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Dispersed camping in the Uintas ADVICE???


Original Post
Zak Brunner · · Orem, Utah · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 0

Hello, I recently moved to Utah and am looking for a bit of guidance. I have done plenty of camping in my time in campsites as well as in the wilderness. The problem that I have run into is I have never planned a dispersed camp trip for myself. I am looking to plan a trip for the springtime and I would like to dispersed camp but I don't know where the best area of the Uintas would be. I do not wish to do anything crazy. I want to do a 2-night campout that requires a little bit of hiking in to get to but no more than 3-4 miles. There would be 2 of us. I have an idea of how I want the trip to go but I worry that I will plan a trip based on maps and when I get there it will not be as nice of a place to be. I would like to be secluded and I would prefer to be close to either a river or a stream. I guess what I am trying to ask is, is there any advice you guys would give in planning the trip and anything that I should be aware of that is different from normal camping. I know that there is another set of rules and I have visited the national forest website and have gone over that but is there anything that will help my adventure go smoothly and be loads of fun? Thank you all for any advice or help I greatly appreciate it.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65

Zak Brunner wrote:

Hello, I recently moved to Utah and am looking for a bit of guidance. I have done plenty of camping in my time in campsites as well as in the wilderness. The problem that I have run into is I have never planned a dispersed camp trip for myself. I am looking to plan a trip for the springtime and I would like to dispersed camp but I don't know where the best area of the Uintas would be. I do not wish to do anything crazy. I want to do a 2-night campout that requires a little bit of hiking in to get to but no more than 3-4 miles. There would be 2 of us. I have an idea of how I want the trip to go but I worry that I will plan a trip based on maps and when I get there it will not be as nice of a place to be. I would like to be secluded and I would prefer to be close to either a river or a stream. I guess what I am trying to ask is, is there any advice you guys would give in planning the trip and anything that I should be aware of that is different from normal camping. I know that there is another set of rules and I have visited the national forest website and have gone over that but is there anything that will help my adventure go smoothly and be loads of fun? Thank you all for any advice or help I greatly appreciate it.

When in the springtime? Snowpack and road closure will dictate a lot, depending on when.

Zak Brunner · · Orem, Utah · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 0

I would be planning on late spring early summer, that time. I thought that was a good time right when the snow is melting and it is warm during the days but not too hot or anything like that. I do not want to have to deal with much snow if any as I do not want to hike or camp on snow.

Alex L · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 0

It won't really ever be "hot" in the Uintas, even July and August are really nice, but there are mosquitos around then.  Depending on snow, the road could stay closed into June anyway, but the way this year's going it could be sooner.  Notch Lake is a good mellow hike with some cool camp spots.

sean o · · Northern, NM · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 20

The high Uintas kind of suck in late spring and early summer, between the slush-bog below treeline earlier, and the mosquitos later.  You'll have more fun heading south in late May / early June.

sevrdhed · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2006 · Points: 155

I've been camping in the Uintas every year for the 4th of July (my birthday) for the past 12 years now. Only once during that time have I been unable to camp comfortably up there that weekend due to snow (2011, there was still 40 inches). Last year there was a lot of campgrounds still closed, mainly above Trial lake.

I'd recommend picking a weekend in late June or early July. Keep an eye on the snowpack to make sure. You can find snowpack info here: http://bit.ly/2mbfW3z 

For seclusion, you can generally be pretty secluded if you get away from the road a little ways. There's a bajillion random lakes and streams all over the place. Look around the map for places off of highway 150 and pick a spot that's a mile or two from a parking lot or trailhead. You probably wont see another person. Enjoy!

J Saarela · · Park City · Joined May 2015 · Points: 195

+1 for Notch Lake. Bring your climbing shoes and check out the DWS lines out there. If you're so inclined there are some established trad and sport lines up there as well. 

Zak Brunner · · Orem, Utah · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 0

So as the winter has progressed more I am interested if the season will be here sooner than expected. I am itching to get out. Do y'all think that there will be any good camping and hiking to be had as soon as late March? If I am reading the chart that sevrdhed linked correctly, there are only like 40 inches right now. How long before the trails open up? I may be jumping the gun but since the skiing/snowboarding season was not too great this year I have been feeling a little cooped up. Also, The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forests Headquarters is not too far from where I live do y'all think that they would have more pertinent information regarding what the best places would be to disperse camp and when the best time would be. I don't know if helping with that sort of thing is something that they would be able to do or if that is even part of what they do at the headquarters and I do not wish to inconvenience them or anything like that. Sorry for the late response. I am new to the forum so it made me wait like a week to post again and then I was busy working. Thank you all for your advice that you have given and any advice you might give in the future.

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 14,479

Mirror Lake Highway won't open up until at least Memorial Day at the earliest.   Even with low snowpack, they don't usually open the road early.

You could camp, in a dispersed manner if you wanted, anywhere from the car that you could hike to (barring private land).  Late March there will still be snow.

Go south.  The swell isn't that far.  Plenty of options there.

Eric Chabot · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 35

bugs will be heinous

Zak Brunner · · Orem, Utah · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 0

I know this isn't as much for the Northern Utah/Idaho side of things but would Fishlake National Forest be good that time of the year? It is more south. 

If you do not mind me asking Brian, what do you mean by The Swell?

sean o · · Northern, NM · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 20

Zak Brunner wrote:

I know this isn't as much for the Northern Utah/Idaho side of things but would Fishlake National Forest be good that time of the year?

Fishlake has a lot of relief, so the lower parts should be okay in late March, especially in a dry year.  Based on an April visit a few years ago, I imagine the high country would still be pretty snowy and cold.

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 14,479

Zak Brunner wrote:

I know this isn't as much for the Northern Utah/Idaho side of things but would Fishlake National Forest be good that time of the year? It is more south. 

If you do not mind me asking Brian, what do you mean by The Swell?

Fishlake is pretty high.  The San Rafael Swell is a lot lower.  Be a lot warmer (and less snowy).

http://sanrafaelswellguide.com/camping/


Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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