While staying with close friends in Heber City, Utah, we set out on a fun Sunday hike in the Uinta National Forest. Their next door neighbors went with us and suggested Daniels Summit, not far from Strawberry Reservoir off of Highway 40 and about a 20-25 minute drive from Heber City. Since that’s my usual way to road trip to and from their house, I had seen Daniels Summit Lodge as I passed it and looked forward to exploring a new trail in Utah.
We parked at the far north end of the lodge’s parking lot, slipped through the gate and set off on our hike. It was a bit windy and all of us were dressed in layers of t-shirt, mid-layer half-zip or long sleeve shirt, and jacket. Our crew of five was made up of experienced hikers. The plan was a 5.5 mile trek, my longest this spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Normally this time of year I’ve logged a lot of trail miles. So, I was thrilled to hit the trail.
Shortly after we began, aspens lined both sides of the trail. They’re just start to leaf out and it felt like we were entering gates to spring.
We had to jump over a couple of logs and cross the stream stepping from rock to rock as we ventured deeper into the forest filled with aspens and conifers. We connected with the Foreman Trail and followed it up on a good steady incline with a couple of switchbacks to where the forest gave way to a meadow with a view of Daniels Canyon. It also made a great spot to snap a group pic of Dave, Heidi, Pam, me and even Sofie the hiking pup. We’re missing the other member of our hiking crew as Earl was the photographer.
As we entered back into the forest, we noticed more wildflowers like glacier lilies as we encountered a more swampy environment. It would have been a perfect spot to see a moose, but we didn’t see any. It did make a great photo for a picture of the three hiking gals.
Just as we entered the narrow canyon to follow the stream down to a campground, I saw an aspen with a marking that looks like a heart.
The trail traversed and followed a small stream moving quickly because of snowmelt. We hopped from rock to rock or carefully across logs when we needed to cross. There were a couple of bridges, but they looked like winter had gotten the best of them and we opted to rock hop instead of attempt the bridges. We followed the trail down this narrow canyon to the Lodgepole Campground.
From there we hiked a long steady climb back up to Daniels Summit Lodge only stopping to enjoy a beautiful field of yellow about halfway up.
If you want wildflowers, views, and mountain stream crossings, this is a hike for you!
Author Jennifer Broome is an avid hiker. For other hikes in Utah, check out her blogs on some of her favorite Utah hiking gems and Zion’s Overlook Trail.
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