- Physical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
- Technical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Following the famous 167.4 km Highline Trail, the hike out to Naturalist Basin is a real gem. Though much of the trail is - somewhat surprisingly - below the tree line, the ambiance of your final destination is truly incredible, a serenity like no other.
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Route Description for Naturalist Basin
The Highline Trail is an impressive 167.4 km trek that crosses most of the High Uintas Wilderness. You will follow this trail for much of your hike, before taking a detour at approximately the 8.0 km mark.
After beginning the trail near the restrooms, the trail will descend a short ways. Soon you will enter into the official Uintas Wilderness. A sign will outline the rules for camping in the backcountry here.
The entire trail gently undulates up and down, but never has any sustained climbing or descending. After a fair amount of hiking you will pass the turnoff for Packard Lake, another hike in this list! Continue heading along the Highline Trail until you reach a more major junction. At that junction, turn left towards Naturalist Basin.
Here the trail will actually gain a more substantial amount of elevation. It’ll all be worth it though because soon you’ll pass the gamut of alpine lakes! You will pass Verrill Lake, as you continue (turning right at the junction) you will pass Gatman Lake, Evermann Lake and finally your final destination: Jordan Lake.
From this stunning alpine lake the cliffy northeast ridge of Mount Agassiz will take up your entire field of view. Enjoy the stunning and secluded ambiance before returning the way you came.
Find more great hikes in the Uinta Mountains:
Insider Hints for Naturalist Basin
- Many backpacking opportunities exist along this trail! You could even complete the entire Highline trail if you are super adventurous.
- A recreation pass is required to park in the National Forest, which can be purchased throughout the park; however, a National Parks Pass is also accepted.
Getting to the Naturalist Basin Trailhead
From Kamas head along Utah 150 for 54.7 km. After passing over Bald Mountain Pass and Pass Lake, turn right at the Highline Trailhead directly on the top of Hayden Pass, where you can park.
Naturalist Basin Elevation Graph
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Naturalist Basin Reviews
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- Cutthroat Lake Trail
- Cuberant Lakes Trail
- Hayden Pass to the Christmas Meadows Campground
- Butterfly Lake to Castle Lake Trail
- Mount Agassiz Loop
- Ruth Lake, Jewel Lake, Cutthroat Lake, and Teal Lake Trail
- Teal Lake via the Ruth Lake Trail
- The Ruth Lake, Lofty Lake, and Scout Lake Trail
- Jewel Lake via the Ruth Lake Trail
- Ruth Lake Trail
- Lofty Lakes Loop
- Wilder and Packard Lake