Difficulty: Moderate ◼︎
Length: 9 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 1,100 feet
Dog Friendly: Yes
Trailhead coordinates (copy + paste): 40.6819, -110.9629
Directions: Enter the Uintas via Kamas, on the Mirror Lake Highway. This road is seasonal and can only be accessed from mid/late May through early/mid November. Check UDOT's traffic website for current status. After 27 miles turn left towards Trial Lake and stay on the paved road until you come to the dirt parking lot. There are two trailheads from here—take the one closer to the lot entrance, which starts behind the large map. Forks along the trail are marked with small metal signs, follow the ones for Notch Mountain all the way to the lake. Note: bring $6 cash or a check. You will need to get a self-serve 1-3 day recreation pass at the trailhead.
A great day hike that showcases the best of the Uintas, the trail to Ibantik Lake is a scenic and diverse one. Though longer than some of the area's great backpacking trails, this path gains minimal elevation and starts close to Kamas via paved roads, making it easy to do as an afternoon adventure. The trail itself is of classic Uintas style; a rocky, unshaded path that gains elevation at a mild rate.
The trail navigates past Wall Lake, Hope Lake, and a handful of other smaller lakes before reaching a rocky pass that bridges the gap between Notch Mountain and it's unnamed 11,217-foot neighbor. Switchbacks lead up and over the pass, providing far-reaching views over the lake-covered basins that hug both sides. This is the steepest part of the hike, but even here the incline never becomes more than moderate. While descending the other side of the pass, you'll wind around at least six more lakes, the largest being Lovenia Lake. The trail suddenly opens up at the shores of Ibantik Lake, whose teal waters are encased by the rocky cliffs of Notch Mountain on three sides. Mountain goat sightings are common here, so be on the lookout for fluffy friends.