Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Christmas Meadows, Utah High Uinta Mountains



Last week I took the opportunity to travel up to a place that I haven't visited in a few years.  Christmas Meadows, in the higher Uinta mountains in Utah.
I'll be honest, if I want to just get lost for a few days, the higher Uinta's area is a great place to do it!  I could just sit and relax in a chair and stair at views like this below for hours!  I spent a great deal of my childhood in these mountains, and plan to do the same for the rest of my life:)



You can access Christmas Meadows by taking the Mirror Lake HWY, about mile marker 49 if you are coming from Kamas, Ut and about 35 miles south of Evanston, WY if you are coming from that direction.

It's a great place to visit, to get a view from up on top.  You're pretty high, so you are above a lot of the peaks.  That river was so beautifully clear, just as you'd hope to see this high up!



This is a beautiful area, full of lots of things to do:
Fishing, Camping, ATV' Trails, Mountain Biking, Hiking, Horse Back, Back Country Camping/hiking  and of course wild life watching.  We've had an unusually wetter year which is why the meadow still looks greenish with wildflowers.  Early spring would be your greenest meadow and normally in late summer like this you probably would only see browns:)  Except for this year!



This beautiful fork of the Bear River offers great fly fishing.  With easy access to walk up the river to catch the fish in all the good pockets.  This time of year the water is so clear you can pretty much just spot and see the fish in the water to know exactly the best places to throw your line.



It's a bit out of the way and a few miles of dirt roads to get to it.  Because its further from other popular area's, over crowding isn't something you have to worry about to much except on weekends.  Because of all the ATV trails, keep in mind you'll have the ATV type of crowds, and likely kids driving them around the campgrounds and roads.

As you can see those horrible tree beetles are really taking too many of our trees!


You can access some of the hiking trails via the end of the dirt road past the campgrounds.  Others, via the ATV or other 4 wheel trails.  There are actually over 400 miles of ATV trails in this area!  I know 4 wheel paradise!!!
In the winter you can take your snow mobile's out on them and have an entirely different white adventure!



If this is a place you'd like to visit in the fall, keep in mind a stormy day can/will likely bring snow.  It's also hunting season, so if you plan to hike make sure you bring your hunter orange gear!  Sunny days in the fall can bring temps in the 60's.  But when the sun goes down it can easily go into the 40's or 30's.   Summer, you'll have warmer temps in the 80's.



Moose territory!  If you love wild life watching the moose love hanging out in these high marshy bushes along this river.  We saw one moose while on our day's adventure:)
You'll also likely see lots of deer as we did!



Your also in bear country, and if you wake up early one morning and go out into the meadows, you might, just might be lucky enough to spot a bear.  We looked hard, but of course we weren't lucky enough to spot one of these beautiful creatures!  If you do see one, you'll be luckier than myself!
Of course my sister also swears it's a great place to spot "Bigfoot", haha  Love her even though she's crazy!



They do have water in the campground you can fill up with, but I'd suggest bringing your own just in case.  Especially in the early spring or fall, they won't have the water turned on then since it could freeze a pipe.



The hiking trails run along the river, and go for miles up into some beautiful Utah Backcountry.


IF YOU GO:
* Mosquito spray is always a good thing to pack!  Although I think the freeze and snow they had a few weeks ago killed most of them for this year:)
* Campground spots can be reserved Memorial-Labor Day, but the rest of the year is first come first serve.  There are only 11 campground spots.  But back country camping is allowed.
* No cell phone wireless services, so consider it a great way to take a real vacation or day trip with no mobile distractions:)
*  If hiking and not familiar with the area, I suggest getting a Uinta Backcountry hiking map.  If you don't have a good sense of direction and plan on leaving trails, I suggest bringing a GPS.  But if you are familiar with Utah and it's back country it's pretty easy to get a sense of where you are at all times.
* Your a ways from food and gas, so fill up in the towns before heading up the Mirror Lake HWY.  However, there is a small Bear River cabin store not to far down the road.  It's also a great place for winter cabin camping for those who love to snowmobile.
* Great summer hiking, but also winter snowshoe or cross country skiing.
*  The area is between 8,700 feet and you can hike into area's around 10,000+ feet easily from here.  If your from Utah and visit the mountains often you probably won't have to deal with elevation sickness.  If your not from Utah and visiting, take a day first to relax before going out and hiking, and that usually I hear helps people avoid any elevation problems.



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