Haystack Lake

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Haystack Lake

Distance: 5.2mi
Elevation: 279ft
Time: 2-3h

Difficulty Rating:

The quiet yet beautiful hike out to Haystack Lake quickly leaves the crowds of the Washington Lake area behind. Passing by three lakes en route, this stunning trail is a true gem for those wanting to enjoy the quiet and pristine aspects of the park.

Getting there

From Kamas take Utah 150 for 25.4mi before turning left towards the Washington Lake Campground and Crystal Lake Trailhead. Follow signs towards the Crystal Lake Trailhead, where you will find a parking lot. There is overflow parking near the Group Site.


When to do

June through September

Backcountry Campsites

Many opportunities in the wilderness of the Uintas


Yes, at trailhead

Family friendly


Route Signage


Crowd Levels


Route Type

Out and back


Detailed Description

Do not begin along the trail at the far end of the parking lot. Instead, go to the southwest edge of the parking area. You’ll find a very small trailhead behind the parked cars. There will be a sign pointing towards Washington and Haystack Lakes.

This trail leads down to the east side of Washington Lake, eventually arriving at the man-made damn at to the southeast edge. Cross the creek bellow the damn, then head back up to the lake. Upon arriving at a clearing, it can be difficult to find the trail again, however simply follow the built up retaining wall on the south side of the lake (to your right), and find the trail again further along.

As you continue around Washington Lake, the number of people you pass will severely plummet. You will finally pass the end of Washington Lake. There is a smaller lake attached to the end, known as Tail Lake.

As you continue hiking, the trail will start to gain some elevation as you pass Shadow Lake. The trail will veer to the left as you climb up and over a very small notch. After descending a short ways, you will come to a junction: turn to the right. You will continue to loop to the right and arrive at Haystack Lake.

From the lake, you will be able to see up to Haystack Mountain, but the quiet ambiance of the lake is even more beautiful. Enjoy the lake before returning the way you came.

Insider Hints

  • Camping at Haystack Lake makes for an incredible, beautiful, and easy one-night backpacking trip.

  • A recreation pass is required to park in the National Forest, which can be purchase throughout the park; however, a National Parks Pass is also accepted. Campsites.

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