Guardsman Pass is a year-round outdoor conduit for hikers, mountain bikers, backcountry skiers and snowmobile enthusiasts. In the winter the road is plowed about a mile up Guardsman Pass Road, but it is left covered in snow beyond that. Find legal parking alongside the road and continue up the snow-covered road to the pass. It usually is very packed down because of the many snowmobiles on this trail. You will only need full snowhshoes after a recent, large storm or if you plan on going into the less tracked places beyond the lookout. From the pass you will have many options to continue further if you like. Bloods Lake and Lackawaxen Lake, Peak 10420, Clayton Peak, Scott's Bypass, Park City, Midway and Heber City can all be accessed from Guardsman Pass. You're likely to come across many forms of outdoor recreation here and lots of people getting after it. This hike follows the summer road, so the gradient isn't as steep as many other hikes in the area. The mellow terrain allows you to enjoy the incredible views. Every direction you look is another snowy peak, near and far. There are incredible views to the south and west, in particular along Brighton and Solitude ski resorts below. It is quick, easy, has a low avalanche danger, and can be the start of many other adventures.
Sunrise is really the time to be here to avoid the crowds as much as possible. Frequent snowmobile traffic can make the area hard to enjoy for hikers, so it's worth going at low frequency times. Also, the view looks east at the top of the saddle, so it's great to be rewarded with the new day's sun on your face. There is even another route option while heading back if the snowpack does not pose a threat. Skip the long road home and just drop into the canyon below to the west. It links up with the road, and you can even use the large high-powered electrical lines as a heading: They will lead you right back to the summer road while giving you a cool trek through the aspen with fresher snow. It is much more fun and a lot quicker, but if the conditions are questionable, please go back on the way you came which is much safer. Check your conditions at the Utah Avalanche Center before you head into the Wasatch during winter.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.