hikes in Uinta Mountains
The Uinta Mountains are one of Utah’s best-kept secrets, a little known mountain paradise tucked away in the northeast corner of the state. This beautiful region is the perfect destination for a fun hiking adventure, with gorgeous mountain scenery, fast-flowing streams and pristine, serene lakes. Forget everything you think you know about Utah’s landscapes – hiking in the Uinta Mountains is a truly unique adventure.
Hiking in the Uinta Mountains is a real treat for outdoor adventurers. This range contains the highest peak in Utah, Kings Peak, and summiting this 4125m mountain is a satisfying challenge for keen hikers. The beautiful Naturalist Basin is the site for many pleasant hiking trails, and is the ideal spot for a backpacking or camping trip.
Utah is not known for an abundance of water, but the Uinta Mountains are littered with beautiful, pristine lakes – perfect for taking a dip, or simply as a spot where you can sit and admire the view. Whether you go, you’ll find sparse pine forest, beautiful wildflower meadows, and gorgeous natural sights, all punctuated by fantastic hiking trails.
The Uinta Mountains defy all expectations, and it’s somewhat surprising that they are not more widely known among travellers from outside Utah. We think this beautiful region is a fantastic hiking destination that deserves much more attention than its gets. Check out these epic hiking trails in the Uinta Mountains for more information and a little inspiration!
Top Hikes In The Uinta Mountains
The Uinta Mountains are a wonderful destination for a family hiking trip, with plenty of easy, family-friendly trails that are perfect, even for little legs! Younger visitors will love exploring the region’s many beautiful lakes, the ideal place to cool off on a hot day. You’ll enjoy spectacular views, even on short, easy hikes, making this an excellent spot for a relaxed hiking trip. However, if you’re looking for something a little more strenuous, the Uintas also offer some more challenging routes that will take you high up to some of the tallest peaks in the state. These longer, more strenuous hikes are a good option for hikers looking for challenge, and come with fabulous views as a reward for your exertions.
Easy Hikes In The Uinta Mountains
Clyde Lake Hike: This lovely, easy hike is perfect if you’re looking for a relaxed way to enjoy the wonderful landscapes of the Uinta Mountains. Clyde Lake is remarkably scenic, with views of Notch Mountain and Mount Watson. However, the finest delights of this hike are enjoyed along the way – you’ll ascend from Cliff Lake to Petite Lake and finally to Watson Lake, before reaching your destination. Each one of these wonderful lakes is worth every bit of effort, and the surrounding landscape makes an idea destination for a fun hike.
Family Hikes In The Uinta Mountains
Shoreside Loop (Mirror Lake) Hike: This easy route that traces the shores of Mirror Lake is one of our favorite family hikes in the Uinta Mountains. The views at each point of the lake are stunning – as you walk you’ll see Reids Peak, Murdoch Mountain and eventually the Mount Agassiz Massif reflected in the peaceful waters. This is a fantastic place for a swim on a hot day.
Day Hikes In The Uinta Mountains
Naturalist Basin Hike: Tracing the route of the 167.4km Highline Trail, this trek to Naturalist Basin is certainly one of the most epic hikes in Uinta Mountains. This is a fabulous way to experience the High Uintas Wilderness, passing along an undulating trail that takes you through some impressive scenery. You’ll enjoy gorgeous alpine lakes and specular mountain views, and the final destination of Jordan Lake is a wonderful secluded haven. Linger a while before turning for home to enjoy the magical serenity of this wild, beautiful spot.
Challenging Hikes In The Uinta Mountains
Bald Mountain Hike: Don’t let the length of this hike fool you – it may be short, but you’ll need to be prepared for a grueling, steep climb! The trail ascends the southwest flank of the mountain via a series of switchbacks up to a wood ridge. The climb may be steep, but the views are magnificent from the 3639m summit of Bald Mountain. Come early to avoid the crowds and enjoy this epic hike in the Uinta Mountains!
Other Great Hikes In The Uinta Mountains
Ibantik Lake Hike: This beautiful hike will take you to one of the most beautiful spots in the High Uinta Mountains. Ibantik Lake sits at the opening of a canyon formed by the Notch Mountain Massif, and its pale blue water is a feast for the eyes. This undulating route takes you over the iconic ‘Notch’, a high pass in the middle of Notch Mountain, and offers a wonderful day out in this sublime region.
Wilder and Packard Lake Hike: This popular route begins on the Highline Trail, and offers truly incredible views of the High Uintas Wilderness. The trail is undulating and not too challenging, and descends to the tranquil Wilder Lake, where you can stop and admire the view. If you have the energy, continue onwards to Wyman and Lake and Packard Lake, or turn back for home, enjoying a spectacular vista as you hike.
Fehr Lake Hike: This short hike is one of the best-kept secrets in the Uinta Mountains! If you’re looking for an easy hike away from the crowds, this route is perfect, passing through a pretty forest until you reach a beautiful, calm lake. Make sure to bring a picnic, and enjoy a relaxed afternoon in this lovely spot!
Lofty Lakes Loop Hike: This fantastic hike is a classic hike in the Uinta Mountains, offering stunning scenery along the way! The trail climbs steadily to Scout Lake, a popular fishing spot, before continuing up to a view of Lofty Lake from a beautiful mountain pass. This is the best vista of the lake, with the Spectacular Mount Marsell in the background. The Lofty Lakes Loop hike is ideal for a hot day, when you can cool off by taking a dip in one of the lakes along the way!
Haystack Lake Hike: Looking for a little peace and quiet in the Uinta Mountains? Follow this trail out to Haystack Lake, leaving the crowds behind at the Washington Lake Area. You’ll pass three pristine, beautiful lakes, enjoying a moment of peace and solitude before turning back the way you came. This is one of the best easy hikes in the Uinta Mountains.
Notch Lake Hike: This wonderful hike is also a popular backpacking trip, deep in the heart of the High Uinta lake country. The trail descends gently through the valley along a rocky path, passing by Clegg Lake and Dean Lake. However, the best views are saved until the end, with a spectacular vista over the expansive Notch Lake. If you’re looking for a fun family backpacking trip, don’t miss this fantastic hiking trail in the Uinta Mountains.
When Is The Best Time To Hike In The Uinta Mountains?
The best time to hike in the Uinta Mountains is between April and May and September and October, in the ‘shoulder season’ when the crowds are smaller and the weather is still fine. In particular, spring is an excellent time to go wildlife watching or to see the early blooming flowers. In autumn, the fall foliage bursts into life like a golden flame, setting the forests on fire in a blaze of color. June, July and August offer sunny weather, but the temperatures can be very warm, making long hikes uncomfortable. The winter months can be cold and snowy, but January and February offer wonderful possibilities for cross-country skiing.
Other Outdoor Activities In The Uinta Mountains
The Uintas, like many other parts of Utah, are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. Once you’ve had your fill of the hiking trails, you’ll find plenty of other outdoor activities in the Uinta Mountains! Camp out under the stars and admire the remarkable Utah night sky, and extend some of these trails into a fun backpacking trip for the whole family. Alternatively, you might want to try your hand at rock climbing, take a dip in the hot springs, hunt for rocks and fossils along the trail, go fishing, or enjoy some wildlife watching. There’s no end to possible outdoor activities in the Uinta Mountains.
How To Plan A Trip To The Uinta Mountains
Want to plan an epic hiking trip in the Uintas, but not sure where to start? Don’t worry – here at 10Adventures we’ve put together all the information you’ll need to enjoy the perfect hiking adventure. Check out our guide to how to plan a trip to the Uinta Mountains for trail recommendations and lots of practical tips to make sure you enjoy every aspect of your trip. The Uinta Mountains are one of Utah’s finest underrated gems, so head here to avoid the crowds and enjoy this natural wilderness in complete peace and serenity!
Frequently-Asked-Questions About The Uinta Mountains
What does Uinta mean?
The name for the Uinta Mountains is derived from the Ute word ‘Yoov-we-teuh’, which means ‘pine tree’. The region was named for its dense and fragrant pine forests, which cover the sides of the mountains across the region.
How many lakes are in the Uinta Mountains?
When most people think of Utah, they imagine a dry, arid, desert landscape with very little water. However, the Uinta Mountains are particularly known for their beautiful lakes. There are over 1000 natural lakes in the Uintas, and 400 miles of streams.
What animals live in the Uinta Mountains?
The Uinta Mountains are an important habitat for many different species of animals and birds. Amongst others, you may catch a glimpse of elk, moose, mule deer, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, black bears, river otters and cougars whilst out on your hike.
The best hikes in Uinta Mountains
Are we missing your favourite hike?
Tell us! If you've got photos, a GPS track and know the hike, we'd love to share your favourite hike with the rest of the 10Adventures community.