At the parking area, the trail starts next to the restroom. Stay on the wider one when it splits. The trail heads toward the rocky face and switchbacks up the mountain.
The switchbacks are like nature's staircase, giving you a great workout with a view. Looking out over the valley, one can see Mount Timpanogos in the far distance. Watch your footing on the loose rocks and steep vertical sides on the switchbacks.
At 0.6 miles you leave the switchbacks and arrive at the plateau. The plateau is rock covered with dwarf conifers growing in patches. The trees give up growing on the high plateau and disappear around 11,500 feet.
At one mile, you leave the plateau and make the last extended climb to the top. There are a few dangerous drop-offs as the trail goes over the boulder field. Among the boulders lies a stone staircase, which I named "Stairway to Heaven." Looking up, you see blue sky and feel as though you are heading into the clouds.
At the top of the stairs, the trail opens to views of the peak. On the peak, the 360 degree view is stunning. I don't recommend this hike to families with small children, because of dangerous drop-offs.
Sitting on top of the Uintas: Now that is living!
Directions: It's about a 95-minute drive to the trailhead from Salt Lake City. In Kamas, take U.S. Highway 150 (Mirror Lake Highway) and drive to the summit. Park at Bald Mountain Picnic Area.
Round trip: 4 miles
Hiking time: 3 to 4 hours
Elevation gain: 1,160 feet
Trailhead restrooms: Yes
Dogs allowed: Yes
Three-day pass: $6