhead.  Follow the trail until you find a point where you are closest to the peak, where you leave the trail and head towards the east face of Agassiz.  It is a direct, difficult hike.  

4. Hayden Peak (12,479 ft.)
Hayden Peak is located on the eastern side of Mirror Lake Highway and has a rocky, nobby summit block.  There is no trail to the peak, which provides challenging, exposed scrambling.  Start at the Highline Trailhead off the Mirror Lake Highway and head due east (do not follow the trail) to a saddle on the south ridge and then follow the rocky ridge to the summit.  

5. Kletting Peak 

6. A-1 Peak

7. Notch Peak

8. Mount Watson

9. Haystack Mountain