The wind wisping through the trees provided a calming soundtrack. Filtered sunlight kept us at that elusive ‘so perfectly balanced that neither hot nor cold are noticeable’ temperature.
One of the great aspects of living in Salt Lake City is the huge diversity of landscapes within a short drive. I’m becoming more familiar with the Wasatch Mountains, and I’ve made a few trips to explore the red rocks, hoodoos, and slot canyons of southern Utah. I finally had the opportunity to experience the beauty of the Uinta Mountains this weekend. Being just under an hour’s drive to the entrance of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest and boasting a bewildering number of lakes, it’s easy to see why this area is so popular with locals.
I’m planning on hiking King’s Peak later this summer, but because I’m pretty new to hiking as a serious hobby I wanted to see the area first hand before tackling an overnighter to Kings Peak. This trip didn’t really pan out as a recon exercise because Kings Peak is in a completely different area of the 1,376 square mile park, but I did get a small taste of overall beauty of the park.
Though the trail selection for the Uinta National Forest in this book is limited – probably due to the fact that only a small portion of the park falls within 60 miles of the city – Kim and I consulted our trusty 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Salt Lake City before heading out. We decided on an easy hike, the Fehr Lake Trail, loaded up the SUV with pups and gear, and hit the road.
Fehr Lake Trail
The Fehr Lake Trail is a great family friendly hike. Even with a starting altitude of 10,337′, the trail was populated by many an extended family with young children as well as older folks who didn’t appear to be regular hikers. You’re treated to small boardwalks over soggy, wildflower-dotted meadows, fir and spruce shaded sections, and numerous lakes and ponds that are the jewels of the hike. There are some slightly steeper sections of mud and rock, but no big deal with the right footwear.
We opted to continue on after the half-mile stroll to Fehr Lake past a couple of small, unmarked ponds to Shepard Lake. We didn’t have a detailed map with us, and after reading the tragic story of Carole Wetherton and her daughter Kim Beverly, I didn’t want to venture too far. We did lose the trail momentarily on the hike back, but given the topography of this particular hike, it was pretty easy to re-orient ourselves and find the trail just 15 yards or so away.
It Didn’t Bite
When mentioning the Uintas, you can’t avoid discussing mosquitos. Being a much wetter area than most of the rest of Utah, the little biters are more prevalent here. However, we didn’t find them to be too annoying on this hike. Maybe we were there at the right time of day. Maybe Kim’s little contraption provided enough cover for both of us. I waited to gauge the severity before spraying myself with repellant, but I ended up never needing to. I saw a few but never got bitten. Kim is a mosquito magnet, so she sprayed herself before the hike and wore the Clip-on. She didn’t get bitten either.
Despite arriving back to the car a muddy mess, we found this hike to be a great introduction to the Uintas. We plan on going back soon to camp and explore the area in more detail.