Utah Hike of the week: Crystal Lake Trailhead to Long Lake

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Crystal Lake Trailhead to Long Lake

Directions • This is a beautiful alpine hike that winds past four different glacier lakes and through clearings filled with wildflowers.

To reach the trailhead, located about 90 minutes from Salt Lake City, take Interstate 80 east to the Heber/Vernal exit. Drive through Kamas to the Mirror Lake Highway, State Road 150, and turn right. The turnoff is about 25 miles from Kamas, just after the Provo River Falls. Keep left as you enter, and park in an unpaved lot near the Crystal Lake Trailhead.

At about 10,000 feet, the Wasatch-Cache National Forest area is significantly cooler than the Salt Lake Valley (though still sunny, so don't forget the sunblock). The Crystal Lake area, which also offers camping and RV parking, is dotted with lakes of various sizes and criss-crossed with trails.

About the hike • The first large lake is Washington Lake. Keep heading north to meet up with the trail to Crystal Lake, then head west to Long Lake and turn back again, keeping an eye out for Ponds Lake on the way back. This round trip is just over five miles, but this is also a choose-your-own-adventure hike — trails are fairly clear and well maintained, and nearly every direction will lead to a beautiful mountain lake. In such a wet area, though, definitely remember the bug spray! . Click here to see GPS data and more information about this hike: http://alltrails.com/tracks/2654-crystal-lake-hike