Hiking the Long Lake loop in the High Uintas Wilderness is really rewarding! This 4.8 mile loop features about 550 feet of elevation change and is rated as moderate. This trail features some pretty lakes, as well as the title lake, and loops through some gorgeous scenery and rock. Hiking time for this trail is about two hours, but give yourself some extra time to stop at the lake for a swim and photos. This trail isn’t terribly trafficked, and you will likely encounter short haul backpackers and other day hikers on this route.
Start at the Crystal Lake trailhead, and head up towards Long Lake. You’ll eventually reach a turnoff to head towards Long Lake or Cliff Lake. Head left to continue up the trail. At the 1.5 mile marker, you’ll reach another turnoff. Follow this trail until you hit Long Lake! A sign will point you to designated campsites, and there is a loop around the lake you can choose to do.
Need to Know
Parking at the trailhead is limited on weekends, and is often full, due to there being multiple hiking options from this trailhead. There is a fee to pay if you haven’t already: $6 per vehicle for 1 to 3 days in the Uintas, or a National Parks Pass. Display one or the other on your windshield before you begin your hike!
This hike is fairly exposed, especially once you arrive to Long Lake. Pack layers, including at least a light sweatshirt for both sun and wind. Weather can change drastically in the Uintas, and thunderstorms frequent the region, even if they’re not forecasted. Be prepared! Always back the essentials: water, food, extra layers, a map, sunscreen/bug spray, and a camera!
I always recommend hiking this in the morning, and for good reason! I did this in the morning on a Sunday, and was largely free of other people. A few short-haul backpackers were returning, but during my entire hike, I saw many more cows than people, especially considering I went further than just this lake. If you’re planning on doing just this lake, bringing a small backpack with water and snacks is a good idea. Take a break at the lake, and head back up the trail!
Take A Hike!
This is a pretty easy hike considering the duration of the trail and the elevation gain, but remember that you start this trail at just about 10,000 feet. You may get winded quicker than you expect! Take breaks, drink water, and hike smart. You’ll have a great time! You may even consider hiking a paddle board out here – I honestly would, if I had the chance!
See you on the next one, happy hiking!
Next blog: We’ll continue on to Island Lake, shall we? This one is BEAUTIFUL!