The Ruth Lake, Lofty Lake, and Scout Lake Trail

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
2.5-3.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
7.9 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
351 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The Ruth Lake, Lofty Lake, and Scout Lake Trail is a fantastic hike east of Park City, Utah. With primitive camping available at each lake, this trail can be a great introduction to backpacking, or simply done as a day-hike. We recommend this trail for lightly experienced hikers and/or families with older children who are looking to enjoy a day exploring the Utah wilderness.

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Route Description for The Ruth Lake, Lofty Lake, and Scout Lake Trail

The Ruth Lake, Lofty Lake and Scout Lake Trail is a gorgeous hike in the Western Uintas. This trail is moderately challenging, with some steep and rocky sections. Proper hiking footwear is essential, and we recommend bringing along a set of hiking poles to assist in the uphill sections and save your knees some strain on the way back down. This trail can be quite buggy in the summertime, especially around dusk, but it’s nothing that a little bit of bug spray can’t solve.

Despite the bugs, this trail is incredible in the summer. With wildflowers galore and opportunities to go for a dip on one of the pristine lakes along the way, the Ruth Lake, Lofty Lake, and Scout Lake Trail is the perfect place to enjoy a summer day. Dogs are welcome to join you on this trail; please respect the area’s on-leash/off-leash signage, and please pick up after your pup so everyone can enjoy their time on this trail.

From the Ruth Lake trailhead, follow the path west along the Hayden Fork to a divide in the trail. Stay right at the split to continue on to Ruth Lake. At Ruth Lake, follow the path on the north shore around the lake, then head southwest along the Ruth Lake Trail for approximately half a mile to a divide. At this divide. Take the path on your right for an out-and-back to Lofty Lake and the path on your left to an out-and-back to Scout Lake.

After checking out the two lakes, simply follow your footsteps back to Ruth Lake, then back to the trailhead where you began.

Trail Highlights

Scout Lake Camp Steiner

On your hike to Scout Lake, you will notice a collection of tents and buildings on the lake's southeast shore. This facility is Camp Steiner: the highest-elevation boy scout camp in the United States of America. Camp Steiner is named after a Salt Lake City Linen Tycoon named George A. Steiner, who funded the Camp's construction in 1930. Since its construction, Camp Steiner has hosted hundreds of thousands of boy scouts and currently welcomes approximately 50,000 scouts each year.

Camp Steiner is not only a renowned scout camp; it is also a place of legend. It is believed that the secret, lost mines of the Rhodes Family are hidden somewhere in the area of Camp Steiner, just waiting to be unearthed. In the 1800s, the Rhodes family were wealthy members of the LDS church who, under the direction of church leader Brigham Young, mined gold alongside the Ute Tribe in the Uinta Mountains. Members of the Rhodes family never revealed the location of these mines, and the secret died with them. Diaries about the mines—kept by the last surviving son of the Rhodes Family, Caleb Rhodes—allude to a "heart shaped lake surrounded by castles." Locals believe that this heart-shaped lake is, in fact, Scout Lake and that the "castles" are code for the nearby peaks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I swim in Ruth Lake, Lofty Lake, and Scout Lake?

Yes, the water is cold, but swimming is permitted in Ruth Lake, Lofty Lake, and Scout Lake.

Can you fish in Scout Lake, Ruth Lake and Lofty Lake?

Yes, fishing is permitted in Scout Lake, Lofty Lake, and Ruth Lake. The primary species in these lakes is Brook Trout.

Insider Hints for The Ruth Lake, Lofty Lake, and Scout Lake Trail

  • Due to the high elevation, snow can linger on this trail up until mid-June.
  • Bring a camera with you on this hike! The views along the Ruth Lake, Lofty Lake, and Scout Lake Trail are absolutely gorgeous.

Getting to the The Ruth Lake, Lofty Lake, and Scout Lake Trail Trailhead

From Kamas, Utah, head east out of town on Highway 150. Stay on highway 150 for 34.0 mi and look for the Ruth Lake parking area on the west side of the highway, just past the Butterfly Lake Campground. The Ruth Lake, Lofty Lake, and Scout Lake Trail begins here.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Primitive Camping at Ruth Lake

  • When to do

    April to September

  • Pets allowed

    Yes

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

The Ruth Lake, Lofty Lake, and Scout Lake Trail Elevation Graph

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The Ruth Lake, Lofty Lake, and Scout Lake Trail Reviews

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