Backpacking Granddaddy Basin

For Labor Day weekend, Tara and I went on a backpacking trip in the High Uintas in Granddaddy Basin.  We managed to cover 25 miles in 3 days—our longest trip yet.  This is what happens when you live close to tons of backpacking.  You inadvertently become a weekend warrior and never take a trip longer than a few days.  It is a blessing and a curse.

The day temperatures were perfect for our trip and dipped down enough at night that we could actually make use of our new sleeping bags.  To follow is an oddly specific guide to hiking Granddaddy Basin.

Day 1: 8 Miles

Hike from the trailhead (TH) up over the pass into Granddaddy Basin.  Laugh at girl in pink jogging outfit that exclaims to her husband: “SHIT!! This just keeps going up!”.  Reconsider plan to make Governor Dern Lake that day when another hiker, who happens to be very vocal about using his yellow lab to haul his alcohol, scoffs at the idea saying that it is one hell of a push.  Then get reassured by a friendly ranger that the lake is easily achievable.  Make the lake by 6:30 to find not a single other soul there on “busy” Labor Day weekend.  Set up camp out of sight on the far side of the lake amongst a grove of pines.


Looking down into Granddaddy Basin from the pass



Governor Dern Lake


Day 2: 9 Miles

Pack daypacks with lunch and snacks and make for Four Lakes Basin, 4 miles and 700’ vertical above camp.  Take your pick of the four lakes to dip your feet in before eating lunch and taking a short siesta on the soft, grassy bank.  Reluctantly hit the trail again and make for the Highline Trail which gains a little more altitude and offers stunning views of the entire basin and beyond.  The remaining mileage to Lake Pinto is a bit of a slog, but still plenty pretty.  Enjoy Clif Bars at this lake before completing the last mile back to camp.  Dinner from atop a large boulder in the lake might as well be a high-end restaurant.



Lunch at 4 Lakes Basin



View from the Highline Trail


Day 3: 8 Miles

Break camp and start the journey back across the basin, this time taking the Eastern leg of the loop.  Pass several more postcard lakes before arriving at Granddaddy Lake in time for lunch.  Make for a long peninsula that is so narrow that it might as well be an island.  After lunch, own the pass and the 2.5 miles down the other side, mouths watering with anticipation of the margaritas you’ll enjoy with dinner that evening.



The namesake of the area: Granddaddy Lake

One thought on “Backpacking Granddaddy Basin

  1. The longest weekender I used to do was 20 miles. Two miles Friday evening, set up camp in the dark. Eight miles on Saturday up over Little Pine mountain and down to Santa Cruz Campground. Ten miles out on Sunday. Great hike for breaking in new boots (not!).

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