Up in the High Uinta Wilderness of Utah there is a castle. This is no ordinary castle… it’s a castle made of rock that turns a fiery red as the setting sun reflects off its jagged stone exterior.
This castle is not made by man, but by nature with a patience that only she knows.
You can only get to this castle by foot or horseback making it all the more special when you do arrive. With this post (which is long overdue), I’ve got you covered with details on how and when to go!
Add this one to your bucketlist for 2017, okay? It was one of my top backpacking trips of the year.
First thing to consider is the time of year you go. The High Unitas are, as the name implies, high. Some places still have snow well into the Summer months.
My friend and I hiked to Red Castle the second week in August and that seemed like a perfect time to go. We saw some snow, but didn’t get stopped in our tracks by any. That being said, it was definitely cold at night so pack accordingly.
Second thing to consider is the way you hike into it. There are a couple ways to get there.
We started at the East Fork/Blacks Fork trailhead but the other option is to start at the China Meadows trailhead. You can see a basic map of the two options here.
The East Fork trailhead option is a bit longer and takes you up by bald mountain, across a gorgeous meadow and then drops you into the base of Red Castle. The entire hike was incredible and totally worth the extra effort and milage. I would rate the physical aspect of the hike as moderate. It has some sections that are a grind, but the beauty has a way of distracting you.
I know some people who have hiked the China Meadows way and from the sounds of it, the hike is a little easier, but the scenery isn’t as good.
When you get to Red Castle, there are plenty of places to camp. We found an incredible site with views of the lake and the castle.
Yes it really is that color when the sun hits it just right!
We relaxed by a campfire at night and drew some mandalas – of course I had to pack in some markers and a sketchbook :)
Overall, this was one of my favorite hikes of 2016 and I hope you get a chance to check this one out once the snow melts. It’s a really special place to share with some friends.
As always, make sure you travel with a topographical map and check for any fire restrictions before you go!
If you have any questions about this hike, leave them below!
With love from the (snowy!!) mountains,