Hourglass Lake |

Western Uintas

Hiking Hourglass Lake - Western Uintas Hiking Hourglass Lake
Western Uintas

Overview | Getting There | Route | Photos | Maps | Comments

Overview

RATING: Easy/Moderate Hike
MAPS: ERICKSON BASIN, UT

Tue

27 | 22

Wed

30 | 20

Thu

38 | 25

Fri

44 | 26

Sat

42 | 28

View Full Weather Details
SEASON: Summer, Fall
GEAR: Standard Hiking Gear
WATER: Filterable at the lakes.
NOTES: Reaching the trailhead is very rough. Four wheel drive required. Also note, the Mirror Lake area is a fee area, currently (2021) it is $6 for a 3 day pass.

Tue

27 | 22

Wed

30 | 20

Thu

38 | 25

Fri

44 | 26

Sat

42 | 28

View Full Weather Details
Hourglass Lake - Western Uintas

Hourglass Lake - Western Uintas

Sometimes the Mirror Lake Highway can feel crowded with trails and lakes seeing much traffic on summer weekends. Hourglass Lake proves, if you are willing to work a bit, there is still solitude and infrequently visited spots to be found! The hardest part of reaching Hourglass Lake is reaching the trailhead. The road is typical of many Uinta mountains road, ROCKY! Expect about 6 miles of bumpy, rocky, teeth jarring road. A 4-Wheel drive vehicle is required, as is patience.

The reward for the difficult road is an area with several quite pretty lakes and ponds. The area sees some use, but the rough road deters all but the most determined. We saw no recent signs of visitors on our trip and enjoyed having the area to ourselves for the day. Fish were jumping at Hourglass and Little Elk Lakes, so bring a pole if fishing is your interest.

Note: There are no official trails to Hourglass Lake. Good map skills and/or GPS required. The terrain, to my eye, was relatively easy to navigate.
The lily pad covered unnamed lake.

The lily pad covered unnamed lake.

Getting There

Head east out of Kamas on the Mirror Lake Highway. Follow the Mirror Lake Highway for 10.55 miles to a side road on the left. This side road, Forest Service road #035 is the road to the trailhead. It has, particularly in the first mile or so, quite a few side roads and small camping sites. Stay on the main road (#035) unless a specific junction is mentioned.

  • Mirror Lake Highway Mile Marker 10.55 - Turn left onto road #035 and reset your odometer. ( 12T 490159mE 4494620mN / N40° 36' 08" W111° 06' 59" )
  • 1.9 miles - Major junction. Stay right on road #035. ( 12T 491872mE 4495787mN / N40° 36' 46" W111° 05' 46" )
  • 5.9 miles - Major junction. This is the recommended Loop Trailhead. Park anywhere off the roads. ( 12T 493697mE 4499865mN / N40° 38' 59" W111° 04' 28" )
A very low Little Elk Lake

A very low Little Elk Lake

Route

From the junction of roads 035 and 916, go left. Park anywhere here or continue driving about 0.5 miles on road 916 to its end. The end of the road is at a lovely small pond and wetland. Follow a bit of a cow/social trail on the right (east) side of the pond. Continue northeast through the grassland at the end of the pond. A small rocky hill is to the left (west here). Follow the base of this hill passing through another small clearing to a second larger clearing. Here the rocky hillside becomes a bit lower angled and allows easier passage.

Hike up the hillside, then northwest to Hourglass Lake. The lake sits at the base of a rocky slope. A quick walk around the lake and it is easy to see where it got its name.

From Hourglass Lake, if you continue north along the base of the rocky ridge, a second lake is reached. This lake, though unnamed, is also quite pretty and was about half covered by lily pads during our visit.

Finally, head south from the unnamed lake, and descend a steep section. This steep section had several good game trails, so if you find it difficult, look around for an easier route. You will likely reach the bottom near the large grassy area you left enroute to Hourglass Lake. Once down the hill, head a bit northeast to reach Little Elk Lake. On our visit, the lake was exceptionally low and not as picturesque as the others.

To return, you can retrace your steps back to the large grassy meadow, the back to the trailhead or head east to intersect road 035 and follow it back southeast to the trailhead. We chose the longer loop, returning on road 035 shown on the map.


Maps

Route / 3.03 miles / Elevation Range 9,608 - 9,951 ft.
Loop Trailhead

12T 493697mE 4499866mN

N40° 38' 59" W111° 04' 28"

End of The Road

12T 494012mE 4500366mN

N40° 39' 15" W111° 04' 15"

Large Meadow / Head Uphill

12T 494372mE 4500876mN

N40° 39' 31" W111° 03' 60"

Hourglass Lake

12T 494196mE 4501083mN

N40° 39' 38" W111° 04' 07"

Unnamed Lake

12T 494301mE 4501351mN

N40° 39' 47" W111° 04' 03"

Little Elk Lake

12T 494568mE 4500963mN

N40° 39' 34" W111° 03' 51"

Road

12T 494688mE 4500659mN

N40° 39' 24" W111° 03' 46"

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