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hiking Naturalist Basin, Utah

Posted Sep 02 2010 12:00am

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

… Naturalist Basin is a multi-tiered wonderland of lakes and alpine scenery. Nestled between two 12,000+ foot peaks (Agassiz 12,428′ and Spread Eagle 12,540′), in the western end of the main 100 mile Uinta spine, Naturalist Basin is one of the quicker routes to get into the wilderness experience of the Uinta Mountain Range. …

The High Uintas Wilderness near Salt Lake City is convenient for backcountry camping. And horse camping.

Naturalist Basin, Utah

Perhaps too convenient:

… extremely popular, over-fishing, destructive camping and too many campfires have taken their toll on some of the purity in the area, but it remains an incredible treasure just the same. The Forest Service has now permanently banned campfires in Naturalist Basin, and has shut down many campsites, especially around the first meadow in Naturalist Basin. …

Of the 545 miles of trail, I decided on the Highline Trail trailhead near Butterfly Lake.

The approach was somewhat dull, actually, tree-locked. The creeks were the highlight.

Naturalist Basin, Utah

Here’s why we like it. High alpine meadows.

Naturalist Basin, Utah

There are a number of pretty lakes, high up. My map wasn’t detailed enough to name them.

Naturalist Basin, Utah

That one might be Blue Lake.

End of August, the summer was clearly dying.

Naturalist Basin, Utah

This was as high as I could get without scrambling to one of the summits.

Naturalist Basin, Utah

more photos from this day hike

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