Kings Peak, Utah's tallest summit at 13,528 feet, draws major trail traffic in the High Uintas Wilderness, but this need not deter solitude-seekers. Most of the crowd enters from the north, keeping the inner sanctums of the south slope and the fabled Chain Lakes crowd-free. More solitude, plenty of high peaks, beautiful lakes, and the Uinta River are reasons enough to go south. And from Painter Basin you can still tackle the southeast flanks of Kings Peak.
RECOMMENDED HIKE: A 22-mile loop winds through the Chain Lakes District. From Uinta trailhead follow Chain Lakes Trail into Painter Basin, then head east to Painter Draw and return via Shale Dugway. This is a moderate hike when done over three days.
WHERE: The trailhead is about 175 miles (41/2 hours) east of Salt Lake City. From Roosevelt, take UT 121 north past Neola. The road becomes Forest Service Road 118. Uinta trailhead is at road's end.
MAPS: Trails Illustrated's High Uintas Wilderness Map (#711) covers the area ($8.99; 800-962-1643).
CONTACT: Roosevelt Ranger District, Ashley National Forest, 244 W. Highway 40 (333-6), Roosevelt, UT 84066; (435) 789-1181.