Hiking Around Mirror Lake, Utah

Hiking Around Mirror Lake, UtahLocated high in the Uintah mountains along a scenic byway of the same name, Mirror Lake draws many hikers, campers and other outdoor enthusiasts. At Mirror lake, you will enjoy the cold, clear water, coniferous pines, quaking aspen and plentiful wildlife.

The Uintah mountain range is the highest in Utah, reaching over 13,000 feet in elevation at King's Peak. It is the only mountain range in the lower 48 United States that runs east to west. The High Uintah Wilderness area was established in 1984 by Congress and encompasses 460,000 acres of beautiful country.

The Lake and Trails

There is a large campground at Mirror Lake and it is very popular for hikers, as well as fishing enthusiasts. The lake is well-stocked with trout every year. The elevation at Mirror Lake is 10,000 feet. The lake is 36 feet deep and has a surface area of 53.4 acres. There are trailheads to be found everywhere from Mirror Lake and back along Highway 150. The area is populated with many small lakes that all offer great hiking. Try Butterfly Lake, Trial Lake, Lilly Lake, Washington Lake, Lost Creek and Moosehorn Lake. All are accessible from U.S. Highway 150.

When to Go

The Uintahs receive as much as 40 inches of snow every year. Temperatures are cold in this high elevation; high temperatures barely reach 80 degrees, and night-time lows can be as cold as 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

The roads in the high Uintahs do not open until June. Many trails, especially up by Mirror Lake, will not be accessible until mid-July. August tends to be the most popular month for hiking and backpacking. By late September, the area may be prone to frequent rain and hikers can easily be caught in an early snowstorm.

How to Get There

Reach Mirror Lake on the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway--U.S. Highway 150. This highway runs for 42 miles and is paved. It goes from Kamas, Utah to Evanston, Wyoming. From Kamas, go 31.5 miles east to the lake. The highway gets its name because of its obvious beauty. Car travelers can often see wildlife from the road, and the pine trees fill the air with their scent. You will want to roll your windows down as you travel in order to take in the crisp, clean mountain air and hear the birds.
Kamas Ranger District
Wasatch Cache National Forest

Hazards to Hikers

The high Uintahs is beautiful, but can also be dangerous. The area is known for black bears and moose are plentiful. Keep food out of your tent to avoid attracting bears, and never approach a moose. Lightning is common in this area. Sudden thunderstorms occur frequently in the summer. If you see a storm approaching, climb down from tall peaks and take cover. Hypothermia is another hazard. It is very cold in the area around Mirror Lake, even during summer months, and snowstorms have been known to occur in August. If you get wet, try to dry yourself as soon as possible. Bring rain gear to stay dry.

Article Written By Cate Rushton

Cate Rushton has been a freelance writer since 1999, specializing in wildlife and outdoor activities. Her published works also cover relationships, gardening and travel on various websites. Rushton holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Utah.

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