With mid-summer coming up, we had a list of hikes we wanted to get in (we didn’t even get to them all!) and we had a visitor mid-June. My younger sister had never been to Utah before and decided to come down for the weekend to visit us and see the area. We took her to the Salt Lake and she got to experience firsthand the smell of sulfur and those little flies that like to hang out in the sand. We went on a hike, viewed the popular Bridal Veil Falls, took a drive on the scenic Mount Nebo drive, watched a movie outside, and ate at Even Stevens, a sandwich shop that donates a sandwich to local shelters for every sandwich ordered. Pretty cool, right?
It was getting pretty warm in Utah by June and any errands or hiking needed to be done in the morning to avoid the hot afternoon sun. We experienced extreme heat when we were in Phoenix last summer and now were experiencing humidity and heat, something we haven’t had to deal with since living in Illinois five years ago. It’s amazing how your body forgets what that weather feels like!
We went hiking every other weekend during the summer and below is a quick recap of the hikes we did.
Bald Mountain: We decided to get away from the heat and drive two hours to the cool forest of western Utah. Bald Mountain is the only mountain in that area that has a maintained trail to the summit. Starting at 12,000 feet above elevation, we set out on the short two mile hike up to the top. We hit a tiny bit of snow on the trail when we first headed out and encountered a small patch of trees halfway up but otherwise, the trail was open. Once we reached the summit we understood why the mountain is called Bald. The top is covered in large boulders and rocks, no trees or grass. There were great views of Mirror Lake below, dozens of other lakes ,and the surrounding mountain peaks. After the hike we walked around Mirror Lake and saw others fishing and relaxing by reading a book or taking a nap. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.
Stewarts Falls: This waterfall is located by the well-known Sundance Mountain Resort. Known as one of Utah’s locations for the independent film fest, this two-tier waterfall towers over 200 feet tall and is a popular trail to hike. The trail descends first, flows through Aspen trees where valley views are seen throughout the hike, and then on the return it’s all uphill. It’s the kind of hike that Brad and I don’t like to do though–hiking down and then up again. When we hike we like to go up, getting the hardest part over with so we can enjoy taking in the views as we go downhill. Despite having the harder part on the return, the hike was well worth it. The waterfall towered over us and in front of the falls clear mountain views of Sundance were seen.
Lake Blanche: I overheard someone talking about this hike and then one of my Utah friends told me about it so we checked it out early one Sunday morning. It was going to be hot by the afternoon and the hike isn’t well shaded, so we headed out early in the morning. The first quarter mile was on a paved trail and then it turned to the right and was all rough rocks. It was a slow and gradually uphill hike and there was a nice, cool mountain breeze that made for a comfortable temperature.
We were shaded in the morning due to the sun rising over the mountains but on the way down it was all sunshine. We climbed through a small boulder field and hit the lake by late morning. It was chilly being in a basin between mountain peaks as the wind whirled around us so we didn’t stay too long. We could see Lake Blanch and we continued on the trail a bit more to see two smaller lakes. Once back on the main trail and going downhill, we were warm and couldn’t believe only a few minutes ago we were chilled. It was hot on the way down. We were glad to be done by early afternoon.
Lake Catherine: An Illinois friend told me about this hike and it happened to be our last Utah hike. There are two different starting points for this hike so we just picked one randomly. We started at the Brighton Ski Resort and it was uphill from the start. The first mile was hiking around the ski slopes and then we turned off into the mountain peaks.
While heading up we saw a perfect alpine lake: clear blue water surrounded by tall evergreens. We continued up, seeing grand views of the surrounding mountain range until we hit Lake Catherine. We read that sometimes moose are seen on the trail, but we didn’t see any. We hiked up past the lake a little bit to get a pano view of the mountains and the lake. The trail continued on to a higher peak, but we decided to turn around and enjoy the descent of the last mountain hike for a while . . at least in Utah.
The longest hike we did in Utah was Mount Timp. Since the hike is over fourteen miles, it took us almost eleven hours to complete, and is THE HIKE to do in Utah. It deserves its own blog post. That’s coming up next! I’m slowly catching up with blog posts so I appreciate your patience!
Till next time!