We had a good time, the beach is close you can cook and play, drive your food and gear down to the water. Sand is not real fine a little closer to dirt but kids had a good time. The wind can kick up and get a bit choppy and in season there is a lot of boat traffic the camp ground is also the boat ramp access. The showers are awesome lots of trees and good grass in the campground. It’s the typical cram in next to your neighbor type start campground. I would go back if it is ever part of another trip/route.
Bryce canyon is an all around pretty awesome place. I stayed here with my giant family, and thankful this campground had a site that a could fit all of us. They have one blocked off specifically for large groups, and you can add basically all the people you want to it. I think the price goes up the more people you add though, and they cap it after like 30 people. The campground was nice, and really big. No water or electric hookups at this place. We stayed in tents, but there are RV sites too in a separate area. There are bathrooms and access to fresh water.
My favorite part about this campground is that it's located right next to some pretty awesome hiking trails. You can basically hop right on one from your campsite. My favorite trail in the park was Fairlyland Loop Trail, which wasn't too far from the campground. It had some awesome views, but it was pretty long and hot (8ish miles) so just be aware of that. Definitely worth it in my book though!
Also, even though it gets super hot in the day, it can get pretty cold here at night, even during the summer!
All around awesome place though. Hope I can visit again someday!
The state park is on the northeast shore of the lake and features lots of good fishing as well as picnic areas and some exposed hot hiking trails. Water level has been steadily dropping here as with most waterbodies in the state this year but good sized smallmouth bass can be caught. Landed a few little ones that we ended up cooking whole. A great place to spend a really hot day if you have a boat to take out on the water
This is our favorite drive-up campsite in the Uintas just because of the amount there is to do in the area! Nearby by is the namesake lake for not only the campground but the Highway as well. It is a gorgeous lake with views of both Bald Mountain to the west and Hayden peak to the northeast. Each year at least a thousand rainbow trout are stocked with numerous other trout including tiger and brook. We've had good luck fishing there with a classic bubble and fly and other lures like a Jake lure or a spinner.
As for the actual campground there are over 60 sites of which all of them will fill on a summer weekend so get there early!. If you are camping during the week, however, you can still find some solitude as the parties will be a little more spaced out but again no solitude like you can find backpacking only 1/2 mile from most trail heads. Each campground has a picnic table and fire ring, while some also have corrals for livestock. Vault toilets are interspersed throughout the campsites.
Some specifics about things to do in the area include hiking for a little bit on the Highline Trail at the east end of the campground. This trail spans the entire spine of the Uintas from west to east or vice versa. Which is uinique in itself because the Uintas are the tallest east west mountain range in the Lower 48. Most people that take the trail take the ridge line through to Kings Peak and out Painters Basin by Atwood Lake. Very close by is also a great climbing area known as the Cobrazone. It contains easy to intermediate trad and sport routes with an approach sport route that lands you on top of a large ledge, "The Cobrazone", which gets you access to the rest of the routes!
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, we occasionally to get products to test! While at Mirror Lake Campground we tested the Chicken Fried Rice freeze-dried meal by Mountain House from their 5-day emergency meal kit. We ate the meal off a point on the east side of the lake while fishing during one of our days there.
Chicken Fried Rice:
- The chicken was very tender and surprisingly juicy in the meal and the amount and variety of vegetables was nice including: mushrooms, carrots, red peppers, and green peas.
- The convenience of being able to cook and eat from the same pouch makes cleaning up easy and enables you to bring just a stove and pot plus some fuel. In that regard it's great for backpacking trips at lower elevations.
- We think this meal is best suited as a side dish to a heartier main entree. While it did taste very good, it was the repetitive texture that made us desire a little change up. If you're car camping this can easily be remedied by adding some fresh veggies or making it a easy to prepare side dish to a main entree.
- The only other complaints we had was that while the simplicity of the design cuts down on extra dishes we wish the packaging itself was also recyclable. Also if you plan on going on very high elevation trips eating beyond 12k' then we would recommend the pro-paks as they are vacuum sealed. You can also vacuum seal them yourself if you plan on serving in bowls on your backpacking trip. Just keep in mind that the pro-paks are smaller than the pouches.
As they have been in business since 1969 Mountain House definitely delivers a quality product and even if Fried Rice isn't your flavor, we're pretty sure you'll be able to find something you like, as long as you're a meat eater. Unfortunately there's not many vegetarian options
Chicken Fried Rice: 4/5 Tastes great, more of a side than entree
One of the best places to camp that's close to the road but not too close. Only a few of the campgrounds are actually close to the road while most are a little bit of a drive away on a loop. Each site has picnic tables and fires rings and the campground has vault toilets. The closest lake is Lost Lake with Teapot and Lilly Lake across the Hwy. Good fishing abounds here with lots of stocked rainbow trout and tiger trout with occasional brookies.
There's plenty of hiking around here with Upper Provo Falls and Bald Mountain trailhead to name a couple. The Stone Garden and Cobrazone climbing areas are also within close distance from the campground. Overall this is a beautiful area to camp and would be a 5 star campground if the spots weren't so close and it was farther from the road. Lost Lake is also the lowest of the 3 nearby lakes due to the dry year.
One of the best options if you have to settle for a campground close to the road or are coming into camp late in the day (weekdays only). Lilly Lake campground would be my third pick for best roadside campgrounds along Mirror Lake Hwy. The campsites at the far west side of the campground are far enough away from the road to offer some seclusion, but the sites themselves are pretty closely spaced.
The best thing about staying at this campground is easy <5 min access to 3 great lakes for fishing! There is the namesake lake whose entire west side is covered in beautiful lillypads. A tiny bit south on the Hwy is the uniquely shaped Teapot Lake and directly across the road from Lilly Lake is Lost Lake, which also hosts the Lost Creek Campground is case Lilly CG is full. Camping here is steeply priced like most other spots along the Hwy but it stays open a good bit later into the fall season than most of the other CG's. There are 14 single sites that cost $23 a night. In addition to the camping fee you'll also need a Mirror Lake Hwy Recreation Pass which is $6 for 3 days and $12 for the week. If you have an America the Beautiful Interagency Pass then that will cover the recreation fee but not the camping fee.
As a first note this is for access to the Bald Mountain trailhead (where you can back country camp) and for the picnic areas. There is no park and camp opportunities here. The closest available options are Mirror Lake CG and Moosehorn CG.
The most common reason to stop at this trailhead and the reason we stopped here is to explore and hike to the top of Bald Mountain! It is a gorgeous and fairly easy hike ~3 miles roundtrip and a little over 1000' in elevation. If you're coming from close to sea level you may want to take it slow so you can acclimate as the trailhead is a little under 11000' and Bald Mountain tops out at just under 12000'. The air was a little thick with smoke when we summited but there were amazing 360 views all around. From the top we could also see all the lakes you can access and camp at using the trailhead. These include Clegg, Dean and Reid's Lakes of which Reid's is also the name of the peak to the northwest.
In order to park at the trailhead all you will need is a Mirror Lake Hwy Recreation pass which costs $6 for 3 days and $12 for the week. However, If you have an America the Beautiful Interagency Pass then that will cover all fees for using the Trailhead.
Beautiful higher altitude camping. RV's and tent camping. No electricity or water hookups. No showers and pit toilets. Allow horses in the horse section of the campground. Lake you can canoe, kayak no motorized crafts allwed. Fishing and swimming in the lake. Nice hiking around the lake.
Dirt road access off of the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway just past Sulpher Creek campground. Got pretty cold at night and there was a number of other tents and RVs taking up most of the spots – we got there around 6:30 on a Friday evening and were one of the last ones to get a spot. There's plenty of dispersed sites along that highway though. Camped in the meadow and watched a mom and baby moose grazing while we set up camp.
This is one of my favorite places to visit in the Uintas! It has everything; from hiking, climbing, fishing, and just general mountain goodness within a few miles! The campground is situated to the East of Moosehorn Lake and at the base of the looming Bald Mountain. There is great trout fishing at the lake where we had good luck with chartreuse powerbait and black rooster tail spinners. We also had a lot of bites with #1 Blue Fox Vibrax spinners. Nearby is the trailhead for Bald Mountain Summit anda good approach for the great multipitch climbing area known as the Cobrazone! Like the other campgrounds in the area, water is currently unavailable so bring your own! To stay here you'll need to pay the $23 a night campground fee as well as the Mirror Lake Hwy Rec. Pass for $6 for 3 days and $12 for the week
Very similar to the dispersed camping around Trial Lake this campground resides on the East side and features picnic tables and fire rings at the developed sites. The host at the campground offers wood but definitely bring your own water as due to the dry water year they have shut off all of the spigots at most of the campgrounds along Mirror Lake Hwy. Trial Lake has been especially hit hard this year with the lake resembling more of a puddle and is visibly about 50' lower than where the shoreline previously was at springtime. So if you're looking for some pristine lakeside mountain camping your best bet is to head to Mooshorn, Lilly Lake, Butterfly Lake, Mirror Lake, or do some backpacking if those are all filled up. Fees are $23 a night in addition to the Mirror Lake Hwy Rec. Pass which is $6 for 3 days and $12 for the week
While camping lakeside to get away from the crowds of the developed campground may be a good idea in spring, the dry winter has left this beautiful area as more of a puddle than a lake/reservoir. I wandered around the lake and found quite a few good tent sites tucked among the trees, the only problem was that the water was 100-300' away in spots and some 50' in elevation lower. Maybe after this winter if it's heavy this will be a nice place to camp again, but until then I would head to Mirror Lake or Moosehorn if you want pristine mountain lake camping. Unlike the campground, if you really want to camp here it'll only cost you $6 for 3 days and $12 for the week with a Mirror Lake Hwy rec pass.
I have been backpacking 4 times in the Uintas and have climbed Kings Peak (Utah's tallest mountain) twice, but this place was by far my favorite and most picturesque visit! On the way to the trail head you pass Stateline, Bridger Lake, Marsh Lake, and China Meadows Campgrounds respectively, so if you don't want to backpack then these are some great options in the area that allow you to day hike the trailhead instead. At each one of the campgrounds there is also great fishing with Stateline Reservoir being the largest (and busiest!) Fees for the trailhead are $3 a day and they only accept cash or check.
Now for the back country dispersed camping you came here for! There are numerous places to camp along the trail just remember to follow the minimum distance rules from trails and water bodies so you can help make others' trips as serene as yours. The first popular spot to stop on the trail head occurs after a few miles in at a fork east that takes you to Lake Hessie. Round trip to the lake and back is around 7 miles. Beyond this intersection you pass through a tunnel of trees until you get to one of the only truly steep spots on the trail, a series of 5 switchbacks that gain a couple hundred feet of elevation. After these you get your first good look at the immense Red Castle in the distance! Not too far past the switchbacks is another intersection followed by Lower Red Castle Lake where most people stop to camp. There are 2 trails in this area: the lower trail will take you down to the lake but is very muddy and almost impassible during early spring. It is better to take the upper trail that continues to the main lake and then backtrack from the south end of the lake. Getting here puts you about 9 miles into the back country.
Where we decided to stop was at a small unnamed lake about a mile below Main Red Castle Lake. If you want to stop here it is the only lake that the trail passes right next to (I mean literally right next to it) We really loved camping here as we were able to fish for Tiger and Cutthroat trout extremely close to our campsite! It also has amazing views of Red Castle at sunset. While we were up there we only had neighbors the first night and the next 2 nights we had the lake all to ourselves! It takes a lot of effort to get up there but the solitude is absolutely worth it! From this base camp we were able to explore the Main Lake and Upper lake of Red Castle. If you've ever fished in the Uintas (especially along Mirror Lake Hwy) you know that most trout are fairly small <10 inches. At the main lake, however, there were huge Tiger and Cutthroat trout averaging at least a foot in length with many reaching towards 16-18"! The water is also amazingly clear so you can watch an entire school of fish chase your lure as you reel it in! We had good luck with black and silver spinners and a fly and bubble set up.
We plan on making a return trip as we did some bouldering and free climbing by the immense waterfall that drains the upper lake. Red Castle itself also holds tremendous potential for adventure mountaineering routes although they might need a decent amount of cleaning! However, please do not attempt any climbing there if you don't have helmets or are inexperienced in alpine style mountaineering and building trad anchors (also bring 50' of cording or webbing if you need to sling for your anchors, which of course you will!).
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get to test products from outdoor and lifestyle brands from time to time. On this trip we got to test some coffee and cocoa from Nature's Coffee Kettle.
If you're tired of having to drink instant powdered coffee on your backpacking trips to save weight then look no further for a great tasting, lightweight substitution!
Hazelnut Coffee w/ Refill Packs
This Brazilian hazelnut coffee was by far the best cup of coffee I've had while backpacking. Usually when we go backpacking we bring along the mini single serve powdered coffee packs that usually are pretty bitter and acidic. I doubt we'll ever do that again however as this was great coffee shop quality coffee that weighs as much as the same amount of coffee in an instant style. We really liked that you're able to reuse the kettle which keeps trash out of the landfill! The coffee had a nice mellow taste but rich in hazlenut after the first steeping. We decided to repour into the top to make it a little darker and the coffee still had a great taste without getting too much more bitter. The refill packs are also really nice because you can change up what flavor of coffee you make from morning to morning!
Again there was only 1 thing we thought could be improved in the design. It would have been easier to pour the first cup of coffee into the bag if the bottom was a little more rigid and could stand up on its own. Even with two people we still managed to spill some as the top of the bag where the filter is is very floppy until the bottom starts to fill up.
Other than that this is better than instant coffee in every way!
Hot Cocoa Mix
The hot cocoa mix was very very rich and delicious! It was as if someone melted a pound of rich pure milk chocolate into the bag! Because of this it took us a couple days to actually finish one bag because of the sweetness of it. If you wanted to I'm sure you could drink some and then water it down some more, but if you've got a sweet tooth then this is the perfect convenient hot chocolate for you.
We had a few more issues with this than we did with the coffee, but that was mainly because we were backpacking and trying to keep a light load. Unlike the coffee the cocoa mix is in powder form and each kettle weighs almost half a pound. Because of this we would definitely not recommend this for back country trips and instead recommend it for car camping or simply hanging out by the fire with a convenient cup of hot chocolate.
It would be a great thing to bring on ski or snowshoeing day trips or on any trip where a warm drink would awaken a chilly soul!
Just over two hours east of Salt Lake City, Utah, you can find yourself among a meadow of pines, decent sized campground, and a trail system that leads to numerous lakes. Christmas Meadows is by no means the closest camping to Salt Lake that you can find in the Uinta Mountains, but it's a pretty getaway that leads to even better backpacking trails.
The campground sits at about 8,800 feet in elevation and is walking distance from the Stillwater Fork—where you can easily fly fish for brook trout. Views from the meadow up toward the mountains are absolutely beautiful, and there is a trail system walking distance from the campground.
Christmas Meadows Campground was a decent place to stay. In late August, it was very crowded and because the campground itself doesn't have a lot of trees, there is not much privacy. The campground does have water and put toilets, which is very convenient.
This place is worth camping at if you're not seeking privacy. It's a great place to stay if you want to walk to creeks that you can fly fish, or backpack to any of the nearby lakes. The views nearby certainly don't hurt.
As someone who works at The Dyrt, I get the opportunity to test products in the field from time to time. After a morning hike where my partner and I bushwhacked to an alpine lake, we decided to have lunch catered by Wild Zora, and dig into one of their Paleo Meals to Go.
We tried that Caldera Chicken Curry which gave us the energy to hike back to our Christmas Meadows campsite.
Here's what I liked about Wild Zora's paleo meal:
- Easy to make in a pinch - This meal was so easy to prepare. I just simply boiled 1.5 cups of water with my backpacking stove, poured it into the bag, stirred, and let it sit for 15 minutes while I enjoyed alpine lake views
- Perfect portion - A lot of freeze dried meals are 600+ calories and often yield too much food for me. Wild Zora's Paleo Meals to Go are a single serving and clock in around 340 calories. It was the perfect amount to refuel in the middle of my very steep 6 mile hike
- Aromatic flavor - I expected the Caldera Chicken Curry would have a lot of flavor given the list of ingredients: pineapple, onion, garlic, cayenne, and turmeric just to name a few. Though this particular meal was on the sweet side for my taste, it still had plenty of different ingredients that provided a nice flavorful balance.
campground is nice but expensive compared to purchasing a 1-3day 6.00 adventure pass at the forest office and camping anywhere along the road or on lily lake. the campground is paved and very nice but the road up to the campground is not and due to the large rocks and bumpy road may take a toll on your vehicle. if you have any off-road vehicles, atvs or just like to explore this whole area is the place to be. you can fishing, kayak or paddle board on the lake and during the weekend this is a very popular place. there is bathrooms and also water at this campground
this campground truly has everything you need without all the bells and whistles. it has twos sides you can chose from. we stayed on the side that has four campgrounds. there is a bathroom with TP!! directly across the campsite 4 . little to no traffic through there. there is also a water hole you can pump water from. I didn’t drink from it due to pipe being rusty but Great for washing . These sites are on the smaller side to thug advise against large trailers. the river is absolutely beautiful. the ranger station is less than a mile away. I suggest stopping in and grabbing a map. this will tel you where all the trails and lakes are if you want to go exploring. lily lake is also within a mile. great for fishing and kayaking. and Christmas meadows is within a mile or two also. this site seriously is a perfect location. right off the highway but you done hear the street traffic because the campground sits lower than the street.
this campground has a lot to offer. I don’t think there is any bad spots, but the spots on the road side didn’t seam very flat, but most had at least a spot for a tent. no water, bathrooms and trash. there is a great hiking trail across the street and along camp site to pull off the side of the road and camp of you don’t want to camp in actually campground. spot 19 (I think) was my favorite but would only be good for tent, no trailer.
this is a wonderful location with 360° views. great trail heads located near the camp and literally at the end of the road. we didn’t camp at the actual camp ground but paid the 6.00 forest fee and camped at a previously used spot on the side of the toad right next to the creek.
It's a good basic campground, that for me, is perfectly spaced for a night's sleep when I leave Yellowstone late in the day
Going to Red Castle - great trailhead and clearly marked. Going to Big meadow or Dahlgreen trail? Better have a compass sine the trail is poorly marked! Still beautiful!