Smith Morehouse Trail is a 14.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Kamas, Utah that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
off road driving
The Smith Morehouse Trail is a point to point that can be done from either the Ledgefork Trailhead, or the Crystal Lake Trailhead. It is one of the less popular hikes in the Uintahs and at times can be difficult to navigate where the actual trail is. Be sure to take a map and compass/gps to help along the way. It is a good idea to take two cars or have someone drop your group off at one of the trail heads and meet you at your destination so you have transportation waiting for you at the other end. Most of the high mountain camping and fishing areas of this hike is found within the first 3.5 miles near the Crystal Lake Trailhead, which is also where the most engaging scenery can be found. The trail can be very hot in the summer months. Be sure to take an adequate amount of water as well as a filter just in case.
I looked at a variety of map resources before committing to this loop over a busy state holiday weekend. I wanted something quiet that would give me a wide range of trail from smooth quick tread to bushwhacking. I found it all with a smattering of quiet places with in reach of the busy Island Lake on the east side of this loop. The bushwhacking came above Big Elk Lake (SW) as the trail is marked on the National Geographic Map and by cairns however, hardly a trail until one clears the treeline. Good fishing will be found at North Erickson Lake and Big Elk Lake. Several spurs can add to the length of this trail including: Island Lake and East Shingle Creek Lake
We only followed the trail for a few hours and had to turn back. There was still a lot of snowmelt, so the higher you get, the more the trail is a stream. It was gorgeous though, we saw moose, deer, chipmunks, hawks, lots of butterflies and wildflowers.
Really nice trail. Only went up 3 miles and had to head back. I'll be doing this one again soon.
The hike from Crystal Lake up to a little past Island Lake is great! The last part is all downhill and has moments of greatness but can be very monotonous. I would recommend hiking it from the reservoir to Crystal Lake. It would be mostly uphill but I think that it is a better route. It's easy to get lost at the high-point and can be brutal in warm weather. Take a lot of water and a Compass and Map/GPS for sure! When you get to Island Lake your can cool off by jumping off of the cliff into the lake...you may see people doing this on weekends.
Gorgeous scenery, but the trail wasn't well marked and somewhat tough to navigate via maps, seeing as there were creeks flowing all over from the snow melt. Ended up following the wrong creek and had to hike over the side of a mountain to get back to a trail... little stressful, but it sure is beautiful back there. Bring plenty of water and a GPS - we had to use a map and compass.
Fun hike. I hiked a few days before the campgrounds were open so there was absolutely no one on the trail. It was chilly, drizzly, slippery and awesome all at the same time. The trail was overgrown and flooded to the point that it was a stream with all the snow melting off. It was still a great hike and a great test of my rain gear. Probably best to hike this trail in mid to late June to around October or November.
This hike has a lot of potential. There were abandoned trail improvement projects that would make this an amazing hike where you can truly enjoy being out in nature without other human distractions other than the ones you bring with you. I decided to make this a through hike. We left a car at Smith Moorehouse Trailhead and then drove to Bald Mountain. After summiting, we hiked down to the Wall Lake/Trial Lake trails. This part of the hike is well used and the trails are well worn. The only issue I had was that there are a ton of hikes around and the trails are not well marked. We made it to Long Lake for the night. The next day we trekked from Long Lake to the "connected" Smith Moorehouse Trail to complete the trek. The only problem is that the trail was "under repair" for some time and the foot path had become so faint that we had to pull out the map and compass to find our way through. After mucking our way through some swampy country we finally picked up the faint trail that led to the Reservoir. It was a beautiful hike, but quite a bit more difficult than I had anticipated. Remember to be prepared whenever you are hiking in the Unitas. You never know what you're going to get...
ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL HIKING TRAIL. MODERATE IN DIFFICULTY BUT WORTH IT FOR THE GEORGEOUS VIEWS. I CANNOT WAIT TO HIKE IT AGAIN.