Amethyst Lake Trail

MODERATE 96 reviews
#3 of 84 trails in

Amethyst Lake Trail is a 11.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Kamas, Utah that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until September. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
11.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,034 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

This 6 mile trail starts as the Stillwater trail in the Stillwater Fork of the Bear River Drainage. After about 4 miles from the trailhead you come to the Amethyst Lake Trail which forks to the left. The first 2 miles of the trail are quite steep and rocky . The trail ends at Amethyst Lake which is situated within the timberline transition zone in a cirque basin at the head of the Ostler Fork Drainage. Most people camp at the end of a long meadow 1.5 miles before you get to the lake where there is more protection from the wind.

4 days ago

very beautiful and very well trafficked.

backpacking
12 days ago

This trail is much tougher than some of these reviews would have you believe. Check the elevation charts and you'll see what I mean. It's also the only time I've backpacked in the High Uintas and had to deal with multiple large groups of campers. That said, there is a reason it's so popular and busy. The mountains, lakes, and meadows are absolutely stunning. I prefer solitude, so I'm not sure if I'd go again, but it's a beauty for sure.

backpacking
18 days ago

Definitely worth pushing that last mile or so past Ostler Lake to Amethyst. The water is strikingly blue! Temps are prime this time of year, plenty of great places to set up camp!

backpacking
18 days ago

Great backpacking trail/lake. Heavy use, so please make sure you pack in/pack out. The ranger at the trailhead told us open fires due to the “Extreme” fire danger rating. Unfortunately the people around us didn’t get the memo. The pit next to us re-sparked with the wind- luckily my friend and I were there to put it out.

Closer to 7 miles each way. The water spots along the way were my favorite. The steep part is steep going up, an slippery going down. Saw 2 moose (at separate times). Weather was mild and didn’t go below 44°.

24 days ago

This is a great Trail if it wasn't for the middle part being so Steep and Rocky I would give it 5 stars.

backpacking
1 month ago

Amethyst Lake is a great overnight backpacking destination. You can do it as a day hike, but why hurry. As others have noted horses and dogs are allowed. There is plenty of water along the route so you will not need to carry more than 1L (and a good water filter or alternative water treatment). Wildflowers are blooming everywhere. It rained on Saturday afternoon and evening. I checked the temp at 4:00 AM Sunday and it was 39 degrees. So remember at elevation the temps are vastly different than in the SLC valley :).

There is only one section of the trail that gains elevation quickly and is in poor condition due to the loose rock. This section of trail follows the creek (I think it is the outflow from Amethyst Lk) with amazing waterfalls and water slides. When you hit the top there is a gravel bar with a pool of water perfect for hydration and cooling off before beginning the gradual climb to the lakes.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike. The view of the peaks over the meadow about 5.5 miles in is really something. Make sure you keep going past the first smaller lake! I agree with other reviewers that the trail would be a bit nicer without all the horse "remains" all over the trail, but such is life.

hiking
1 month ago

pulling up to a full parking lot and parking about as far away as you can get, this wasnt the solitude i was looking for. However, many reviews recommend camping below the lake and i guess that's what most did. I found myself alone on the east side of the lake, right next to a spring that fed it. There are plenty of places to hide out from the wind at the lake, but its the wind that keeps the mosquitoes away. Around 7 or 8 though, the wind stopped and the bugs were gone for the night. I loved my spot but one thing I did not consider, being so close to the east rock face, getting sunlight in the morning comes really late and I had frost over most my stuff. The trail would be much nicer without horses

hiking
2 months ago

My favorite season opener. Straight forward trail out of Christmas meadows. Eastbound turn up the drainage to Amethyst Lake becomes quite steep, but it's worth every step. Many folks hike the trail up and back in one day. Amethyst Meadows is the place to camp if you have protection against mosquitos. Remember to camp away from lakes and streams to protect the scene. Ostler lake is a GREAT option if you want more solitude, just be prepared to overland without a trail.

hiking
10 months ago

Great hike! About 13 miles total, with steep sections, and lots and lots of mud and water on the trail, but definitely doable. We hiked this pretty late in the season, so about a mile from the lake, we hit some pretty deep snow and lost the trail. We kept trekking, though, and made it to the lake about an hour later than planned. The snow was a lot of work! Definitely will do this hike again, but probably earlier in the season, like early September. The good thing about going later, though, was that we didn't see any other hikers at all until the end of the hike when we got back to the parking lot.

backpacking
10 months ago

Amazing Hike!
Requires a recreational day pass for overnight parking. I usually buy my passes at the Chevron located in Kamas outside the west entrance to the forest. It cost me $6 for a 3-day pass. (Closes at 9pm)

Difficulty: It can get rough at times. Incline the entire way. Very steep sections.

It has many rivers/creeks running through multiple areas so you don't need to worry too much about water. (I recommend Iodine and neutralizer tablets you can buy at Walmart for $7, water tastes great with those)
If you are hiking off-trail from Salamander Lake to Ostler Lake on the West side of the basin, there aren't very many water sources, be sure to prepare for that section.

Our dog loved this trail, and did fine. Horses are welcome as well.

Recommended camping places:

If you stay on-trail, Waypoint 2 or Waypoint 3 are a great places to camp. Amethyst/Waypoint 4 is with the tree line so wood will be scarce there.

Off-trail Camping spots: The small pond/lake south of Salamander on the south side has a great little meadow area. Very comfy. Moose love that pond. Be sure to 100% camp at Ostler Lake!!! Beautiful place! Best spot there is on the south-west side near an open meadow along the tree line. Lots of wood to burn.

By far one of the best hikes!

By the way, here are my route details. Each waypoint has comments/recommendations.

https://www.gaiagps.com/datasummary/route/06c5985d-0f03-4fdc-a475-ab082dfafc40/?layer=GaiaTopoRasterFeet

Questions? E-Mail me at JoshuaTravisFryer@outlook.com

10 months ago

gorgeous hike through breathtaking views. one of my favorites in Utah!!!

backpacking
11 months ago

Incredibly beautiful hike through meadows, pine forest, and aspen groves. As others have said, this hike is 13 miles round trip from the parking lot. The first 2 miles are fairly easy and pleasant...BUT...once you turn left to head toward Amethyst the trail becomes quite steep for about a mile and then continually ascends until you reach the lake. The trail is very rocky and there are quite a few areas where it is muddy. You will likely ask yourself several times, "How and why is this fun??" However, you can take regular breaks and enjoy the waterfalls and cascades that border the trail. After you've endured the grueling uphill climb you come to Amethyst Lake. It is well worth the hike and the most gorgeous mountain lake I have visited to-date!!

11 months ago

Awesome hike. As others have said, it is longer than listed.... at least 13 miles round trip to Amethyst Lake. End of August is the perfect time for this trip. It was nice and cool at night, slightly warm during the day, and the bugs had mostly disappeared. There are some nice campsites near the unnamed lake about a mile from Amethyst. We stopped on the opposite side of the trail in a meadow that had an awesome fire pit with some tree trunk benches. Plenty of firewood due to the blight.

backpacking
11 months ago

This trail was amazing! Beauty all around, and wonderful campsites at the top. Hardly any bugs this time of year. Didn't have to use deet once. Gorgeous waterfalls on the way up, and crystal aqua waters up top. However, the trail is indeed 13 miles round trip, not 11 as stated on All Trails. It may be 11 round trip from the fork, but it's 13 miles round trip from car, to Amethyst, and back. I will definitely do this trail again someday.

hiking
11 months ago

Did a day hike this past Saturday. Trail was mostly dry and few bugs and plenty of wil flowers. 3 hours and 10 minutes to the lake.

hiking
Sunday, August 06, 2017

Awesome!!! Amazing meadows. Lots of wildflowers. Great river with sequential waterfalls. Huge Rock cliffs. So beautiful! Logged 13.4 miles. Didn't see any moose. Only a few bugs.

hiking
Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Stupendous hike! Did it in a day and tracked 13 miles. Bring at least 3 liters of water and snacks. Soak in the beauty and enjoy!

backpacking
Sunday, July 16, 2017

Loved this hike! Made it up to Amethyst in just over three hours. Keep plugging along after the junction to Kermsuh. It's steep, but it does end! Beautiful hike and well worth it. Bugs were pretty bad, but pack some deet and you should be fine. Side trips to Ostler and BR24 are great. Best to camp at the small, un-named lake about a mile below Amethyst. Beautiful place to watch the sunrise and a quick hike back up to Amethyst for the day. Didn't fish, but they were rising all over the place.

backpacking
Sunday, July 09, 2017

I completed this hike in July of 2017. The first few miles of the trail are wet and muddy but not very steep. The view of the meadows is gorgeous. I would recommend a good pair of waterproof shoes and a walking stick of some kind to help with balance. Once you reach Ostler Fork and turn left towards Amethyst Basin the hike follows the river. It is steep and tiring and while it seems long it flattens out again after less than a mile. Up in the basin there are lots of nice places to camp and several different lakes. I found the small Lake below to be a better place to camp than up at Amethyst as the trees up above are small and sparse. I saw deer and mountain goats up near base of Ostler Peak. If you hear rocks falling up in the cliffs and peaks above look closely and you may spot a mountain goat. They often cause rocks to fall. I fished Amethyst lake for about 2 hours without a bite. Then all of a sudden it got good and every cast for the next 20 minutes yielded a small trout. After that it was dead again.

hiking
Sunday, July 09, 2017

Long trails with gorgeous views along the way. Don't forget to pack some mosquito repellent!

hiking
Thursday, July 06, 2017

The reviews are right, it's a 13 miler. There ISO my one steep section, the rest is pretty mellow. I went during the 4th of July weekend and the mosquitoes were AWFUL! Would certainly go back to backpack it once the blood insects are gone!

hiking
Tuesday, July 04, 2017

We hiked the 5.5 miles to Ostler Lake during the afternoon of July 3, 2017. The forest was stunning. The weather was perfect. The trails were in great shape with some water crossings and several small muddy areas. This is one of my favorite hikes.

backpacking
Monday, July 03, 2017

Definitely one of High Uintas' gems of a hike! Wildflowers still out in yellows, blues, purples and pinks. Plenty of water seepage crossing the trail so have solid boots. Had a heavy pack and middle section was a real challenge, got to the basin at mile 6 with another mile to actual lake. I clocked 2,500 vertical. Bring bug spray as mosquitos travel in armadas. Best place to camp is the basin or the small lake (BR28). What a trip!

Monday, July 03, 2017

Made this trip the first true backing trip for my 8 year old daughter and 12 year old son several years ago, they were hooked on backpacking ever since, another generation of back country in the making. Great trail, like others have said middle section of trail is tough going but well worth it. Redid trip last August explored entire basin, spent time at Ostler Lake above small unnamed lake close to trail, all to ourselves. Make sure you bring warm gear, gets cool at night, we had rim ice in water bottles a couple of nights during last week of August.

hiking
Monday, June 26, 2017

This trail is gorgeous. As many people have stated, it's longer than the All Trails description. I recorded it closer to 13 miles round trip.

It is pretty easy going up to the fork in the trail. Then there is a steep, rocky section for about .5 miles that is the hardest section of the trail. Then it opens out into an open valley with some views and easy and mellow elevation gain. Then the trail dives back into the deeper forest for the rest of the hike before you reach the open meadow at Ostler Lake.

The lake at the end is absolutely gorgeous. I only had an afternoon to go up and back. As soon as I got there I regretted not bring gear to spend the night.

backpacking
Monday, June 26, 2017

just did a 2 night backpacking. good hike with great views. we camped a mile short of getting to the lake. pretty much all of the snow is gone. had to ford the small creek to finish off our hike to the lake... but was refreshing for the feet! bring bug spray and some cold weather gear for the cold night.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Trail was beautiful up until around mile 5. Still a lot of snow up there. We kept losing the trail since it was completely covered in snow or super marshy. Ended up turning around and heading back. Best to wait another month until the snow melts completely, then we're definitely going back.

backpacking
Friday, May 19, 2017

This has to be one of the most beautiful places the Unitas had to offer. The water was crisp and clean, the tree were amazing and the flowers in full bloom. Waterfalls, birds, deer and elk are frequently seen just off the trail. We stayed for two nights and wish we could have stayed longer. Took out fly rods and though we only caught two it was awesome to watch the Brookies chase them down. I'd be willing bet that it was longer than 11 miles more like 13-15 but still would hike again 10 times over

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Longer than advertised for sure. But, totally worth it. Bring a fly rod, and pack light.

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