Hiking to Haystack Mountain, High Uintas

Hiking to Haystack Mountain, High Uintas


Haystack Mountain (10,985 ft) is a long, prominent ridge in the High Uintas, easily accessed from the Crystal Lake Trailhead. Not to be confused with this Haystack Mountain in the LaSal Mountains near Moab, this one is much easier and shorter!  The Haystack ridge extends for a full 3 miles and is one of the easiest peaks to bag in the Uintas - you follow a trail for the first two miles, then leave the trail for the last 1.75 miles. It's really easy cross-country hiking with very gently boulder hopping - a great intro to some of the harder Uintas peaks with bigger boulders. You get great views of the entire Washington/Trial Lakes area to the North, plus 360 views of the other surrounding areas.

From SLC head East on I-80 towards Park City. Take exit 146 for Hwy-40 south towards Heber. Take exit 4 towards Kamas. At the first light in Kamas, UT turn left, and at the next light turn Right, onto the Mirror Lake Hwy. Drive until you see the sign for Crystal Lake TH, and follow the signs for the parking area. Most likely, the official TH will be packed and you will have to park in overflow. This is where my mileage begins. There are restrooms at the TH. Keep in mind that the Mirror Lake Hwy charges a fee - 1-3 days is $6, 7 day pass is $12, or $45 for an annual pass. If you have an Annual National Parks Pass you get in free. Be sure to place your pass on your dashboard. Drive time from SLC is about 1:15-1:30. Here is a driving map. 

Distance: 7.4 miles RT
Elevation gain: 1,074 ft
Time: 3-4 hours
Dog friendly? Yes, off leash
Kid friendly? Ages 12+
Fees/Permits? The Mirror Lake Highway charges a $6 fee for a 3 day pass. It's free if you have an annual Mirror Lake Hwy, American Fork Canyon, or National Park annual pass. No permit is required.

Hiking to Haystack Mountain, High Uintas
Viewing Haystack Mountain from Washington Lake.
Hiking to Haystack Mountain, High Uintas
At the official Crystal Lake TH. Follow the main trail for about 2 miles, towards Long Lake.
Hiking to Haystack Mountain, High Uintas
At 1.9 miles (from the overflow parking area), you will see the Mt.Watson sign on your right (North) side of the trail up in a tree. It's right where there is a small saddle, before the trail starts to drop down to Long Lake. From here, turn left and leave the trail.
Hiking to Haystack Mountain, High Uintas
You will now be hiking off trail. Just follow the ridge.
Hiking to Haystack Mountain, High Uintas
Don't forget to look back at Mt.Watson!
Hiking to Haystack Mountain, High Uintas
Reach the start of the boulder field. From here, it's 1.5 miles along the ridge to the summit.
Hiking to Haystack Mountain, High Uintas
Charlie leads the way as usual!
Hiking to Haystack Mountain, High Uintas
Ahh now that's what I'm talking about - a ridge for days!!! My favorite. The peak is beyond the highest point you can see here on the far left.
Hiking to Haystack Mountain, High Uintas
We love hiking over the Uinta boulders.
Hiking to Haystack Mountain, High Uintas
Generally you want to stay right on the ridge in order to avoid dropping in elevation, only to re-gain it. But, I started to see the lakes and I couldn't resist a photo op.
Hiking to Haystack Mountain, High Uintas
Along the ridge you will first cross 10,983 ft. This is not the true summit - the true summit is just ahead past the next tree patch.
Hiking to Haystack Mountain, High Uintas
Yay, made it to the official summit - 10, 985ft!

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Hiking to Haystack Mountain, High Uintas
I really liked the views to the East best, down to Azure, Rock, & Haystack Lakes. We could actually hear campers talking all the way down there!
Hiking to Haystack Mountain, High Uintas
Same spot, looking more North towards Reids Peak and Bald Mountain - also great peaks to hike!
Hiking to Haystack Mountain, High Uintas
What a great day - we loved this easy Uintas peak!


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Hiking to Bald Mountain, High Uintas
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Hiking to Haystack Mountain, High Uintas

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