FIELD TEST FRIDAY: MIRROR LAKE HWY
The Mirror Lake Scenic Byway is a 42-mile stretch of state Route 150 that begins in Kamas, Utah, climbs into the Uinta Mountains before descending to the Wyoming border. Along the way you will be treated to numerous scenic overlooks, picnic areas, waterfalls, lakes, trails, and campgrounds.
The Mirror Lake Scenic Byway is one of the highest roads in the state of Utah, cresting at 10,687 feet at Bald Mountain Pass. The route winds its way from farmland to forested valleys and higher to pristine lakes overflowing with fish.
The byway will take you by the headwaters of the Provo, Weber, Duchesne, and Bear rivers. The fact that you can escape the crowds of the greater metro area of Salt Lake City and be in the Uinta Mountains in less than two hours is one of its greatest draws.
The unique, east to west running Uinta range includes 545 miles of trails that lead to more than 600 lakes and ponds in addition to countless miles of streams and creeks. You’ll find lakes holding a variety of fish species (brook, cutthroat, tiger, grayling, rainbow and brown) from 7,000 feet to just over 13,000 feet above sea level, each with various selections of trout and char. Each lake will fish differently and will require the angler to crack the code.
Entering from the north, coming south from Evanston on Highway 150, you will see the snowy ridgeline of the Uinta’s high peaks rising above the lush farmland of the Bear River Basin. A stop at the Bear River Ranger Station will give you a look back in time. An old historic tie hack cabin is on display here. The men who cut railroad ties from the nearby forests from the 1860’s to 1920’s used many tie hack cabins like this one. The ties were then floated down the rivers to the transcontinental railroad. The cabin has been restored and has photos from the era on display. Definitely take a moment and check this out.
Ten miles north of the Bear River Ranger Station, nestled below soaring alpine peaks is the highway’s namesake, Mirror Lake. This gorgeous mountain lake sits within a thick forest of lodgepole pines and is framed by Bald Mountain, Mt. Agassiz, and Hayden Peak. Taking a walk around the lake along the well-maintained trail is relaxing and easy, and offers plenty of opportunities for fishing.
The Mirror Lake Scenic Byway is perfect for anyone looking to get away from the big city. Thick forests, glacially carved valleys, mountain lakes, and towering alpine summits are all part of the journey. All you need to travel this magnificent stretch of road is a car, road map, a good lunch and maybe a few friends.
When the fishing is slow, there's always the Beaver Creek Nudist Ranch. HAHA!
All jokes aside, when coming through the town of Kamas, Utah en route to the mountains, make sure to pit stop at the Mirror Lake Station for the best donuts in the state, maybe the world? While not the healthiest breakfast option, they are definitely a Mirror Lake Highway bucket list item.
The Mirror Lake Highway falls within a National Forest Fee Area. It is free to drive the byway, but if you stop to use any of the recreation areas you are required to pay the park fee. You may purchase multi-day passes at numerous locations along the Mirror Lake Highway.
From Kamas take Center Street, Highway 150, east from Main Street. From Evanston, head south on Highway 150.