Wasatch Range Backpacking

The Wasatch Mountains make up Salt Lake City’s eastern border and then continue north, bordering other northern Utah cities and up into Idaho. The range supports lush alpine forests, waterfalls, rushing streams, quiet lakes, grassy meadows dotted with wildflowers, and belt-notch-worthy peaks.

The heart of nearby Salt Lake City beats with business, culture, education, traffic, and all the accoutrements of metropolitan living. But unlike most other metropolitan areas, the lush, beautiful Wasatch Range with its many canyons sit on the very borders of the city and offer hiking opportunities within minutes of its hustle and bustle. These trails lead into the depths of the glorious, green mountains and the respite they offer. The outdoor lifestyle available in Utah draws many to the area.

While many of the best hikes in the Wasatch are day hikes, there are also several great opportunities for those who want to go backpacking. To help you plan your trip, we are sharing a few of the best backpack trips in the Wasatch Mountains.

1. Red Pine Lake: 6.8 miles. A consistent climb up Red Pine Fork brings you to one of Utah’s popular high-mountain lakes. Popular with day hikers and often a destination for overnighters, this is one of Little Cottonwood Canyon's most beloved hikes.

2. Lone Peak Area via Lake Hardy: 12 miles. An overnight backpack through the heart of Utah’s first congressionally designated wilderness, featuring spectacular geologic formations, alpine ridges and valleys, and panoramic views of northern Utah.

3. Lake Blanche: 7 miles. Lake Blanche is popular so consider doing this overnight backpack on a weekday rather than a weekend. The hike provides a climb through shaded forest, up canyon meadows, and over glacially cut quartzite to three lakes at the top of the canyon: Lake Blanche and her sister lakes, Lillian and Florence, to the west.