This hike, in the heart of one of the most picturesque valleys of the High Uinta Mountains, walks up over ‘The Notch’ and down to Ibantik Lake immersing you in the paradoxically sterile, yet inviting beauty of the park; it’s almost as if it’s the blank pages of a book, waiting for you to write your adventures on.
From Kamas, head east along Utah highway 150 for just over 40.2km. Take the turnoff for the Trail Lake and Crystal Lake Campgrounds, and the Crystal Lake Trailheads. After turning off the highway, follow signs for the Crystal Lake Trailhead and find a spot in the limited parking area.
|When to do|
Late June through October
Yes, Dispersed in National Forest
Yes, at trailhead
Out and back
Do not follow the crowds heading along the wide path directly beside the washroom: that trail heads out to Clyde Lake. Instead walk approximate 15m to the right and find the smaller trail heading out towards Ponds Lake and Wall Lake.
Initially the trail is quite flat, traversing through the beautiful and sparse alpine forest. After a short climb you will pass between Ponds Lake and Lily Lake. These are very popular amongst fisherman. Traverse around the right of Ponds Lake and continue hiking along the wide path.
The trail will begin to climb yet again, and you will contour around a knoll as you ascend the South side of the giant Wall Lake. After passing briefly by the shore, the trail will divert from the lake and continue to climb. You will switchback through forests for a while. After passing by several other small alpine lakes, you will escape the trees and reach a junction. Continue straight here towards ‘The Notch’.
The Notch is a pass right in the middle of Notch Mountain. Ascending the switchbacking trail up to this rocky saddle grants stunning views. After the climb, descend on the North side. You will subsequently enter another valley covered with alpine lakes.
The trail contours around the left side of the valley before making a large switchback to the right. After five narrow switchbacks you will arrive at Ibantik Lake, located at the opening of a canyon formed by the Notch Mountain Massif. This incredible, summit-skyline provides perfect ambiance for the pale blue lake.
Re-climb the notch and return them way you came.
The North side of the notch can hold snow late in the season, so take care!
This is an extremely popular and easy one-night backpacking trip.
A recreation pass is required to park in the National Forest, which can be purchased throughout the park; however, a National Parks Pass is also accepted.
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