Haystack Lake in the Uintas

Uinta mountains
Flowered meadow (really a bog) up in the Uinta mountains.

I am really fortunate to live in a state that is encouraging people to go outside (safely) and that I can easily find places that are absolutely empty. Go a little ways off the paved road and you’re pretty much on your own (especially if you go on a weekday). We took the Monday after July 4th off and headed up into the Uinta mountains for some fresh air and cooler temperatures. The Mirror Lake Highway is fully open now, and I will again state my preference for the non-Kamas side of you want solitude.

With no real destination in mind, we decided to visit a couple alpine lakes. Apparently to be called an “alpine lake,” a body of water (reservoir or lake) needs to be located over 5000 feet. This was off of Mirror Lake Highway (FR041), there are quite a few little lakes you can hike to and visit. To be fair, the first “lake” — as it was denoted on forest service maps — was really a natural spring that made a bog-like meadow. I’m not complaining, it was beautiful!

Natural spring
Origin of natural spring in the Uintas

The stream from the spring meanders through the meadow/bog and there are quite a few wildflowers in bloom now. Yes, the water was COLD. I don’t think this spring/stream is named that I could find. There is a nice little primitive camping spot and fire ring (metal) in front of the meadow/bog (see first picture, that’s the camping spot, great view!). Didn’t see any animals here (aside from a frog) but saw lots of deer tracks.

Frog
Uinta Frog

The view is absolutely beautiful. We walked across the meadow/bog, it’s a bit squishy but not too bad.

Uinta Mountain Meadow
Uinta Mountain Meadow

From the meadow/bog we continued up and visited Haystack Lake (with a view of Haystack Mountain). There are a TON of great camping spots along the east side of the lake. Some kind person has stacked firewood at them as well.

Haystack Lake
Haystack Lake

I saw a couple fish jumping, and supposedly the lake has Brook and Cuttroat Trout. Only 2 waterlilies were blooming (yellow ones).

There is a trail around the lake, or you can try to go along the shoreline (it gets pretty mucky). The west side has game trails going up the mountain too. We didn’t see any animals here, but heard something that may have been a moose. Or elk. Also saw moose tracks in the mud.

Haystack Lake origin
Haystack Lake origin

The only animal I saw was a chipmunk. Still pretty cute. Overall, a nice place for solitude, a little hike, and great scenery.

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