Ruth Lake Hike

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We found another great hike along the Mirror Lake Highway, which is fast becoming one of our favorite places in Utah. This one is called Ruth Lake, and it is right up at the top of the Uintahs.


The trail to Ruth Lake is an out-and-back trail that runs 1 mile each direction (2 miles RT). Our 6 year-old made it the entire way, but the 3 year-old had to be carried much of the distance. The trail starts at mile marker 35 and there is a clearly defined trailhead with a map and restrooms.

This sign is at the beginning of the trailhead. It lists the trail as .75 miles, but we found it to be closer to a full mile to Ruth Lake.
There are interpretive signs along the way.
There are interpretive signs along the way.

The trail, which was fairly busy, is a steady, but not steep climb. It is very rocky and meanders in and out of green meadows as it follows a trickling brook up to Ruth Lake. We stopped several times for the boys to look at miniature waterfalls or throw rocks into the crystal clear water. We kept looking for fish or animal life, but we only saw a few birds. There was a downy woodpecker working over a dead pine, a Cassin’s Finch with a bright red head, and several other species.

The trail does climb most of the way up to Ruth Lake. It doesn’t feel very steep, especially if you stop to look at the creek.
This Cassin’s Finch was showing off!
For most of the trail you walk near a babbling brook. We stopped to look lots of times.
There are lots of pretty meadows along the way too.
There are beautiful wildflowers in the Uintahs in July and August.

Finally, we arrived at a sign that read, “Ruth Lake.” We were met with a tiny pond that was somewhat disappointing. We saw salamanders in the water, which was surprising, since you are supposed to be able to fish, and salamanders and fish never hang out in the same places. We stayed and threw rocks for sometime before an older couple came up the trail. After chatting with them, we decided that we weren’t actually at Ruth Lake, but that we needed to go farther. This was surprising, since our GPS read 0.8 miles, and the sign at the trailhead said it was .75 miles to Ruth Lake.

Once you see this sign, the next water you see is NOT Ruth lake. It’s a beautiful little pond, but keep going.
This is the small pond before you reach Ruth Lake. It is beautiful, but Ruth Lake is amazing.
Watch for salamanders.

Sure enough, after another couple hundred yards we came to a wide beautiful lake with trout rolling along the surface. The lake wasn’t deep, at least at the edges, and you could see the bottom easily for probably close to 50 feet out. We climbed a half-fallen tree and you could see the bottom through the glassy water. It was another one of the 600 gorgeous alpine lakes in the high Uintahs.

Ruth Lake is worth the extra few steps that you walk past the last water.
We climbed up to look for fish and we saw them! The water is crystal clear.
There is a little trail along the edge of the lake. We didn’t walk all the way around, so we’re not sure if it does go completely around the lake, but we walked a little ways to throw rocks and look for fish.
We found some huge rocks to throw!

If you’re interested in other activities along the Mirror Lake Highway, check here.

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