High in the Uinta Mountains near the headwaters of the Weber River sits Ibantik Lake. With sparkling teal waters and towering cliffs, Ibantik provides alpine scenery comparable to other harder-to-reach areas in the Uintas. Ibantik Lake makes for a good half-day hike or a quick overnight backpacking trip.
This trail is suitable for most hikers in good physical condition. Expect some steep and rocky sections and significant elevation change.
Access the Ibantik Lake trailhead from the Crystal Lake Trailhead in the Trial Lake area of the Uinta Mountains.
From Kamas, UT, continue east on Highway 150 for approximately 25 miles to the signed turnoff for Trial Lake.
The road passes by the Trial Lake and Washington Lake Campgrounds before ending at the Crystal Lake Trailhead.
The road is paved for all but the last quarter mile, and most passenger vehicles can handle it. The Crystal Lake Trailhead is very popular so finding a parking space can be a difficult on a busy summer weekend.
There are pit toilets at the trailhead.
NOTE: The Ibantik Lake Trailhead is part of the Mirror Lake Recreation Fee Area. You must display a recreation pass in your vehicle to park at the trailhead. Purchase passes at any of the self-serve kiosks in the area, the fee station at the forest boundary (east of Kamas), the Forest Service office in Kamas, or from local retailers.
The trail to Ibantik Lake begins from the north side of the parking lot on the signed trail for Wall Lake. It is important to choose the correct trail as there are several other trails that begin from the Crystal Lake Trailhead. Carry a map and compass in the event that signage is missing or damaged.
The trail starts by winding past Lily Lakes and then climbs a short distance to the south shore of Wall Lake, approximately 1 mile from the trailhead. The trail skirts along the shore for a short distance before heading back into the forest as it winds its way up to The Notch, passing a few small lakes and ponds along the way.
At approximately 2.6 miles from the trailhead, the trail reaches "The Notch" of Notch Mountain and the highest point of the hike at 10,620'. This is a great place to take a break and soak in the expansive views of the many peaks and lakes in the area. Keep an eye out for the resident herd of mountain goats while you're there. If you don't see them, you'll probably see their wool stuck in the small trees and bushes near the pass. As the trail descends the north side of The Notch, there are fine views of Lovenia Lake and the Weber River drainage ahead. At approximately 4 miles from the trailhead, the trail reaches the west shore of Ibantik Lake.
Ibantik Lake is part of a system of reservoirs throughout the High Uintas, so water levels can fluctuate dramatically from year to year, depending on snow conditions. The dam, located on the north shore, is constructed of stones gathered from the area. Those wishing to explore around the lake can make their way carefully across the north end to a social trail that follows along the east shore. During times of high water, it may not be possible to safely cross the outlet. Crossing on the south shore is not advisable as it is very loose and rocky.
The lake is surrounded by good campsites for those backpacking. Firewood can be scarce in the area, so you may want to go without. If you do intend to have a campfire, check current regulations first and only collect down and dead wood.
Fishing can be good at Ibantik Lake for small to medium Brook Trout.
Rules and Regulations
- Keep dogs under control at all times.
- No littering.
- Pack out what you pack in.
- This trail is moderately strenuous, particularly as it crosses over The Notch. Make sure all members of your group are in good physical condition and capable of a moderately strenuous hike with some steep sections and loose, rocky terrain.
- Snow can be a problem early in the season, particularly on the north side of The Notch.