the usual
inconsistent at best
Hiking Four Lakes Basin Rim (2021)
High Uinta goodness

A couple of weeks ago my brother Jason asked if I wanted to go backpacking with him (duh), so we looked at a few places to go and settled on Four Lakes Basin which is just off the Highline Trail at the western edge of the High Uintas Wilderness Area.

The next day we decided to hike the rim above Four Lakes Basin taking this route:

Four Lakes Basin Rim trail

Our first waypoint was Cyclone Pass, visible here as the lowest point on the ridge ahead of us to the east:

View of Cyclone Pass from Four Lakes Basin looking east

Our approach was more or less straight up the moraine from the meadow to the pass. Just as we neared the top we saw a trail that came from the south of the pass that we could have taken but it was mostly loose dirt and gravel (our route was all rock).

View of Cyclone Pass from the Four Lakes Basin meadow

About halfway up the rim is a glacial moraine:

Glacial moraine in Four Lakes Basin

Once at Cyclone Pass you have a good view of peaks to the east:

Views of Mount Lovenia, Explorer Peak, Squaw Peak, and Cleveland Peak

Views of Rock Creek Basin:

View of Rock Creek Basin south of Thompson Lake

A few hundred feet more vertical up the ridge gives you the rest of your elevation gains on the rim (there are a few dozen feet lost and regained along the ridge but nothing significant). It levels off enough you could almost put a soccer field on top:

View of Mount Agassiz, Hayden Peak, A-1 Peak, Spread Eagle Peak, Ostler Peak, and Lamotte Peak

Looking east from the ridge you have a nice view of Thompson Lake:

View of Thompson Lake

The Thompson Lake basin on the other side of Cyclone Pass looked unhospitable to camping unless you had a hammock or something you could keep off the rocky ground. It didn’t look like there was anywhere flat or smooth to pitch a tent.

Further along the ridge you have clear views of Rock Creek Basin and Rocky Sea Pass to the north. Rocky Sea Pass and the Highline trail are just visible on the slope between and below Hayden and Kletting Peaks:

View of Rocky Sea Pass and surrounding peaks

Turning south you see Four Lakes Basin just below and Grandaddy Basin a few miles away:

View of Four Lakes Basin and Grandaddy Basin from the north-east saddle

Once you cross the saddle between the north-south running ridge and the east-west running ridge is a large unbroken rock that could provide a lot of shelter in a storm. The saddle between the ridges is a lot of boulder-hopping:

Crossing the saddle

Moving west along the ridge, the ground begins to broaden again and slopes away to the south into Four Lakes Basin:

View of Four Lakes Basin and Grandaddy Basin

All of the lakes were bubbling with fish; Dean Lake below (click photo to enlarge):

View of Dean Lake

Cyclone Pass is visible on the left as a notch in the ridge where a patch of scrubby pines end. Remarkably, there was a bit of snow left from last year on a south-east facing slope no less:

View of Four Lakes Basin
Snowmelt in Four Lakes Basin in August
Life finds a way

The shoulder to the west was small-rock hopping, less risky than the boulder hopping to the east, but no less frustrating:

Traversing the rocky ridge north of Four Lakes Basin

The descent from the ridge to the west joins the Four Lakes Basin Trail just above the basin. To the north is the trail to Rocky Sea Pass and to the south is Four Lakes Basin. This view is facing the shoulder east of the trail:

View of the shoulder northwest of Four Lakes Basin

A view of the east-west running ridge, the saddle, and partial view of the the north-south running ridge north of Cyclone Pass:

View of the Four Lakes Basin rim from Daynes Lake

Last modified on 2021-08-16