A Hike You’ll Like

Day hikes to get you in shape for the season.

It’s hard to say “summer hikes” without thinking of the Uintas, quartzite mountains, high-country lakes, and ice-cold waterfalls. So, shake off a long winter’s nap, say bye-bye to the treadmill, and soak in the allure of Utah’s peaks.

Time to go rogue, hit some altitude and show off to your friends. These top five spots will get you enthused, even if the only trekking you’ve done is from an armchair with the National Geographic channel.

It’s what you put into the hike that makes the trail special, and you’re sure to welcome the watering holes on these hikes when the summer heat hits.

1Stewart Falls From Aspen Grove Trailhead
This all-seasons hike is easily accessible, even for the wee ones. You’ll hit plenty of snowpack before late May, so be prepared. You won’t see the full greenery and flowery meadows until warmer months. This is the perfect trail to check off your list, or to ease into the season if you need to hit those hike preppin’ lunges.

After the steep sandstone cliffs of Provo Canyon, you should be excited to get on the trail. Start at the Aspen Grove turnoff just past Sundance Resort. It’s an easy elevation gain, with the steepest incline at the beginning, leveling off for most of the trail. Next, you’ll hit an outcropping over a peaceful indentation in the Uintas and see the rush of the 200-foot falls through dazzling views. Pop open a beer under the spray of the falls or scramble up to the chilled pools hidden on the limestone shelves.
Drive time from SLC: 1 hr. 15 min.Average hike time: 1.5-3 hours
Average calories burned: 355
Round trip: 3.8 miles
Rating: Easy to Moderate

2Frary Peak, Antelope Island
If you’re looking for a more rigorous season starter, Antelope’s Frary Peak is waiting. With open trails full of juniper, this 28,240-acre island is a hiker’s Eden, a refuge to more wildlife than Noah’s Ark. Frary Peak offers a ridiculously beautiful scenic hike with panoramic views of the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountains, miles of winding ridges and plenty of bison sightings.

The great part is you can choose chunks to explore, or brave the entire length to the top. The trail is more difficult from the ridgeline to the peak, with steps built into the mountainside to assist in more technical areas. With miles of beauty to take in, you won’t even mind the occasional biting gnats, mosquitos or brine flies that make their home on the island.

Don’t forget the binoculars, and on the way down, make sure to wade into the Great Salt Lake, and scrunch your toes in the highmineral Oolitic sand.
Drive time from SLC: 1 hr. 47 min.
Average hike time: 4 to 5 hours
Average calories burned: 940
Round trip: 6.2 miles
Rating: Moderate to Technical

3Ibantik Lake From Crystal Lake Trailhead
If you want to get above treeline with a big dose of the high Unitas, this is your trail. Hidden in the Notch Peak ridgeline, you’ll feel like you are farther from civilization than you really are. The hiking options are plentiful, and Ibantik is a smart destination for a day hike or overnight but can also be part of a bigger loop to hit Wall Lake, Lovenia, Bench and Notch lakes.

Crystal Lake is located just off Hwy 150, near Trial Lake, about 26 miles east of Kamas. You’ll enjoy a steady incline, with a few spots to push through, but overall, it’s great for the average hiker. One of the biggest payoffs are the sunsets and lake reflections that only backcountry hikers can enjoy. Especially from the 10,600-foot Notch Pass with plenty of flowing streams and lakes below.

Snowpack still lingers in June, so the best time to hit this trail is late summer, with plenty of time to refuel after a day’s hike at the Notch Pub (2392 E. Mirror Lake Hwy., Kamas, 435-783-6244, TheNotchPub)
Drive time from SLC: 1 hr. 49 min.
Average hike time: 2.5-4 hours
Average calories burned: 720
Round Trip: 4.2 miles
Rating: Easy to Moderate

4Waterfall Canyon and Ogden’s Via Ferrata
This is an easy hike to skip out of the city for a day at the top of Ogden’s 29th Street. There are a few loose rocks and talus to navigate, but the trail is in pristine condition and will most likely already by blazed by hikers of all ages. The falls are a great place for photos, dropping 200 feet before hitting the canyon floor.

While there, be sure to explore the Via Ferrata climb (an extra 3-4 hours) that lies up the talus slope for staggering views of Ogden Canyon. Located in the private reserve, this is a safe climbing route with fixed anchors, steel cables and ladders, only accessible with a guide and gear. No previous experience is necessary as long as you’re not afraid of heights.
Drive time from SLC: 43 min.
Average hike time: 1.5 hours
Average calories burned: 375 with another 620 on the Via Ferrata
Round Trip: 2.5 miles
Rating: Easy to Moderate

5Amethyst Basin
From Christmas
Meadows Trailhead
This is a trail you dream about for a butt-kicking full-body workout (think tight buns), soul searching and your own fairyland in the making. So, if you’re looking for Uinta culture with a few of the real high points, this is the hike for you. Starting 47 miles up Mirror Lake Highway, you’ll hit this high-elevation lake about 6 miles in. There are plenty of chances for off trailing interspersed with aspen meadows and countless bodies of water along the way.

You can soak in the unbeatable alpine setting over a couple of days of camping or fast pack it in one day. No matter what you choose, you’ll have the adventure of a lifetime with a legendary hike in your own backyard.
Drive time from SLC: 1 hr. 49 min.
Average hike time: 4.5 hours
Average calories burned: 1,640
Round Trip: 13.2 miles
Rating: Moderate to Difficult

Summer is time to connect to Utah’s rugged terrain, scenic lakes, and trailheads and master your backcountry journey from start to finish. Any routes you’d like to share with us? We promise we won’t tell anyone.

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