Hiking Wall Lake in the High Uinta Mountains, Utah

Wall Lake in the High Uintas is one of the most beautiful lakes in the region and very easy to access. The out-and-back trail can be attempted from two different start points and can also be turned into an easy loop. For this hike, I did the loop! Exact mileage might vary, but I’ll do my best to relay somewhat accurate information. The loop trail features four lakes, whereas the out-and-back options will yield two or three. Let’s get to some quick beta!

Quick Beta

  • Mileage: 2.5 miles via Crystal Lake; ~3.0 mile loop; ~2.3 miles via Trial Lake
  • Elevation gain: ~150 ft.
  • Highest Point: 10,171 ft.
  • Best time to visit: Late May through mid-October
  • Total hiking time: 1 hour
  • Kid-friendly: Yes.
  • Dog-friendly: Yes, must be on-leash
  • Bathroom at trailhead: Yes.
  • Gear I brought: 35-liter hiking backpack, map, compass, small knife, large knife, headlamp, Osprey 3.0 liter water reservoir, 0.6-liter water filter, snacks,, rain-fly for my backpack, extra long sleeve layer, hiking boots, pants, long-sleeve shirt, Canon EOS R camera.
Arriving at Wall Lake from the Crystal Lake trailhead.

The hike

Approaching from Crystal Lake

This gentle hike follows a well marked trail from Crystal Lake, although the start is a little confusing – there are multiple trailheads at Crystal Lake. Make sure you take the correct one towards Wall Lake. This trail meanders through a beautiful forest for the full approach. The trail is gentle and slowly rises in elevation. Before you know it, you’ve arrived at the beautiful lake!

This lake has some beautiful shoreline and dramatic cliffs on the west side of the lake facing east. We saw some people jumping off the cliffs, but please, remember to always swim and jump within your comfort zone! These appeared to be some experienced swimmers and divers, considering a few did backflips into the water! Even though this trail doesn’t venture too far from the trailhead, rescues are still complicated.

The banks of this lake are quite beautiful!

Need to Know

You are in bear country.

Remember to keep a clean trail and clean camp. Always pack it in, and pack it out. The Uintas are dotted with black bears, so sightings are possible. If you see a bear, make yourself large and shout! Gather any small children near you to help yourself appear bigger and to prevent a bear from isolating them. Take out your bear spray and prepare to use it if necessary.

Please adhere to the wildlife safety rules. Stay 25 yards away from moose, elk, deer, and other non-carnivorous animals. Stay at least 100 yards away from bears, cougars, and other carnivorous animals. It’s for your safety and theirs!

As I’ve mentioned previously in Uintas blogs, I’ve never seen a bear, nor signs of bears. Common signs of recent bear activity are feces and claw scratches on trees. Make sure you’re keeping your eyes on the lookout! The bears are out there but are often skittish in nature.

Afternoon Thunderstorms frequent the Uintas. Be Prepared.

In high-elevation mountain areas like the Uintas, afternoon thunderstorms happen on a near-daily basis. Because of the unpredictability of the weather, and the fact that storm clouds can move in quickly. It’s imperative to always be prepared for changing conditions. Most new hiking backpacks will include a rainfly for your pack, and if not, many will have the option to purchase one for your backpack. Make sure you’re always carrying one, even if the weather is forecasted for sunny skies! A raincoat is always a good idea too, especially if you can see stormy clouds anywhere on the horizon. Winds change fast, and temperatures drop fast at 10,000 feet. Stay prepared!

This is a high-traffic trail.

The Uintas are highly trafficked by visitors, and as a result many shorter hikes, such as Wall Lake, see high traffic volumes. Parking is often limited, although the Crystal Lake trailhead was expanded before the Summer of 2022. When driving through this area, make sure to slow down when you see cars parked along the roads. People and animals may pop out unexpectedly!

Since this is a popular trail, arrive early in the morning or later in the evening for the best chances of seeing more views and wildlife and fewer people on the trail. Morning and evening is also the best time of day for anglers to be wandering the banks. Give them space!

John checks out the lake. Looks good!

Justin’s Suggestion

Tack this hike onto your stay, especially if you’re camping near Crystal Lake, Trial Lake, or Washington Lake. It’s a popular trail, so try to hit it earlier in the morning or as a cool down later in the evening. You can also try to do this on cooler days, which may keep more hikers hunkered down. It’s a beautiful lake!

The beautiful wall – it’s great to cliff jump, apparently!

Take A Hike!

Hike to this lake. You won’t be disappointed in the slightest! It’s beautiful and one of the larger lakes you can hike to in the Uintas. If it’s a particularly hot day, bring your bathing suit and go for a swim! I was noticing that this lake is fairly similar to Ruth Lake in that it’s a pretty short hike to get here. I’d consider hiking in with a paddleboard to explore the lake and the western banks. There’s some beautiful scenery to be had here, and you’d likely be the only one paddleboarding on the lake.

For more hikes in the Uintas, check out my backpacking trip to Jordan Lake and a mid-length day hike to Island Lake. For another short hike, huff it on over to Shepard and Hoover Lakes!

See you on the trail!

Parting shot:

The sign for the lake as you enter from Trial Lake.

Next blog: Lofty Lakes Loop.


5 thoughts on “Hiking Wall Lake in the High Uinta Mountains, Utah

  1. Hi Justin,

    I love your commentaries on hikes in the Salt Lake area.

    I’ve been watching them for many months, maybe years.

    However, I’d love to hear from you personally.

    It’s been a long time since i saw you graduate from Canisius and travel west.

    Are you and Mercedes still a couple?


    Uncle Tony

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello again Uncle Tony!! Yes, it’s been a number of years now, hasn’t it! Salt Lake has been treating me very well. I’ve only been home a couple times since moving here, mainly for Christmas! I’ll send you an email, and we can connect soon! 🙂


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