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Backpacking to Rainbow Bridge National Monument

Rainbow Bridge National Monument sits within Lake Powell on the Utah side, and although is one of the largest natural bridges in the world, this national monument is one of the smallest managed by the National Park Service. Rainbow Bridge itself stands 290 ft tall from the base to the top of the arch, and is 275 ft across, making it nearly as tall as the Statue of Liberty. The most popular way to access Rainbow Bridge is via boat on Lake Powell. You can take a boat tour to this area, then walk 1 mile to the bridge. This is a very expensive option, but again, the most popular. If you are looking for more of an adventure, plan to backpack the 15 mile trail instead.


Backpacking Halls Creek Narrows, Capitol Reef National Park

Hiking Halls Creek Narrows is located within Capitol Reef National Park, only a few miles North from Lake Powell. This area of the park sits between the high cliffs of Hall Mesa on the East, and the Waterpocket Fold on the West. As you backpack towards Halls Creek Drainage (aka Grand Gulch), you'll be surrounded by red, white, and orange slick rock, all while hiking through a mostly sandy trail. The trail is easy to follow, and you can't really get lost as you aim South for 9.3 miles. However, there are plenty of side slot canyons to explore as well.

Backpacking Fish & Owl Canyons, Cedar Mesa & Bears Ears National Monument

Fish and Owl Canyons, located in the Cedar Mesa area of Bears Ears National Monument, is a popular loop hike for backpackers looking to discover ancient ruins and kivas, hike through desert terrain, visit Neville's Arch, and explore two scenic, deep canyons. This area is recommended for intermediate to advanced backpackers due to the distance, rugged terrain, light route finding and scrambling.

Backpacking to Teal Lake & Mt. Marsell, Uintas

Teal Lake sits at an elevation of 10,400 ft, and is accessed via the popular Ruth Lake Trailhead. You will follow this trail for the first mile, and then after that there is no trail. You should be comfortable with a little route finding, and hiking off trail. The nice thing is that Teal Lake is a mere 2.2 miles, so you really only have to hike off trail for 1.2 miles. You'll pass a few unnamed ponds, Jewel & Naomi Lakes, then reach Teal Lake. There are several nice campsites at Teal Lake, and fishing is plentiful.

Gilbert Lake is located in the High Uintas Wilderness on the East end of the range, with Gilbert Peak (13,442 ft) being one of Utah's "13ers" (a peak above 13,000 ft). It is the 3rd highest peak in the state, and the second highest county high point, and can be access by several drainages, with Henry's Fork being the most popular, however we accessed it from Gilbert Lake. The trail to Gilbert Lake follows the West Beaver Creek trail for 9.2 miles before reaching the basin which has four lakes total, great campsites, lots of wildlife, and of course, fairly "easy" access to the peak.

Backpacking to Mt. Hooker & Baptiste Lake, Wind River Range

Mt. Hooker (12,509ft) is located in the Southern end of the Wind River Range in Wyoming, and is home to a popular climbing route. The face of the wall is a sheer 1,800 ft granite face - it's one of the tallest and steepest vertical cliffs in Wyoming, and also 16 miles from the nearest road. Mt. Hooker is named after Joseph Dalton Hooker, a prominent British botanist and explorer. The granite face was first climbed in 1964, which took over 3 days to complete. The climb is rated at a 5.14a. Mt. Hooker towers over Baptiste Lake, a very deep and clear alpine lake which offers great camping sites and fishing.

Backpacking to Round, Sand, & Fish Lakes, Uintas

Round, Sand, and Fish Lakes are part of the upper Weber River drainage on the Western end of the Uinta Mountains. The trail steeply follows the Dry Fork stream and canyon, as it makes it way to the three lakes. Camping and fishing are plentiful here. Round Lake is actually home to three species of fish (somewhat unheard of  in the Uintas, as there are typically only two species in the lakes). There are Grayling, Brook, and Cutthroat Trout. Further ahead is Fish Lake, which can vary in depth by 19 feet, depending on the snow year and dam levels. Plenty of day hiking options are available too, as most day hikers try to reach the ridge for better views. This route is kid and dog friendly!

Backpacking to Allsop Lake, Uintas

Allsop Lake sits on the Northern slope of the High Uintas Wilderness at an elevation of 10,600 ft. It's 9 miles to the lake, so it makes for a perfect 1 or 2-night backpacking trip. The trail is fairly mellow, only gaining 1,600 ft and has one switchback. Allsop Lake is full of brook and tiger trout, and there are a few day hiking options from the lake as well including Cathedral Peak, Allsop Peak, and Yard Peak. This trail is dog friendly, however be aware that free-range livestock graze along the entire route. Plenty of tent and hammock sites line the lake for a perfect campsite. Keep in mind that the Uintas have regular afternoon thunderstorms, so be prepared for any kind of weather.

Backpacking to Dead Horse Lake, Uintas

Dead Horse Lake is in the High Uintas Wilderness, and offers an 11 mile hike through large, open meadows, stunning vistas, and of course, leads you to a turquoise lake. This lake offers a great spot for fishing and day hiking. People hiking the Uinta Highline Trail also pass right by Dead Horse Lake. It's a dog friendly trail, though you'll want to give the sheep herds passing by in the meadows plenty of space. Bring your hammock or tent - there are several nice campsites around the lake and plenty of trees for shade. Be sure to check fire restrictions before heading out.

Backpacking the Shingle Creek Trail, Uintas


The Shingle Creek Trail in the High Uintas is a popular trail for an "early season" trail for hikers and backpackers to follow when the higher elevations haven't thawed out from winter. I have driven past this trail so many times, yet had never done it - until now! I decided to head up for one night with two friends and our destination was South Erickson Lake. East Shingle Creek Lake is more popular, but a little lower in elevation, and seemed to have more mosquitos so we wanted to keep going.