Backpacking the Uintas, Day 2: Four Lakes Basin to Wilder Lake

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Backpacking the Uintas Highline Trail, Wilder Lake

After a slightly disastrous yesterday in the Uintas, the whole hiking crew decided to alter trip plans once again. We were going to start the hike out and camp at a lake off a side trail. It was three miles from our current location at Four Lakes Basin to the destination, Wilder Lake. What could go wrong?

Backpacking the Uintas Highline Trail, Wilder Lake

We woke up at a leisurely hour. After most of the group hiked 12+ miles the previous day and being the extreme flatlanders that we were, we opted to sleep in. Our day was going to be short. We had all the time in the world. We packed up camp and hit the trail around 9 or 10. Our destination was Packard Lake.

Backpacking the Uintas Highline Trail, Wilder Lake

We never made it there. I spent the majority of my time on the trail with Rozanne. She, Jes and I had gotten a head start in front of the guys. We hit a stride. We were making good time. We somehow managed to pass the turnoff for the trail to Packard Lake. Jes, who’d breezed past us, came back to say we’d missed it. We turned around and started hiking back. Meanwhile, Jeff and Kovas took the correct turn and were waiting at Wilder Lake.

Backpacking the Uintas Highline Trail, Wilder Lake

Rozanne and I retraced our steps and found the little trail. It was marked by a cairn, but the sign wasn’t so obvious. We just didn’t see it on our way out. We followed the trail downhill, commenting on how much of a pain it might be to hike all the way up and out tomorrow. We found Jeff, Kovas and Jes at Wilder Lake in the most picturesque campsite.

Backpacking the Uintas Highline Trail, Wilder Lake

Situated between a meadow, a lake, and a stream, complete with a fire pit, it seemed like a fantastic place to stop. Some of the group was still struggling with the altitude, so pushing further to Packard Lake didn’t seem like a good idea. Since we’d arrived at camp by 1pm, we had plenty of time to kill. We spent the rest of the day wandering, looking for fish, wishing we had fishing poles, and listening to country music.

On day one of our Uintas Hike, we took the Highline Trail to Four Lakes Basin. On day two of our Uintas Hike, we retraced our steps from Wilder Lake back to the Highline Trailhead.

Backpacking the Uintas Highline Trail, Wilder Lake

Gear: Arc’teryx Kea 45 pack (similar), Norrøna bitihorn lightweight pants, Mountain Hardwear Plasmic Jacket, Pivotte touring tank, Woolx Basecamp Hoodie, Merrell Capra Bolt Mid GTX Hiking Boot, Adidas Outdoor Flyloft Jacket, Black Diamond Ultra Distance Trekking Poles, Sunski Dipseas, Chaco Z/Cloud X2 sandals, Cloudline medium cushion hiking socks

Many thanks to our sponsors: Bounce Balls, Catalyst Case, Cloudline, Enerplex, Lawson Hammocks, LifeStraw, Merrell, Mountain House, Opinel, Oxygen Plus, TravelChair, Simple Squares and SoulCare by CCC.

Visit Chronic Climber Chick, Midwest Basecamp, Missouri Howell, Mountain Matron, and Raw Trails for different perspectives on the trip.

Last updated on December 4, 2017.


  1. Going up that hill the next morning wasn’t so bad.

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