Haystack Lake Group
Western Uinta Mountains
June 2013 - 72 photos

Friday the 21st of June, 2013, five of us went for our first summer hike. Cheryl, Marlene, Bill, Larry, and myself. We chose the lakes along the eastern side of Haystack Mountain in the Western Uinta's this time. We had been there once before in the fall of 2010, and wanted to see what it looks like in early summer with more water in the lakes, and greener country.

It was very green this time, that's for sure, and with more water in the lakes they looked better too. It was a bright sunny day, but a little cool starting out. At 10,000 feet above sea level, it is cold in the mornings. Also there was a breeze blowing all day. Later when it warmed up, the breeze felt nice, but not at first.

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Haystack Lake, one of the main lakes near Haystack Mountain - We enjoyed seeing them this time in summer

We started out from the Crystal Lake Trailhead between Trial Lake and Washington Lake. There are a number of other trails that start out from there as well, and we have hiked them all. We walked south down through the Washington Lake campgrounds to Washington Lake, then crossed the dam and followed the lake south. Washington Lake is one of the larger lakes, and is longest running from north to south. Walking along that was a third of our hike. At the south end of Washington is one called Tail Lake. It's actually the tail of Washington Lake. When the lakes are full, they become one lake, but as the water level goes down, they become separated. At the south end of Tail Lake we left the trail and followed the creek coming down from above, heading up to Shadow Lake. A little past Shadow Lake we headed for Rock Lake and Azure Lake. There is no trail to these lakes, as they are surrounded by a large field of boulders, boulders the size of cars and trucks, even busses. There are small ones too, and it was difficult hopping from small to large boulders and back. Many are tipped on edge, making it hard to walk on them.

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The Boulder Field, more than a thousand feet across - see Bill in the picture for size

It was the most difficult part of the hike, and fairly dangerous. Some of us fell down a few times. No major injuries other than cracked ribs and broken tailbones. My advice, think twice before trying it.

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Rock Lake, right up against Haystack Mountain - Nice to see it full of water

After visiting these two lakes, we crossed over a narrower section of the rocks on the way out, then went down a steep hill to see Haystack Lake. I didn't check my GPS, thinking I knew where I was going, and we ended up in a large meadow.
I checked my GPS at that point and found we were south of Haystack Lake by about 500 feet. It didn't take long to find it.

I knew there was a trail going from Haystack Lake back to Shadow Lake and Washington Lake, so we looked around until we found it, then followed it back to the car.

The hike took us about 7 hours, and was 6.7 miles total. Not much altitude change on this one, only 254 feet, but we did it a few times going each way. We were all tired at the end, and I think it was that boulder field that did us in. Was it worth it? Sometimes I wonder... Later that evening I didn't think so, but a few days after I felt pretty good again. Now looking at these photographs, it brings back all the beauty we saw, without going through the pain.

Between us, we took a lot of pictures. It's going to be very difficult deciding which ones to show you.

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Azure Lake - This and Rock Lake are circled by that huge boulder field

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 left off SR 150, don't turn right for Trial Lake, but take the next right up past Washington Lake Campgrounds to the parking area for Crystal Lake and Notch Mountain Trailheads. Walk south down through the Washington Lake Campgrounds, and follow the lake edge around the east side and go south. If you would rather start this hike farther south, don't take either right turn, but go straight up the hill until the road becomes dirt, marked 'Spring Canyon Road'. You can continue along this road and the many trails on the right go up to different lakes along the base of Haystack Mountain.

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Related Photos

Haystack Lakes, 2010
Haystack Lakes, 2010
 Haystack Lakes, 2010

More Uinta Hikes
 More Uinta Hikes

My photos were taken with a small Canon Powershot, SX280, 12 Megapixel Camera which has Image Stabilazation and a lens going from wide angle to 20x optical zoom. Some of these photos were taken by Marlene with her Canon Powershot SX260, also a 12 Megapixel Camera with a lens going from wide angle to 20x optical zoom. Other photos were taken by Bill Joy with his Olympus E620 SLR and lens assortment.

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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