Mt.Tomasaki (12,239 ft) is a peak in the LaSal Mountains, and one of seven "12ers" in the range. The LaSal Mountains are the 2nd highest mountain range in Utah, behind the Uinta Mountains. Mt.Tomasaki is accessible by a trail half of the way from the Burro Pass TH, and then the second half is off trail but is easy hiking across the high alpine terrain. The trail itself is mostly exposed, with no water source. Start hiking early in the morning to beat the afternoon thunderstorms that occur almost daily in this mountain range. The best time to summit is Summer and Fall (typically late June to the first snowfall in October). Call the LaSal Ranger to make sure Geyser Pass is open before planning your hike here.
Shelly Baldy Peak (11, 321 ft) is one of the many prominent peaks located in the Tushar Mountains within Fishlake National Forest. This one is for the peak baggers however, while Shelly Baldy Peak (SBP) isn't even in the top 5 for the tallest peaks in the Tushars, the easy North ridge approach at only 2 miles one way offers amazing 360 degree views. Follow the Mud Lake trail for 1 mile, then veer off trail and catch the ridge all the way for the last mile over unbalanced loose rock.
Blue Lake is located in the Tushar Mountains at the base of Mt.Belknap and Mt.Baldy. This turquoise blue lake has a flood control structure on the outlet, and is rimmed with downed trees. Most people haven't seen the lake full, yet the hike down it it offers amazing views of both peaks, as well as takes you through a variety of terrain - from forested sections to obvious avalanche paths, all while crossing streams.
Salt Creek Canyon Falls is a family-friendly hike in the Mt.Nebo Wilderness that even dogs can hike to! It's great for all ages, making this a popular hike in summer. You won't find solitude here, however, playing in the water is very refreshing! The trail is only 1.5 miles to reach the falls so it's a great quick hike if you're short on time; if you have all or half a day, then bring your backpacking chair, drinks, sunblock, and hang out for awhile! Be aware that ranchers do run their cattle up here randomly and therefore cow patties are often present. This trail does get hot, but if you plan to play in the water it's not that bad. Just bring plenty of water to drink.
Haystack Mountain (10,985 ft) is a long, prominent ridge in the High Uintas, easily accessed from the Crystal Lake Trailhead. Not to be confused with this Haystack Mountain in the LaSal Mountains near Moab, this one is much easier and shorter! The Haystack ridge extends for a full 3 miles and is one of the easiest peaks to bag in the Uintas - you follow a trail for the first two miles, then leave the trail for the last 1.75 miles. It's really easy cross-country hiking with very gently boulder hopping - a great intro to some of the harder Uintas peaks with bigger boulders. You get great views of the entire Washington/Trial Lakes area to the North, plus 360 views of the other surrounding areas.
The Crag Crest Trail is located in Grand Mesa National Forest, one hour from Grand Junction, CO. It is a popular area in the summer for hiking, fishing, and camping; in the winter, for snowmobiling and cross country skiing. The Crag Crest trail is well known for its 2 mile long "crest" or ridge that provides great views of Colorado's Highest Mesa, hence the name, "grand mesa". There is nothing technical about this hike, and even older kids and dogs can do this trail. On the weekend we chose to come here, there were fires all in the West, so we didn't have great views. However, on a clear day you can see all the way to the San Juan Mountains, the LaSal Mountains in Utah, and more! The best time of year to hike this is typically late June through September when the snow is gone and the trails are dry.
Fall Creek Falls is located in the Challis National Forest in the Wildhorse Creek area, about 45 minutes from the Mt.Borah Trail head. This is a super easy trail that anyone can do, dogs and kids included. The short 0.7 mile path leads to this beautiful cascading waterfall that has a viewing deck but if you're feeling adventurous, you can easily walk to the base or top of the falls. The best months to visit are June through October.
Hiking to Mt.Borah (12,662 ft), Idaho's state high point, is located in the Lost River Range within Challis National Forest. This peak is not for the faint of heart or weak. The trail gains 5,200 ft in just 4.2 miles and crosses the famous "Chicken Out Ridge" (COR). There is nothing technical along the main trail, but COR is considered a class 3 scramble. It has really good hand holds and while a rope is provided in one spot, you don't really need to use it to get up/down. Always check your that your hand holds are safe and stable before putting your weight on it. This is a super popular trail since it's the tallest mountain in Idaho, so on a Saturday in August we saw closet to 80 other hikers. During the week you will see less people, but it's still a popular spot.
South Erickson Lake is a lake in the High Uintas Wilderness and can actually be accessed from two different trailheads. The first being from the Shingle Creek Trail off Mirror Lake Highway, and what this blog post will describe, from the Ledgefork TH at Smith & Moorehouse Reservoir. This route is 5.5 miles one way and can be hiked/ran in a few hours, or if you want a more relaxing weekend backpacked overnight. The trail only gains close to 900 feet over the first 3 miles, then when you turn at the trail split for North & South Erickson Lakes you will gain another 1500 ft in just 2.5 miles. The second half of the trail is rocky but full of wildflowers in July! This is a great trail for dogs off leash, and older kids who can carry their own backpack.
Hiking to the paper airplane at Powder Mountain Ski Resort is a fun hike for all ages and the pups on-leash! This super easy trail leads you to a giant metal airplane structure, acting as both a sculpture and obstacle for bikers riding the trails. The trail gradually descends roughly 150ft before reaching this 20 ft long "paper" airplane. The surrounding views of the ski resort and Wasatch Mountains are hard to beat - on a clear day you can see all the way to Mt.Timpanogos to the South, and into Idaho to the North! This trail is only accessible in Summer months.