Well-traveled 19th-century explorer Ferdinand Hayden called Utah’s vast Uinta Mountains—with their gorgeous pine forests, high-alpine meadows, and graceful symmetry—his favorite range. See why on the 78-mile Highline Trail, which arrows right along the spine of the Uintas, seldom dipping below timberline as it traverses a range with more than 100 summits topping 12,000 feet.
The track crosses eight major passes and affords plenty of opportunities for peakbagging detours and sweet layover camps. Highlight: From the pass on the shoulder of King’s Peak (Utah’s high point at 13,528 feet), ascend a boulderfield to the summit. Camp on benches at the head of Painter Basin for a head start on the summit climb—and superb views over an idyllic meadow. Schedule at least seven days for this life-lister. –Steve Howe, howephoto.us
USGS TOPO MAP: Leidy Peak, Whiterocks Lake, Chepeta Lake, Fox Lake, Kings Peak, Mount Powell, Garfield Basin, Mount Lovenia, Oweep Creek, Red Knob, Explorer Peak, Hayden Peak
MORE INFO: Unita-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, (801) 236-3400; http://fs.usda.gov. Ashley National Forest, (435) 789-1181; fs.fed.us/r4/ashley/.