Unitas – Early July Red Castle, Kings Peak, Gunsight Pass Loop
Feb 1, 2021 at 11:16 am #3696707Al KBPL Member
@alonccLocale: South Florida
I am considering a Unitas hike July 2nd-July 4th 2021.
Day 1 – early start at China Meadows, camp Lower Red Castle Lake and explore the upper section
Day 2 – early start to Smith Fork and Anderson Pass followed by Kings Peak summit; then take the ridge shortcut trail to Gunsight pass and camp by Henry Fork Lake area
Day 3 – hike out
1 – Is early July too early for this hike? I am not a crampon or ice axe type of person. I don’t mind some snow just nothing technical.
2 – I can hike 12-18 miles a day in the Sierras. Does my proposed itinerary align well with my stamina/terrain?
3 – Looking at google maps, the trail seems almost non-existent between Smith Fork and Anderson Pass (especially once getting closer to Anderson). I am comfortable using GAIA for route finding on/off trail though is there anything particularly sketchy?
4- Any suggestions or other considerations?
Thanks in advance for any responses!Feb 1, 2021 at 6:51 pm #3696831JohnBPL Member
@johnnyh88Locale: The SouthWest
I did a similar loop there clock-wise a couple years ago in mid-August. Hope this helps:
Feb 28, 2021 at 7:42 pm #3701941Jeff M.BPL Member
- Too early to tell what the snow will be like this year. Mosquitos will almost certainly be heavy in early July though. Backcountry Post creates a Uintas conditions thread each year. Here’s 2020’s: https://backcountrypost.com/threads/uintas-conditions-2020.9190/
- I feel mileage in the Uintas and Sierra are generally about equal. Maybe the passes on this loop are easier than your typical Sierra pass. I think your Day 2 could be tough. I didn’t know there is a ridge shortcut trail to Gunsight pass – I followed the trail all the way. Definitely try to summit King’s Peak as early as possible in the day to lessen the risk of thunderstorms.
- The trail between Smiths Fork Pass and Anderson Pass was fine, or at least I don’t remember it being an issue. Smiths Forks Pass was a welcome break from the crowds.
- Lower Red Castle Lake was the busiest and most crowded backcountry experience I’ve ever had. Beautiful, but I will never camp there again. Permits can be annoying and maybe they’re not the answer, but this area needs some help…
I agree that the trail between Smiths Fork Pass and Anderson Pass is fine. No problems following it.
For the short cut to gunsight pass you’ll need to follow trail markers for a lot of it. For most of it and especially in the beginning there isnt much of a trail at all.
That second day is doable, but it will be a butt kicker. Once you’re up Anderson its pretty much boulder hopping all the way to Kings with small sections of walkable trail.Jun 1, 2021 at 4:17 pm #3716578Al KBPL Member
@alonccLocale: South Florida
Checking back in to see if anyone has opinions on how the trail will be July 4th weekend. Free enough of snow so as not to require ice axe / traction? Mosquitoes? thanks!Jun 5, 2021 at 6:48 pm #3717320MinerBPL Member
Well I’m starting to look at a possible week long trip there or in the Sierra Nevada in that time frame. From what I’ve read, it seems like they got a lot less snow than normal, similar to how the Sierra Nevada did. So I’d expect snow to not be enough of an issue so will not bring micro-spikes or an ice axe. I’m assuming plenty of mosquitos until proven otherwise.
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