Hell Hole Lake (HHL) is located in the High Uintas Wilderness, and is a beautiful alpine lake surrounded by a bowl of mountains, including A-1 Peak and Kletting Peak. After a 3.5 mile walk along the road, the route follows the Main Fork Bear River Trail. The entire route is very gradual, only gaining 1,700 ft over 6.7 miles. The best time of year to hike/backpack this area is late Summer through Fall. This particular lake is part of a larger marsh, so the mosquitoes in summer are some of the worst in the entire Uintas range. Elk, coyotes, deer, and moose love this area as well because of this - plenty to eat and drink! Dogs are allowed off leash, but it is wise to always have a leash handy in case you come across wildlife.
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.
Backpacking to Beaver & Coffin Lakes are part of the Middle Beaver Basin and trail, and sit at just over 10K in elevation. The Middle Beaver trail is about 7 miles to reach Beaver Lake, and just over 8 miles to Coffin Lake - the trail is constantly hiking up and down in elevation. Over two full days we only saw a total of five hikers, and only two of them were backpacking so if you're looking for some peace and quiet, this is the lake for you. We also saw a lot of wildlife, and the water in both lakes is very clear. Older kids can definitely hike this, as well as dogs used to hiking more than 6-7 miles in one way. While this can be done in one day, I recommend backpacking here to take it all in!
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.
Backpacking to Abes Lake is located in the Uinta Mountains, and sits and an elevation of 9800 ft. The trail follows the Middle Fork of the Weber River for the first 3 miles, then take a sharp left turn where the trail gains 1200 ft in just 1.2 miles before reaching the lake. The trail gets very hot in the middle of summer, and the dirt trail can get too hot for dogs' paws and potentially yourself.
The Best Backpacking Trips in the Uintas are just around the corner from Salt Lake City, not more than a few hours drive! The best parts about backpacking in the Uintas are that there is plenty of shade, water, a mix of level and steep trails, plus dogs are allowed off leash! There's something for everyone, so check out these trips below! Not ranked in any order, click the title of each trip to learn more. Be sure to use a tracking app such as Gaia GPS (my personal fav!) and/or a paper map so you don't get lost.
Whiskey Island Lake sits at 10,400 ft in the High Uintas and is a secluded lake great for a day hike and fishing. If you're really feeling like getting a workout, add on the surrounding peak above the lake, Whiskey Island Peak. This 3 mile routes follows a road for the first 2.2 miles, then it's a choose-your-own-adventure kind of day following your GPS to guide you to the lake since there is no trail the last 3/4 mile. There are several routes to reach Whiskey Island Lake, and if you're feeling adventurous you can turn it into a loop like I did.
The Lofty Lakes Loop in the Uintas is a beautiful 4 mile loop that takes you past several high alpine lakes, a few cool overlooks, and is a relatively easy hike for most people. To make this route even better, add on a side trek to Cuberant Lake! It is one of the most popular trails along the Mirror Lake Highway, however don't let that stop you from hiking this loop at least once. This is one of the prettiest day hikes in the area! You can hike this loop in either direction, but counter-clockwise is a bit easier since the elevation gain is done near the beginning of the hike and it's more gradual this way.
Island Lake is one of many gorgeous lakes in the Uintas - it can be hard to choose which lake to visit. This lake offers a quick backpacking trip, cliff jumping, swimming, fishing, & solitude in the summer months. If you are feeling adventurous, you could even hike up to one of the three surrounding peaks. Hiking to Island Lake is an easy, family friendly hike, that even the dogs can join in on.
Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area is located in both Utah & Wyoming is home to 360 miles of shoreline, 43 campgrounds, 91 miles along the Green River, and endless trails to explore. The Flaming Gorge Dam was completed in 1964, and produces hydroelectric power. The most popular reason people visit the Flaming Gorge is for both rafting and fly fishing. Because it's a National Rec Area, dogs area allowed but must be leashed on all trails and at campgrounds. This area is very kid friendly - as many of the trails are out and back and you can choose your distance. For weekend trip we explore the Little Hole Trail, several overlooks, the Ute Fire Tower, and drove the Sheep Creek scenic loop drive. Read below to learn about each location!