We set up camp overlooking the valley, the pass, and the sparkling lakes and forest. The evening was clear and sunny, but, of course, we knew that wouldn’t last. It rained during the night, and we got up at 4:30 am in heavy rain. We were on the trail shortly after five, with our headlamps and ponchos, still in the rain. But don’t worry, by the time it got light, the sky was blue, and we could see the departing storm drift slowly away over the peaks. The sunrise was amazing!
From Gunsight Pass, there is a cutoff trail that goes up to the right. It is steep and rocky, but it saves a lot of time and distance. From there we crossed the rocky valley to Anderson Pass and turned up the ridge toward the peak. It’s quite a distance through the rocks from the pass to the summit and you gain a lot of altitudes. But there’s nothing cooler than standing on the highest point in the state.
We reached the summit about 10:30 am. From there you can see the entire mountain range spread out beneath you. Bare, rocky, peaks, and valleys carpeted with dark green forest. The view is more than worth every step.
The timing for reaching the peak is critical. Be sure to start early and summit early because of the weather. By noon thunderstorms were moving in again. Lightning, hail, and rain are dangerous at that high altitude, and in the rocky exposed terrain. We hurried down again. The hail turned the entire valley white for a little while.
On our return trip, we took the valley trail, and it took us a lot longer to get back to the Gunsight Pass. I vote for the shortcut next time. It was just after four when we reached our camp again. We packed up and started hiking out just after five. By eight we were using our headlamps again. It had rained enough to make the trail muddy and filled with some impressive puddles. We continued on down the valley. The stars came out, and they were spectacular.
We reached the trailhead about 11 pm. And we unanimously voted to stay one more night next time. Either way, I loved it, and I can’t wait to see more of the Uintahs.