Lofty Lakes Loop

Uinta Mountains
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Lofty Lakes Loop

Distance: 7.2km
Elevation: 268m
Time: 2-3h

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A classic loop hike in the High Uintas, the Lofty Lakes Loops passes by several alpine lakes and yields fantastic views of Mount Marsell. The walk isn’t too challenging, and it yields fantastic views.

Getting there

From Kamas, drive along Utah 150 for 51.5km. Turn left, following signs to Pass Lake Trailhead. After Pass Lake there will be a little Hiker icon on a sign. Turn in and find parking at the Trailhead/Butterfly Campground.

About

When to do

Late Spring through Fall

Backcountry Campsites

Dispersed camping in National Forest

Toilets

Yes, at trailhead

Family friendly

Yes

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Moderate

Route Type

Circuit


Elevation


Detailed Description

You can complete this loop in either direction, both clockwise and counter – clockwise offer very similar experiences. This trail guide will describe going counter-clockwise. From the trailhead, head out to the right following signs for Scout and Lofty Lakes.

From the onset, the trail will begin to climb earnestly before passing a small tarn. You’ll reach Scout Lake in around 0.8km. Here the trail will plateau as you pass around the lake’s west side. Like most of the lakes in the area, Scout Lake is popular with anglers. There are many campsites on Scout’s southern and eastern flanks as well.

The trail will continue climbing north. The trail will start to veer to the west, and you will reach a trail junction where you’ll head left to continue towards Lofty Lake. You’ll gain a small pass, and then you will descend down to Lofty Lake. This is probably the most scenic view of the hike. You will be able to see down to Lofty Lake with Mount Marsell in the background.

After going around Lofty Lake, you will continue heading northwest before switchbacking down, heading south – directly underneath Mount Marsell. You will pass by Kamas Lake on your way down. The trail here is quite steep and rocky, so take care!

You will pass by two small ponds on your way down before the trail starts to veer to the left (east) again. Soon you will pass by a clearing with views of Reids Peak with Notch Mountain in the distance. The loop will finally close as you arrive back to the parking lot.

Insider Hints

  • If you end up completing the hike in the dead heat of summer, bring a towel to enjoy a dip in one of the stunning lakes.

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

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