9.4 miles (loop)
6 1/2 hours
2,400 ft. gain/ loss
Fish Lake Trailhead (start): 8,000 ft.
Fish Lake:10,180 ft.
ridge above Fish Lake: 10,400 ft.
The first part of the trail is well used and easy to follow.
The return portion of the trail from Fish Lake back to
the road is sometimes vague, but the route is so well
defined that a good trail is not really necessary.
Midsummer through mid-fall. The higher parts of the trail
are usually covered with snow from mid-November until
late June. For current conditions call the Kamas Ranger
District, Wasatch-Cache National Forest, at (801) 783-4338.
40 miles east of Heber, near Oakley
Lake is a perfect example of why it is so imperative that
we preserve the best of Utahs wild lands while we
still can. Cut off from the High Uintas Wilderness Area
by the Mirror Lake Highway, Fish Lake is located just
above the beautiful Weber River Drainage on the western
end of the Uintas. Conservationists have long pleaded
that this region should be given wilderness protection
too, but it is probably too late now for Fish Lake to
be included. There are currently active housing developments
within four miles of the lake, and the pressure to use
the areas resources is unrelenting. Fish Lake is
being used as a reservoir by the nearby inhabitants, and
its shores are marred by the presence of dead trees, killed
by fluctuating water levels. Also, ATV trails now climb
the ridge east of the lake, and before too many more years
they will almost certainly reach the lake itself.
the parking area the trail heads northeast through the
aspen trees for 0.2 miles before reaching Dry Fork. In
spite of the name, Dry Fork is seldom dry and must be
forded (usually not a problem). The trail then climbs
a few hundred feet above the north side of the creek for
the next 1.3 miles, finally dropping back down to the
stream in the middle of a small clearing for another crossing.
Dont be confused at this point by the presence of
another primitive trail that continues along the north
side of Dry Fork. The trail up to the lakes lies on the
south side of the creek.
After crossing Dry Fork,
the trail leaves the water and begins a long slow ascent
for the next 2.1 miles to Round Lake, the smallest of
the three lakes you will pass on this hike. At 9,950 feet,
Round Lake is 230 feet lower than Fish Lake and well below
timberline. It is situated in a grassy meadow, surrounded
by lodgepole pine and spruce, with a nice camping area
on its northern shore.
From Round Lake the trail
climbs higher to Sand Lake (larger, but no grass around
the sides), and finally, after 1.2 miles, to Fish Lake.
Fish Lake is the source of the Dry Fork, and there is
a small dam on its eastern side where the trail meets
the lake. The flow through the dam is regulated to assure
that there is always water running down the Dry Fork.
The L-shaped lake is scenically situated at the base of
a rocky ridge with one side of the L parallel to the ridge.
The shores are also very rocky, but there are a few good
camp sites on the northern side.
The trail seems to end at
the dam, but if you proceed along the northern shore to
the western end of the lake you will see another obvious
trail starting up the ridge in a westerly direction from
the corner of the L. The trail climbs 200 feet to the
top of the ridge and then follows the crest back towards
the road. The upper part of the trail is not well used
and may occasionally seem to disappear. But dont
be concerned if you have trouble following the trail.
Just continue along the top of the ridge. Walking is very
easy through the open forest, and as long as you stay
on the ridge you cant really get lost. After 3.0
miles you will come to a saddle where the trail drops
off the ridges western side. Beyond the saddle the
ridge heads abruptly upward to the top of a small peak.
But the trail is very distinct as you approach the saddle,
so you really dont have to worry about missing the
The last 1.3 miles of trail,
from the ridge to the road below, has been seriously degraded
by ATVs driving up and down the mountain. The trail is
occasionally completely obliterated by the ATV roads.
About 0.5 miles before reaching the bottom you will encounter
a steep, narrow gravel road which is part of the Alpine
Acres Subdivision. Just follow this new road downhill
until it reaches the main access road near the Weber River.
When you reach the main road turn right and walk 0.3 miles
back to your car.
provided by David
Day of utahtrails.com. Click here to order his book
Favorite Hiking Trails..