Haystack Lake Group
Western Uinta Mountains
September 2010 - 70 photos

On the 22nd of September, 2010, Marlene, Judy, Don, Bill, and I went hiking up in the Uinta Mountains for the last time this summer. For this hike we decided to check out some lakes along the east side of Haystack Mountain, just south of Trial Lake and Washington Lake. None of us had hiked in this area before, and we didn't really know what to expect. We had planned the hike about 10 days earlier, and as the time approached the weather forecast for Wednesday changed from good to bad. In the beginning we had 10 people lined up to go, but as Wednesday drew close some changed their minds and we were down to 5. We were thinking of changing the hike to another day, but a few could only go on Wednesday, so we decided to drive up there and check it out. Because the area is 110 miles from home, we really had to be there to see what conditions were like.

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Haystack Lake, one of the main lakes near Haystack Mountain. These lakes are beautiful with the fall colors.

When we got to the Trial Lake area the clouds were moving across the sky quite fast, and conditions were changing constantly. We decided to give it a try anyway, as it didn't look too bad at the time. we then drove down Spring Canyon Road, a dirt road south of Trial Lake, to the southern end of where we were going to hike, so that when finished it would be more down hill back to the car. As it turned out, it's about the same amount of climbing either way.

About half way along the hike, the bad weather caught up with us. We were crossing a huge boulder field, when the wind picked up and the black clouds rolled in. There was thunder all around us, so we crawled in between some big rocks to wait it out. Didn't really see much lightning though. When it comes to lightning, rocks are safer than trees, so we felt pretty safe. It didn't rain enough to even get us wet, and the storm passed over in about 20 minutes. When the sun came back out we voted to continue on and visit the rest of the lakes.

About the time we got up to Washington lake it was clouding up again. Bill and I decided to go cross country looking for the road back to the car, while the others went on up to the campgrounds were they could find shelter if necessary, but there was no rain and the sun came out again. As we were driving back, Bill and I found them waiting for us along the road.

Even though it was early in the day, and there were other lakes to check out, we decided to head for home. The weather was just too unstable and it's good we did leave, because we hadn't been on the road 20 minutes when we were hit by a heavy downpour of rain. Nice time to be back in the car... We walked 4.63 miles, and climbd 496 feet that day.

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Azure Lake, right up against Haystack Mountain, another really nice lake.

I think we all had an enjoyable day, even though it wasn't the nicest day for a hike. I'm glad we went, as I had never been in this area before. To see all of the lakes required climbing across some pretty bad boulder fields. Now I understand why the main trail doesn't go past Azure Lake and Rock Lake. Building a trail through there would be impossible. Many maps show Azure Lake and Rock Lake with the wrong names, transposed, but I found online that they were originally named as I show them here. Makes sense when you actually see Rock Lake.

There are many other lakes in the area, like off to the east were two more lakes shown on the map, Shoestring and Shallow Lakes, but they were dried up when we were there. There were more lakes to the south as well, but we didn't check them out. I think this hike would be better in the early summer when the lakes are full. Rock Lake didn't look very good without water, and Tail Lake and Washington Lake were really low, looking very bad with wide muddy shorelines.

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This is Shadow Lake, we liked this one the best.

CLICK for GPS map of our trek

To get to the Trial Lake area, take SR 150 from Kamas Utah, or Evanston Wyoming, going towards Mirror Lake. A few miles south of Bald Mountain Pass, and just up hill from Provo Falls, the road makes a large half circle turn. In the middle of this turn is a side road leading to Trial Lake. After turning off SR 150, don't turn right for Trial Lake, but go straight up the hill until the road becomes dirt, marked 'Spring Canyon Road'. You can continue along this road and the trails on the right go up to different lakes. If you would rather start at the Washington Lake end, take the second right to the parking lot for Crystal Lake Trailhead. Walk west down through the Washington Lake Campgrounds, and follow the lake edge around to the south.

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My photos were taken with a small Canon Powershot, SX210, 14 Megapixel Camera which has Image Stabilazation and a lens going from wide angle to 14x optical zoom. Some of these photos were taken by Bill Joy with his Olympus E620 SLR and lens assortment. Judy took some of the photos with her Canon Digital Reble Xti SLR, and assortment of lenses.

These photos are set to lower resolution and compressed 10:1 for faster loading. You are welcome to look at or download any of the photos. If you use them on any other webpage, please give credit and refer back to me.

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