Reids Peak (11,708 ft) is located in the High Uintas Wilderness, just off the Mirror Lake Highway. While its neighbor peak, Bald Mountain, see hundreds of hikers each summer, less than 50 people will make the Reids Peak summit each year, and for good reason. There is no trail to the summit and requires light scrambling, so it’s not a good peak for the average/newbie hiker. Typically, only experienced peak baggers are the ones looking to make the summit, and knowledge of route finding will make this hike successful.
From Kamas, Utah drive up the Mirror Lake Highway for 29 miles, and turn left into the Bald Mountain TH/Picnic area.
Here’s a driving map.
2.5 miles one way to Reids Peak
1 mile from Reids Peak to Bald Mtn
1.4 miles from Bald Mtn to TH
4.9 miles RT to complete the loop I did
Elevation gain: 1,157 ft
My time stats were 2 hours to Reids Peak, and 3.5 hours RT to complete the loop
Dog friendly? Yes, off leash.
Kid friendly? No
Fees/Permits? The Mirror Lake Highway charges a $6 fee for a 3 day pass. It’s free if you have an annual Mirror Lake Hwy or American Fork Canyon pass, or free if you have an annual National Park Pass. No permit is required.
Mountain goats on my drive up!
The Bald Mountain trailhead gets packed quickly, so it’s wise to start early not only to beat the heat but also find parking.
Turn left at the very first sign. Going right takes you to Bald Mountain, and if you do the loop I did, you’ll end up coming down from this side.
You’ll cross four bridges and will be hiking downhill.
Between 0.8-1.0 mile is where you’ll want to turn off. Anywhere in between that works to start aiming towards the Reids Peak saddle. You just want to make sure you stay out of the boulder field on the west side of Bald Mountain.
5 minutes after leaving the trail, i was met with my first rock band to get up and over. I aimed to the right, and found a really easy way up.
Above the rock band, with dark clouds making me nervous to get to the peak.
Finding more cleared pathways across the mostly flat basin.
Getting closer. It was still intimidating, but I knew as long as I took it slow I would be fine. I kept aiming towards the saddle.
For me, getting up to the saddle was harder than the actual ridge to the peak. It was super steep with loose rock, and I kept running into the low evergreen bushes. A few times I had to turn around, then find a better way up. This was one of the clearest spots to hike through.
On the saddle, looking down towards the Pass Lake TH, with Hayden Peak to the right.
Continue to the left and up the ridge. You’ll want to stay close to the ridge, but not actually on it. The rocks are loose in spots, so staying left of it is safer.
A nice look at the rock up there.
On the second small saddle along the ridge. Charlie was happy to see snow to cool off, despite it being around 60F. From here, it looked SO steep, but it’s really not that bad.
What a lot of the “trail” looks like – the typical Uinta boulders you can just step up and over.
I was surprised that as I got closer to the summit I started seeing cairns. I wasn’t planning on seeing any, but it was certainly reassuring to know I was on the right path. Mt. Watson is the rounded peak in the distance.
There were maybe 2-3 sections that Charlie needed a boost on, but otherwise could do it on his own.
On the summit! I wasn’t expecting snow at the top and started to get a little bummed out that the summit register would be buried by snow.
But as I started to walk around on the summit, I found it! There was a mailbox and this red and white light reflector. We signed it, hung out for a few minutes to check out the views.
As I zoomed in with my camera I could see people on the Bald Mountain summit. I made an impromptu decision to hike directly over to Bald Mountain. I was very familiar with the trail, as it is a peak I like to do every summer, and knew exactly how it would connect me back down to my car. Comparing the two ridges on my topo map, it seemed pretty similar to Reids Peak, so I thought, “If I can do the Reids ridge, then I can do the Bald ridge.” So I went back down to the saddle and started my way up.
Halfway up the West ridge of Bald Mountain. After looking back at my steepness profile on Gaia GPS, I could see that it was quite a bit steeper. And I felt it – I had to take several breaks just to catch my breath and take a sip of water. I was by myself and that actually made me feel better, so that I didn’t feel rushed with friends to try and keep up. I hike a lot, but I’m not fast by any means!
Approaching the over populated Bald Mountain. I bet they were wondering, “Umm, where did you come from?” LOL! There were close to 30 people up there.
Once we reached Bald Mountain, we followed the actual trail back down to the car, creating a big loop close to 5 miles and 1900 ft elevation gain.
But wait, there’s more….after we completed this loop Charlie and I then bagged Murdock Mountain and the Murdock West Slope (Wasatch County High Point)!
My route for the day. I hiked up Reids Peak first, went back down to the saddle, up the West ridge of Bald Mountain, then down the Bald Mountain trail, making a clockwise loop back to my car.
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