Blue Lake is located in the Tushar Mountains at the base of Mt.Belknap and Mt.Baldy. This turquoise blue lake has a flood control structure on the outlet, and is rimmed with downed trees. Most people haven’t seen the lake full, yet the hike down it it offers amazing views of both peaks, as well as takes you through a variety of terrain – from forested sections to obvious avalanche paths, all while crossing streams.
The lake itself is cold from all the snowmelt, and the spiky rocks will hurt your feet. If you plan to swim, be sure to wear water sandals to protect your feet. While this is a great hike to do in a day, it’s not uncommon to see backpackers on the trail or at the lake either. This is a hike the whole family can do, and the best months to visit are July – September when the winter gates are open and the trail is dry and free of snow and avalanche danger.
Drive south on I-15 and take exit 112 in Beaver, UT. Turn left, and drive on Main St. for 1.6 miles. Turn left for UT-153, and drive 16.3 miles. Just past mile marker 16, look for the dirt road turning off to the North side of the road and turn here. Reset the odometer. The road is a well-graded, dirt road. 4×4 cars are recommended, but a small, compact car can make it only if the road is totally dry. Call the Beaver Ranger station before heading out to check road conditions & to make sure the winter gate at Poison Creek is open, at 435.896.9233.
Directions to Mud Lake/TH
0.3 miles – stay left at the first road split
0.8 miles – pass the metal gate
2.4 miles – keep left
3.3 miles – Pass the Paiute ATV Trail, and the road curves right, pass Big John Flat, pass the first pit toilet, and cross a cattle guard
4.3 miles – pass a 2nd pit toilet
4.7 miles – pass the Skyline Recreation TH
5.0 miles – drive past Griffith Creek (it may be completely dry in Summer/Winter)
5.6 miles – reach the last winter gate
6.7 miles – reach the trailhead at Mud Lake
Total drive time from SLC is about 4 hours. Here is a driving map to Mud Lake/Trailhead. If the winter gate is closed, you could still hike to Mud Lake, just add on another 1.1 miles each way.
Distance: 9 miles RT
Elevation gain: 1600 ft (descent)
Time: 4-6 hours
Dog friendly? Yes, off leash
Kid friendly? Ages 12+
Start by parking at Mud Lake.
The trail begins on the opposite side of the lake.
You’ll drop down to a small gulley, then right back up. You can see the small saddle you will eventually hike to.
At 0.6 miles reach the trail split and take a sharp right turn.
Reach the saddle, and then you’ll descend all the way to Blue Lake. Here is your first view of Mt.Baldy!
The trail makes several long switchbacks.
At 1.8 miles reach an awesome overlook! If you are short on time, this would be a great option to stop at, then turn back here.
This is where you also have your first great view of your destination – Blue Lake!
Winding down more switchbacks.
At 2.2 miles cross the one and only bridge over a small creek.
Next up is hiking through a boulder field – the trail is well-defined through here. No shade here so it was super hot!
Charlie takes advantage of all the small streams to dip his toes in and drink.
The trail winds its way around several big bends.
What a view of Mt.Baldy! For comparison, look how small Ian looks!
Almost there. The trail will change from dirt to loose rock.
At 4.2 miles there is a short-cut to reach the lake faster. We turned here, but just FYI its steep loose scree.
Ahh, there we go! So pretty!
I walked around to explore and went up to the dam. Hard to believe the lake was once high enough to flow through here. The lake as of 9/2020 was about 30 ft below where the water could flow over this.
Such a pretty lake but also so sad how low it is.
Time to hike back up…
On our way back up, we got low on water so we decided to take a few minutes to filter fresh stream water. For this hike I used my collapsible water bottle filter – its great for quick and easy water filtration for day hikes. The water was so cold and refreshing!
Back at camp, Charlie gets snuggly in his dads lap! What a great day to be outside.
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