Washington Lake Group Camping, 19-21 August, 2022

The Uinta part of our Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest drew Cache Hikers for a weekend of camping and hiking along the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway in eastern Utah. We gathered at the Lincoln Group Site on Washington Lake on Friday afternoon about the time the predicted showers delivered as promised. As the rain calmed we set up our camp with various tents, canopies, and camping vehicles, then took a short hike for a look at Washington Lake before dinner. It was the first of many, many lakes we’d see during our stay.

Our group site had enough parking and lots of tables and space for meals and gathering. With breakfast and dinner contributions from everyone our buffet tables offered plenty of interesting and delicious food choices.

Saturday’s hike was a 7.6 mile loop from the nearby Crystal Lake Trailhead, passing by Wall, Clyde, Watson, Petit, Cliff Lakes and several other smaller lakes. Hiking together to The Notch junction we enjoyed the many wildflowers, the quartzite walls and boulders, and the well-maintained trail. At the junction, with light periodic rain, we split into three groups with one group taking the spur to The Notch viewpoint before returning to the loop and the other two groups continuing at their own pace. A pause at Clyde Lake allowed a moment to hear, then see, several pikas darting among the huge rock piles.

Sunday morning everyone managed to get in another hike before heading back to Cache Valley. One group hiked from the campground to lovely Haystack Lake and a second group drove to the Bald Mountain Trailhead for a hike with impressive views.

There was some rain each day but not enough to dampen enjoyment of good friends, good food, and the beautiful lakes, peaks and forest of the Uinta Mountains.

Trip Summary
  • 12 participants: Dan, David, Michelle, Deanna, Dick, Christine, Susan, Kathy, Dave P., Brent, Dave W., and Jane (leader)
  • Drove 155 or 142 miles from Logan, depending on route taken
  • Arrived at Washington Lake Friday afternoon, departed Sunday about noon
  • Temperatures dipped to around 40 at night and zoomed up to the 60’s in the day
  • Downpour upon arrival, then sunny, cloudy, and light rain through the weekend
  • Hikes: Loop from Crystal Lake Trailhead to Notch, Haystack Lake, Bald Mountain

Thanks to Jane for the narrative and photos; Deanna, Dick, Michelle,Susan, Dave P, Dave W, Dan and Brent for photos; and Dave W., Dan and David for GPS data.

We put several tents on a large pad at the campsite
After setting up camp, we took a short walk to Washington Lake, with Mount Watson in the background

Wondering when the rain will start back up? 
Making plans for the next day

A canopy and fly kept the rain off

At the Crystal Lake Trailhead, heading toward Notch Mountain

The Notch, Notch Mountain, Reids Peak and Bald Mountain

A different type of trail sign
Clyde Lake and Mount Watson

Clouds closing in at The Notch
Looking north through The Notch

Shadow Lake, with Haystack Mountain in the background "Stairs" leading to the Bald Mountain summit

View from Bald Mountain, 11943 ft. elevation Rock angelica, Angelica roseana (11,400 ft. elevation along the Bald Mountain trail)

Harebell, Campanula rotundifolia
Red elderberry, Sambucus racemosa

Prickly Gooseberry, Ribes montigenum
Stonecrop, Sedum debile

Monk's hood, Aconitum columbianum
Lady's tresses orchid, Spiranthes romanzoffiana(?)

Pleated gentian, Gentiana affinis
American three-toed woodpecker near the Bald Mountain Trailhead

A bald eagle, near Haystack Lake
If you look closely, you may see a pika

The GPS track for our Notch hike shows about 7.6 miles and 700 feet of ascent.  You can look at our route using Google Earth or download our GPS file.

The GPS track for our Haystack Lake hike shows about 4.6 miles and 350 feet of ascent. You can look at our route using Google Earth or download our GPS file.

The GPS track for our Bald Mountain hike shows about 2.8 miles and 1200 feet of ascent.  You can look at our route using Google Earth or download our GPS file.