Naturalist Basin Trail

Kamas, Utah

4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
2 Reviews
4 out of 5
The High Uintas are famous for their gorgeous alpine basins, but none of them can beat the memorable scenery of Naturalist Basin. In my opinion, this small collection of lakes and meadows, nestled together against the southern slopes of Mount Agassiz and Spread Eagle Peak, is the crown jewel of the High Uintas Wilderness Area. Unfortunately, Naturalist Basin is also one of the most popular backpacking destinations in the High Uintas, so if you are looking for solitude you had better choose another hike. Five icy lakes cling tenaciously to the talus slopes in the top of the basin, just below the 11,000-foot contour line and just above timberline. Hiking across the stark, sparsely vegetated terrain that separates the small lakes can be an almost otherworldly experience. It is an environment where most life ceases to exist during the wintertime, but during the two or three months of summer a few dormant species suddenly burst forth to quickly mature and reproduce before the arctic cold again forces them into submission. By the end of July, after most of the snow has melted, the thin, rocky soil is usually covered with a colorful carpet of tiny blossoms as the hardy plants begin another cycle of their precarious existence.
Utah's Incredible Backcountry Trails

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Utah's Incredible Backcountry Trails

by David Day (Rincon Publishing)

The High Uintas are famous for their gorgeous alpine basins, but none of them can beat the memorable scenery of Naturalist Basin. In my opinion, this small collection of lakes and meadows, nestled together against the southern slopes of Mount Agassiz and Spread Eagle Peak, is the crown jewel of the High Uintas Wilderness Area. Unfortunately, Naturalist Basin is also one of the most popular backpacking destinations in the High Uintas, so if you are looking for solitude you had better choose another hike.

Five icy lakes cling tenaciously to the talus slopes in the top of the basin, just below the 11,000-foot contour line and just above timberline. Hiking across the stark, sparsely vegetated terrain that separates the small lakes can be an almost otherworldly experience. It is an environment where most life ceases to exist during the wintertime, but during the two or three months of summer a few dormant species suddenly burst forth to quickly mature and reproduce before the arctic cold again forces them into submission. By the end of July, after most of the snow has melted, the thin, rocky soil is usually covered with a colorful carpet of tiny blossoms as the hardy plants begin another cycle of their precarious existence.

©  David Day/Rincon Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Kamas
Distance: 17.6
Elevation Gain: 1,370 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Duration: 10.75 hours
Season: Midsummer through mid-fall
Trailhead Elevation: 10,350 feet
Top Elevation: 10,350 feet
Local Contacts: Kamas Ranger District, Wasatch-Cache National Forest, High Uintas Wilderness Area
Local Maps: Hayden Peak (USGS)
Driving Directions: Directions to Naturalist Basin Trail

Recent Trail Reviews

7/28/2010
0

This trail is lovely, however, there are lots of horses on the trail, at least the first few miles. I would have given it another star if it wasn't open to horses. I spent the day dodging horse poop.


9/1/2009
0

I hesitate to give such a positive review and thus spoil the sublime solitude found here. We found the Naturalist Basin to be remarkably pristine. No trail is even decernible between several of the high lakes on the loop. We encountered only one other hiker on a prime august day. The trail into the basin from Mirror Lake is used heavily by horses and has suffered the reprecussions (rocky, dusty, smelly, with flies) though otherwise well maintained.



Trail Photos

Keep Me Informed

Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from Trails.com to your inbox.

Sign me up!

We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.

Activity Feed

Apr 2018