backpacking High Uintas Wilderness

A campsite in Painter Basin, below 13,538-foot Kings Peak (right) in Utah's High Uintas Wilderness.

Backpacking Utah’s High Uintas Wilderness—A Photo Gallery

By Michael Lanza

Early on the third morning of a six-day hike through Utah’s High Uintas Wilderness, I walked to the shore of the Fourth Chain Lake at 10,900 feet, where we had camped. Its waters sat absolutely still, offering up a perfect, inverted reflection of the mountains. By that afternoon, we reached 11,700-foot Trail Rider Pass, our second high pass of the day, with a view that took the edge off our weariness. Behind us, the valley of Lake Atwood, which we had hiked up, stretched for miles; ahead lay our destination, Painter Basin (photo above), an expansive, almost barren plateau at 11,000 feet below the highest peak in Utah, Kings Peak.

In those first three days of hiking, we encountered a grand total of two other people.

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A backpacker hiking Uinta River Trail 44 in Painter Basin below 13,538-foot Kings Peak (right), High Uintas Wilderness, Utah.

Tall and Lonely: Backpacking Utah’s High Uintas Wilderness

By Michael Lanza As we get ready to cook dinner at our campsite on the edge of meadow and open forest a couple minutes’ walk from the shore of the Fourth Chain Lake, at 10,900 feet in Utah’s High Uintas Wilderness, the sound of approaching voices prompts all four of us to look up in surprise. It’s our second evening …

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