Ibantik Lake ("eye-ban-tick") is located conveniently close to the Mirror Lake Highway in the High Uintas, and backpacking this route is perfect for beginner backpackers since it's a fairly short yet rewarding trail. It is a very popular lake to camp at, and therefore you won't have much solitude. The best things about this lake is how clear the water is, and you'll see plenty of mountain goats as Notch Mountain looms above you. The trail is really easy to follow, and is best done as a point-to-point route.
The Avenues Twin Peaks is another one of my go-to after work hikes. This hike is the most beautiful in Spring during Sunset, when the yellow flowers are blooming, the hills are green, and the temperature is just right; however this trail can be hiked year round. The Avenues Twin Peaks is almost always windy, so a light jacket is recommended. There is no water and no shade, and the trailhead is a popular spot for mountain bikers to depart on their ride.
White Pine Lake in Little Cottonwood Canyon (LCC) sits at 10,200 ft, and is surrounded by several peaks. The trail follows an old mining road, so it is very wide and gradual. Even though you'll hike 5.5 miles one way, you'll only gain about 2,500 ft - not bad by Wasatch standards. The trail is only accessible in Summer months, typically from June until October. Dogs are not allowed on this trail due to it being within a watershed area (all of LCC is off limits to dogs). Start early to beat the crowds and heat. My friend Sarah and I parked at 5:30am on a Saturday, and 5 minutes later several more cars arrived completely filling up the parking lot. By the time we got back, cars lined the sides of the main road if they were able to find extra spots. As with any hike, be prepared to carry at least 2 liters of water, a snack, long sleeve shirt (even in summer it can be chilly at the lake), and sunblock.
Lambs Canyon is located off I-80 after passing through Parley's Canyon, but before you reach Jeremy Ranch. Lambs Canyon is part of the county Watershed, and therefore, dogs are not allowed. There are multiple signs saying no dogs, and there was even a county sheriff patrolling the area as well, so don't even attempt to bring them up here. It's a bummer to leave dogs at home, but every once in awhile I want to do a hike that Charlie can't.
The Bowman Fork Trail is located in Millcreek Canyon, and is popular for summiting Gobbler's Knob. I usually do this hike after work during the week and don't have time (or sometimes the energy!) to hike to the summit, so my goal is always White Fir Pass. I really like this trail in the summer months because it's really well shaded, cooler, and it follows a stream that the dogs and drink from and play in. In Winter, it's nice snowshoeing because you will hardly see anyone up here.
Spirit Lake sits in the High Uintas Wilderness on the far East end of the range, with the lake at 10,180 ft. Access to this area is only open from the end of June (sometimes early July depending on the snow pack) through October. In winter months you'll need a snowmobile to reach this far into the wilderness. Summer brings daily afternoon rain storms, mosquitos, blooming flowers, cool temperatures, and wildlife. There are activities for the whole family - kayaking, fishing, hiking, camping, backpacking, you name it! Dogs are allowed off leash on the trails, ands kids will enjoy exploring the area. Pack your camp gear, and let's go!
Sunset Peak via Catherine Pass (10,648 ft) offers a 360 degree view of the Wasatch Mountains, plus a view of Heber City, Park City, and the Salt Lake Valley. Hiking up via Catherine Pass contains a great mix of meadow, wooded areas, a fantastic vistas. Hiking this trail provides for a good workout, but getting to the peak doesn't require months of training. While this trail is only 3.5 miles one way, your calves will burn on the elevation gain! The best time of year to hike this is typically July when the wildflowers are in full bloom.
Bald Mountain (11,942 ft) in the High Uintas Wilderness is one of my favorite peaks to summit. Not only is this peak one of the easiest to summit in the area, but it also offers grand views of the Mirror Lake Highway, surrounding lakes, several peaks, and on a clear day you can see Mt. Timpanogos. Along the Bald Mountain trail you may see mountain goats, pika, squirrels, and an abundance of wildflowers in early summer. As with any high altitude terrain, start this hike early in the day to beat the daily afternoon thunderstorms, the afternoon heat, and crowds.
Bourbon Lake sits at an elevation of 9,800 ft and offers a beautiful high alpine lake in the High Uintas Wilderness. This lake gets its name from the color of the lake - the deep amber color reflected against the surrounding cliffs creates an amazing reflection of yellow and golds. Hiking to Bourbon Lake is great for the whole family, since it is only 1.5 miles to the lake with only 600 ft elevation gain. You can camp across the road from the trail head at Sulphur Campground, then follow this short trail for some beautiful views. Bring a hammock and enjoy the scenery!