Backpacking Kane Gulch and Bullet Canyons are two popular routes in Bears Ears National Monument within Cedar Mesa, that require at least one night camping. This area is a mecca of ancient ruins and petroglyphs, deep within the canyon walls. Back in the day you wouldn't see people for days, however, with the increase of outdoor activities due to COVID you now can't go more than 2 miles without seeing other groups. This is not the area for solitude. Oh yeah, and there's another big issue...water.
Here's how to Get your dog ready for their first backpacking trip! Backpacking is one of my absolute favorite activities to do in Summer, especially since Utah has some amazing backcountry. But what really makes is great is that Charlie gets to comes along, and having him there just makes it so fun, I get a snuggle buddy, I feel like I have a protector, and I love that we get to explore new terrain together. Backpacking with dogs is awesome and whether you've been backpacking for years and just got a new dog, or maybe you've been a team for awhile and want to start together here are my tips to get going!
Hell Hole Lake (HHL) is located in the High Uintas Wilderness, and is a beautiful alpine lake surrounded by a bowl of mountains, including A-1 Peak and Kletting Peak. After a 3.5 mile walk along the road, the route follows the Main Fork Bear River Trail. The entire route is very gradual, only gaining 1,700 ft over 6.7 miles. The best time of year to hike/backpack this area is late Summer through Fall. This particular lake is part of a larger marsh, so the mosquitoes in summer are some of the worst in the entire Uintas range. Elk, coyotes, deer, and moose love this area as well because of this - plenty to eat and drink! Dogs are allowed off leash, but it is wise to always have a leash handy in case you come across wildlife.
Backpacking the Alice Toxaway Loopis one of the most popular routes in the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho. The main loop can be done in either direction and is 18 miles RT. Many people choose to do this in one day, others 2 nights, 3 days, or what we did - 5 nights, 6 days! There really are endless possibilities for however long you want to stay. This route passes through giant forests, tall, sharp peaks, steams, and of course, several lakes with the two most popular being Alice Lake and Toxaway Lake. Because we had a whole week, we not only did the main loop but also ventured over to Edna Lake and Imogene Lake plus bagged a small, unnamed peak.
Backpacking to Beaver & Coffin Lakes are part of the Middle Beaver Basin and trail, and sit at just over 10K in elevation. The Middle Beaver trail is about 7 miles to reach Beaver Lake, and just over 8 miles to Coffin Lake - the trail is constantly hiking up and down in elevation. Over two full days we only saw a total of five hikers, and only two of them were backpacking so if you're looking for some peace and quiet, this is the lake for you. We also saw a lot of wildlife, and the water in both lakes is very clear. Older kids can definitely hike this, as well as dogs used to hiking more than 6-7 miles in one way. While this can be done in one day, I recommend backpacking here to take it all in!
Backpacking to Abes Lake is located in the Uinta Mountains, and sits and an elevation of 9800 ft. The trail follows the Middle Fork of the Weber River for the first 3 miles, then take a sharp left turn where the trail gains 1200 ft in just 1.2 miles before reaching the lake. The trail gets very hot in the middle of summer, and the dirt trail can get too hot for dogs' paws and potentially yourself.
The Best Backpacking Trips in the Uintas are just around the corner from Salt Lake City, not more than a few hours drive! The best parts about backpacking in the Uintas are that there is plenty of shade, water, a mix of level and steep trails, plus dogs are allowed off leash! There's something for everyone, so check out these trips below! Not ranked in any order, click the title of each trip to learn more. Be sure to use a tracking app such as Gaia GPS (my personal fav!) and/or a paper map so you don't get lost.
Naturalist Basin is located in the High Uintas Wilderness, and home to several lakes including the popular Blue Lake and Jordan Lake. Because Jordan Lake is only 6.5 miles one way, this makes for a great backpacking destination or a bigger day hike! There are plenty of campsites to choose from, from all lakes in the area and plenty of day hiking options if you decide to camp in this area. For this trip I did two shorter day hikes since I camped 3 nights - a day hike to Shaler Lake and another to Spread Eagle Peak (12,540 ft). You could also explore some of the other lakes like LeConte, Walcot, and Everman lakes.
Hiking to Havasu Falls is not your typical day hike - it requires a 10 mile trek through the desert, a large canyon, and finally through the small village of Supai, AZ. The people of Supai are apart of the Havasupai tribe, which is an American Indian tribe that has lived in this area of the canyon for the past 800 years. Havasu means "blue-green water", and pai means "people". Havasu Falls is one of the most well-known waterfalls in the world due to its paradise-like location.
Getting a permit to Havasupai Falls is the first step in your adventure to the beautiful, turquoise falls, but how do you get one? And how far in advance? What about group size? These are all questions I hear all the time when it comes to wanting to travel to Havasu & Mooney Falls. I'll fill you in on some secrets, tips, and the know-how so you can have the best waterfall adventure yet!