This was my second alpine backpacking adventure back to back in the Salt Lake City region, out past Park City and beyond passed the small town of Kamas, Utah. This hike was different in the terrain, as well as the look and feel compared to the days I spent just before at Red Pine Lake. Both are top rated backpacking/hiking locations and certainly did not disappoint.
The hike moves past little ponds, lakes, and marshy areas rich with wildflowers. The elevation change steepens as you move up to the “Notch” allowing wonderful views in both directions. I was greeted by the most beautiful mountain goats up on the cliffs above. Heading down the other side I found more examples of splendid wildflowers, and I thought to myself, if you had unlimited funds and a team of landscapers you still could not recreate what God has done.
I arrived at Ibantik Lake and set up my camp that would be my home for the next couple nights. It was a great spot with the major feature being the rock ‘Notch Mountain’ Cliff at the base of the lake, towering over a 1000’ above Ibantik Lake which sits at about 10,000 feet.
The next day I explored the other side of the lake where it was much greener, had plenty of primitive backpacking camp sites, forest, meadows, babbling brook, a mountain peak with a little snow, and a wonderful little waterfall that was so perfect it looked like a water feature at a resort. But this of course, is nature’s resort.
Later that day a rain shower moved through and for 15 minutes I stayed in my tent. When I emerged there was a whole family of mountain goats right near me on a little rocky ridge. So Cool! Then a couple hours later it rained even harder for 3 hours! Ugh! That was more than my 15 year old tent could manage I suppose, as it was leaking from the ceiling, and water was pooling up from the bottom. Here I was huddled on my inflatable sleeping bad trying to keep my sleeping bag dry while I had dripping coming down from above. I was pondering a cold, wet uncomfortable night if everything is damp, as even in the summer the nights dipped down into the high 30’s. Luckily about an hour or so before sunset the clouds parted and the sun-shined. I took everything apart and laid it out in the sun and the breeze to dry out my gear, so it was all good.
This was a wonderful hike. Ibantik Lake Trail is a special place. I highly recommend it.
Just a beautiful area.
This backpacking adventure started out special right from the beginning with this nice stream and little falls.
This adventure had wildflowers that were off the charts. In this marshy area there was an abundance of color and beauty.
As I hiked through the “Notch” the highest point of my hike I looked up to a spectacular sight, gorgeous mountain goats on the cliffs above.
This is from the top of the Notch looking out over the Ibantik Lake area. This region is full of little alpine lakes and ponds.
Ibantik lake is roughly 10,000’ Notch Mountain in the background rises above 11,000.
This area is on the opposite shore from my camp. It has many more sites, greenery, a peak with a little snow, and a waterfall.
After an afternoon rain I emerged from my tent to be pleasantly surprised by a family of mountain goats. There are two in the picture. The little ones had just bound over the little ridge by the time a clicked this photo.
My home for a couple nights, amongst the stars, the firs, and the boulders.
Distance: Trailhead to Red Pine Lake round trip 7 miles, (if you add Upper Red Pine Lake and secret falls 10 total miles), elevation change: 2,100’ (if you add the second lake perhaps another 500’), rated: Hard
Red Pine Lake Trail is one of the top 10 backpacking destinations in Utah. It did not disappoint. It seemed like the hiking I have done around Southern California was leading to this. It was really spectacular. The trail was steep, hard and a workout. Most people did it as a day hike and obviously not hauling a heavy back would make a big difference, but staying on the lake at night was so special that I stayed two nights.
When I arrived on a Sunday late afternoon I was able to find a spot to park despite how popular this hike is mostly because people were finishing their hike about the time I was arriving. So I had to push myself harder than I wanted so that I would arrive before dark. Well, being steep with a large elevation gain and at a fairly high altitude it was taking longer than I planned.
I was close to my destination, but now it was dark, and my newest headlamp’s batteries were too low to give me any assistance. I pulled out my backup and it was an old model and didn’t help much either. I have a nice backpacking lantern and that was going to have to do. I arrived at the lake in pitch dark and was unsure of a place to camp. Lucky for me I could see a couple headlamps around part of the lake and I headed in that directions. I met a couple nice young men whom were also there for the first time and the pointed out a good place to pitch my tent. On this Sunday night we had the place to our selves.
I got settled in for the night and about an hour or so later I could see and hear the approaching storm. It wasn’t long before we were feeling the wrath of nature with a intense thunderstorm, strong wind, lightning and thunder, and it rained for about an hour. I could hear my neighbors talking amongst themselves, “What do you want to do pack it in and head home?” The more experienced of the two told him the only concern that he had was the trees overhead and either a bolt hitting them or perhaps the winds bringing down a limb. He decide that the tree was okay and we all road out the storm just fine.
The next morning I hiked up through the woods, as far as I could, and across a boulder field to a ridge above. I have been given a tip by a fit young couple that were day hikers. They knew the area well and said to check out the second lake, Upper Red Pine Lake. There were several little amazing alpine lakes up there at the 10,000’ level and I was so thankful for the advice.
I worked my way down from above taking a little different route down a grassy area as far as I could before tackling the boulder field, and then along a wonderful stream and through the woods back to my camp.
The following morning I packed up and headed down. The views along the way were to die for. The trail was so beautiful with different type of trees, not only the fir trees, but the aspens were fantastic. I loved the sound of the leaves as the wind blew through them. The peak-a-boo views of the near by ridge were so outstanding that you didn’t want to take your eyes off of it. I saw one young women almost trip for that very reason.
Speaking of which, I don’t know what the deal was, but the trail hikers going up were 90% young, fit, attractive women. I even joked one group about that and I didn’t quite catch what she said it was either “that must be a treat”, or perhaps she said “it was a retreat”. But either way it was indeed a treat.
Three fourths of the way down I had heard about an unmarked trail right after a bridge that crossed rushing water. A quarter of a mile in was a superb waterfall. I hiked up both sides of the stream towards the falls, but the best trail and views were from the up hill trail. The waterfall topped off what was a fantastic adventure in the Wasatch National Forest. I highly recommend this hike, and if you get the chance to camp there all the better.
Map of trail to Red Pine Trail
There is just something about water tumbling over rock that frees your mind of the worry at least for the time you spend there.
Red Pine Lake is blooming awesome!
So pretty that it looks like someone planted it there.
On one side of the lake it was almost like a flower garden of wild flowers.
Looking out across the lake to the grove of firs is where I set up camp for a couple nights.
A view from the boulder field across at
There is no clear path to Upper Red Pine Lake. I worked my way through the wooded area as far as I could and then across the boulder field, but on the way down, I spied another route through a crassy area and then through the boulder field, and then the woods. All fun and adventurous.
For a rat, I thought this little critter was pretty cute.
Very dramatic shot of the hike along the babbling brook, through the boulder field across the top of the ridge to Upper Red Pine Lake
The bugs were pretty bad in places, so bug spray was in order and at times I even put on the mosquito netting.
Love the aspens and the sound of the leaves and the breeze.
The hike may be a bit strenuous but the views along the way are outstanding.
Looking out of the Valley, surprising that this stunning place is only 25 miles from Salt Lake City
There are different ways of crossing streams, wading through, hoping across rocks, crossing a log, or in this case there is a nice little log bridge.
Utah has some great hiking, so I invite you to get your blood pumping, breath some cool mountain air, smell the light scent of wildflowers, take in the beauty of nature, and set your soul free. This is Roger Jenkins and I hope to see you soon Pursuing Balance Through Adventure. Please COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW, and SHARE.