Lone Peak Wilderness Area/Wasatch National Forest
Near Draper UT outside of Salt Lake City
Activity: Backpacking for Camping or Day Hike
Date: August 4-6, 2019
Distance: Trailhead to Red Pine Lake round trip 7 miles, (if you add Upper Red Pine Lake and secret falls 10 total miles), elevation change: 2,100’ (if you add the second lake perhaps another 500’), rated: Hard
Red Pine Lake Trail is one of the top 10 backpacking destinations in Utah. It did not disappoint. It seemed like the hiking I have done around Southern California was leading to this. It was really spectacular. The trail was steep, hard and a workout. Most people did it as a day hike and obviously not hauling a heavy back would make a big difference, but staying on the lake at night was so special that I stayed two nights.
When I arrived on a Sunday late afternoon I was able to find a spot to park despite how popular this hike is mostly because people were finishing their hike about the time I was arriving. So I had to push myself harder than I wanted so that I would arrive before dark. Well, being steep with a large elevation gain and at a fairly high altitude it was taking longer than I planned.
I was close to my destination, but now it was dark, and my newest headlamp’s batteries were too low to give me any assistance. I pulled out my backup and it was an old model and didn’t help much either. I have a nice backpacking lantern and that was going to have to do. I arrived at the lake in pitch dark and was unsure of a place to camp. Lucky for me I could see a couple headlamps around part of the lake and I headed in that directions. I met a couple nice young men whom were also there for the first time and the pointed out a good place to pitch my tent. On this Sunday night we had the place to our selves.
I got settled in for the night and about an hour or so later I could see and hear the approaching storm. It wasn’t long before we were feeling the wrath of nature with a intense thunderstorm, strong wind, lightning and thunder, and it rained for about an hour. I could hear my neighbors talking amongst themselves, “What do you want to do pack it in and head home?” The more experienced of the two told him the only concern that he had was the trees overhead and either a bolt hitting them or perhaps the winds bringing down a limb. He decide that the tree was okay and we all road out the storm just fine.
The next morning I hiked up through the woods, as far as I could, and across a boulder field to a ridge above. I have been given a tip by a fit young couple that were day hikers. They knew the area well and said to check out the second lake, Upper Red Pine Lake. There were several little amazing alpine lakes up there at the 10,000’ level and I was so thankful for the advice.
I worked my way down from above taking a little different route down a grassy area as far as I could before tackling the boulder field, and then along a wonderful stream and through the woods back to my camp.
The following morning I packed up and headed down. The views along the way were to die for. The trail was so beautiful with different type of trees, not only the fir trees, but the aspens were fantastic. I loved the sound of the leaves as the wind blew through them. The peak-a-boo views of the near by ridge were so outstanding that you didn’t want to take your eyes off of it. I saw one young women almost trip for that very reason.
Speaking of which, I don’t know what the deal was, but the trail hikers going up were 90% young, fit, attractive women. I even joked one group about that and I didn’t quite catch what she said it was either “that must be a treat”, or perhaps she said “it was a retreat”. But either way it was indeed a treat.
Three fourths of the way down I had heard about an unmarked trail right after a bridge that crossed rushing water. A quarter of a mile in was a superb waterfall. I hiked up both sides of the stream towards the falls, but the best trail and views were from the up hill trail. The waterfall topped off what was a fantastic adventure in the Wasatch National Forest. I highly recommend this hike, and if you get the chance to camp there all the better.
Utah has some great hiking, so I invite you to get your blood pumping, breath some cool mountain air, smell the light scent of wildflowers, take in the beauty of nature, and set your soul free. This is Roger Jenkins and I hope to see you soon Pursuing Balance Through Adventure. Please COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW, and SHARE.