Ruth Lake is a beautiful high alpine lake high in the Uinta Mountains. Like really high, over 10,000 feet in elevation high. A beautiful, short, heavily forested trail takes you to the shores of this stunning lake which is surrounded by high mountain peaks.
Length: .75 to the lake, 1.5 out and back plus whatever you do around the lake.
Difficulty: DR3. It was super easy, some elevation gain but nothing crazy.
Elevation Gain: About 400 Ft.
Restroom: There is a pit toilette at the trailhead.
Dogs? Yes, dogs are allowed, but must be restrained. Please clean up after your furry friend.
Fee Area: $6.00 per car for a 3 day pass. There are multiple areas to self serve your payment. I counted at least 4 on the way up.
Directions: From Kamas, take the Mirror Lake Highway about 35 miles up. You will pass Bald Mountain Pass, and Mirror Lake. The trailhead is on the left and is signed so you shouldn’t miss it.
Jordanalle Reservoir has plenty of people recreating on it today (DBP).
And onto the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway (DBP)!
The main ranger station, which is usually unmanned, did not have any fee envelopes! We weren’t really sure what we should do at this point, so took a picture in case I needed to show proof.
Luckily, there are several other places to pay the day use fee, so it was not a big deal. Phew! I don’t know know what the penalty is for not paying, but I am sure it is more than 6 bucks.
The next area to pay the fee. I believe this is still the Provo River.
Getting into the thick forest (DBP). I really love it up here.
I believe this is Bald Mountain (DBP). The pass next to it is at 10,759 feet in elevation. It is really the only part along the Mirror Lake Highway that makes me nervous at all. And it even really isn’t that bad, it’s just super windy.
I thought this was Mirror Lake, but looking closer, I believe it is Pass Lake (DBP). Still nice.
You can see the view from Bald Mountain Pass and the scenic Mirror Lake itself here.
And we have reached the trailhead!
View across the way, I believe this is Hayden Peak.
And I think this is Kletting Peak.
Indian Paint Brush.
The trail is pretty rocky, and there are spots with rocky steps like this.
One of the open meadows.
The creek. Nice and clear.
The trail through the trees.
Lots of boulders through here.
Part of the trail goes over solid rock, so they lined the path so you don’t lose your way.
And a cool rock bridge. Neat!
Landis kept asking me if we had done this trail before, and I kept telling him no. I have never done it in my life. I asked if maybe he did it before we met? He wasn’t sure, until we hit this bridge and he definitely remembered being here before. He doesn’t have the weird… I guess you might call it almost photographic memory that I have with nature, (seriously, there is something wrong with me, I can recognize places I’ve been from even terrible photos) but he does remember doing this trail at some point.
The rock slab bridge. Pretty neat feat! I wonder how they managed it.
It is absolutely breathtaking up here!
Big pair of trees that fell over and took a good clump on land with them.
Another nice meadow with a stream. Reminds me of our adventure at nearby Washington Lake.
Pretty impressive cairn with I believe Kletting Peak in the background.
And with what I think is Hayden Peak.
Indian Paint Brush.
And the creek again.
Wildflowers next to the clear clear creek.
I’m not sure if this peak is named.
Sign for the lake. This is, well, fancier than most US Forest signs, and looks pretty old.
Another boulder field.
I’m pretty sure this isn’t it.
Again, I don’t think we have quite made it.
But again, very lovely.
Caught a great shot of a robin flying off. This particular robin let us get closer to it than most birds do. But when it did finally startle off, I got a great shot of it.
I thought this might be it… but again, no. Keep hiking.
With Hayden Peak in the background.
The creek and a peak.
And we have made it! Ruth Lake in all it’s glory! We decided to walk around it and explore some.
Fun curved tree.
Ruth Lake and unknown peak.
Cool formation off of this other unknown peak.
Ruth Lake is fairly large.
And pretty clear too.
Side creek. I suspect this might come from the nearby lake we tried to find.
Ruth Lake with Hayden Peak. A little too much wind to get any mirror like affect.
Another old sign.
There are a couple little springs near the back end of the lake.
Some lily pads too.
The far end of the lake offers a great view of it below Hayden Peak.
And a panoramic from back here.
Got to enjoy a woodpecker going to work on this fallen log.
There were a couple wood peckers pecking a way around us so I decided to pull out the telephoto. It was actually pretty neat watching them go to work, and strip off large chunks of bark rather quickly.
The lake and some flowers.
Well we certainly enjoyed the lake, but I still had a lot of energy in me and I thought I remembered seeing a nearby lake on one of the maps I looked at. I found a trail that continued up so we decided to go for it. I mean, there are over 1000 lakes up here and we have yet to hit double digits yet so why not?
1) If it was an easy adventure you were looking for, go ahead and stop now.
2) Spoiler alert, this trail did not take us to the other lake.
Parting shot of Ruth Lake through the trees.
Beautiful trees and rock walls.
Ruth Lake and Hayden Peak.
A little closer to that neat rock formation. Kind of looks like a monk or something.
Into the woods! I love the high elevation conifers.
View of Ruth Lake from above.
And then we hit this barren rock slab. Luckily, someone has gone through the trouble of lining the path with a rock wall and some cairns so we didn’t lose our way.
This is really bizarre. Its like something I would expect to experience in Southern Utah, like the Petrified Dunes Trail in Snow Canyon. Only, white rocks instead of red rocks.
Nearing the end of the moon rock landscape.
Another little pond.
The trail kind of became hard to follow and was making me a little nervous. But we did find cairns that kept us on track.
Some of them were a little smaller and harder to see.
I really am loving it up here.
The trail is thin, but at least I can see it.
Little bowl of Glacier Lilies.
Trees and cliffs.
It still astounds me seeing trees growing out of solid rock.
I caught this guy scrambling up the hill. I thought it might have been a fox or coyote, but now that I am looking at it closer, it seems too short in stature. Possibly a badger, or maybe a porcupine.
More pretty rock walls.
Thin trail, pretty woods. Well, I don’t know where this trail is taking us, but I really feel like we should have reached the other lake by now.
I’m pretty sure this is the lake I was after.. so now I have no idea where this trail is taking us. But, no matter, we are enjoying ourselves so we’ll keep going as long as the trail stays strong.
All the rocks cliffs amongst the green almost looks like old ruins.
We both just really enjoyed the scenery up here. Not to mention the peaceful solitude.
Another rocky area with some cairns and rock linings to help guide the way. For how well, remote and deserted this is, someone sure has gone through a lot of effort to keep you on the path. Which, I really do appreciate.
More Glacier Lilies.
I’m not 100% sure, but I think that might be Bald Mountain. It is the right direction from where we were, but I don’t know.
Getting a little closer to the ridge it is looking correct, and I think I even see the highway heading up to the left of it, which would fit. Yea, I am leaning on being right that this is Bald Mountain.
And yet, I still don’t know what mountain I am climbing.
And again, not 100% sure, but I believe we are getting a glimpse of Mirror Lake from up here.
Well since we followed a trail that we had no idea where it was going, and it was getting late, I set a 10 minute, ‘or the trail got to thin’ turn around time. It has been 15 minutes and we hit a trail split that wasn’t as obvious as I would have liked. So, we decided to call it a day and turn back. However, this trail might get another visit.
One last look at Bald Mountain.
And back down the thin trail.
Decent shot of Kletting Peak.
Some pretty wildflowers.
Somewhat better shot of the lake I was after, and the tree filled valleys. I think this actually shows both Naomi and Hayden lakes.
Decided to get a shot in while up here. This might be my highest elevation shot.
Pretty up here.
I think I see a glimpse of another smaller lake.
Trees and cliffs.
Trees and views.
I don’t know if it is the high elevation or what, but the lighting makes everything seem so crisp and sharp.
Nearing the rocky part.
Well, I did find a small pond.
Back to the large granite slab.
Which looks like it has some signs of glacier activity.
And back down to the view of Ruth Lake, with Kletting and Hayden Peaks.
Panoramic better shows both peaks and Ruth Lake.
Approaching the lake again. I love getting above views of lakes.
And back to Ruth Lake with Hayden Peak.
Wildflowers next to the lake.
That low area between the peaks is that barren area we hiked across earlier.
Yellow Monkey Flower.
A little cloud cover makes the lake a deeper blue.
One last parting shot of the lake
One of the smaller ponds below.
Robin taking off.
Some interesting mushrooms on this log.
Lazy streams in the meadow.
Stream through the woods.
Got a little closer to the large cairn. It is actually a pretty impressive rock stack.
Panoramic of Kletting and Hayden Peaks.
Back down to the rock bridge.
The lovely forest.
That was an excellent hike! I really need to spend more time exploring the Uinta's! There is certainly a lot of incredible views and sights to be had.
We ended up adding about an additional mile to the .75 to the lake for a total of about 3.5 miles.
Bald Mountain on the way back (DBP). Yep, that is definitely the peak we were looking at from above.
Bald Mountain just after the pass (DBP). Definitely looks different from this angle.
I think this is Teapot Lake (DBP).
Driving through the thick woods (DBP).
I love this canyon (DBP).
We did end up getting rained on a little (DBP).
As we were driving into the sun, I suspected there might be a rainbow behind us. And after struggling to get a good shot from the passenger seat Landis decided to pull over so I could get a shot. I am happy he did. Very prominent double rainbow plus pretty mountain valley.
Fun clouds (DBP).
Heading down Parleys Canyon (DBP).
Well I had a great time! This was a great adventure, and even with the longer drive for a somewhat short adventure, it was absolutely worth it to escape the heat, and see our amazing high elevation wilderness. I definitely need to take the time to explore the Uinta's a lot more, there are over 1000 lakes, and thousands of miles of wilderness just begging to be explored. Definitely going with 10 out of 10 squirrels!
As for difficulty, To Ruth Lake I thought was pretty easy. Mostly flat, some up, some rocky, but seriously not too bad. DR3. The section we did above I would bump up to at least DR4. Little bit steeper, but mostly the being a little uneasy as to if I will be able to find the trail.
Dogs are allowed, but they must be restrained at all times.