Amethyst Lake Trail is a 13.5 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
13.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,352 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 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.

21 days ago

I did this a couple years ago and it was gorgeous!!

Anyone know if we can still hike it now in October?? I know it says best through September but does that mean it’s closed off?

camping
2 months ago

Loved this hike. Camped at Ostler lake, and hiked to Amethyst the next day. The scenery was spectacular. I agree it was well over 11.7 miles. From the bottom, to Ostler we clocked 6.5 miles. The next day it was about 1.7 miles to Amethyst Lake which was spectacular. Definitely worth the trip.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice hike, but a long day trip. I agree with the prevailing sentiment that it is absolutely 13 miles, not 11.7. I was actually trying to go to Kermsuh lake, but went left when I should have gone straight. I didn't see any signs, but I have screwed up before. For the last mile, I am not sure what is represented by the track shown here on AllTrails. Any trail matching that track is very subtle. The obvious main trail brings you right by the small, unnamed triangular-shaped lake at about 5.5 miles. There are well constructed campsites here, and then it is another mile and some significant additional elevation to Amythest Lake.

The whole hike is scenic, passing through forests, meadows and along a running stream with waterfalls. The lake is absolutely beautiful. No mosquitos at all right now. The elevation gain comes in fits and spurts, with parts that seem almost flat and other parts that are strenuous. The first 2.5 miles from Christmas Meadows requires some care to avoid mud in places and is lots of up and down, which is fine at the start, but a drag when you are coming back at the end. There is a sign at the trailhead warning that the trail is obstructed by downed trees. Not to worry, because the trail elves have cleaned them all up, bless their souls.

I don't think there is a clear trail to Osler Lake, but it might be fun to find it another time. People climb up to Osler Peak from there, which looks to be an adventure way beyond my comfort level.

backpacking
2 months ago

Very beautiful lake, with many scenic places along the way.
Went backpacking in mid July there and the temps were very moderate. The trail was definitely muddy in many places, but using logs, rocks and higher trails made it easy to keep my feet dry. When you arrive, there is a very small lake on your right about 1/4 mile away from the actual lake. If I had to do it again I would have camped there. The bugs at Amethyst Lake were absolutely terrible, it was mostly flies and gnats, not many mosquitoes. The lower lake or pond had no bugs, and better trees for hammocks. It's not as scenic, but better a better spot to lay down the fort.
It gets pretty steep after the fork, but definitely doable.
Beautiful place, would do again.

backpacking
2 months ago

Great hike and destination. It can be a day hike or overnight backpacking trip.

If coming from the Kamas side pick up your recreational pass at the Chevron in Kamas or if you have exact change at the spot where the old ranger station was. It’s a couple miles up the canyon.

If hiking to the meadow below Amethyst Lake (to the east of Ostler Lake) then I think the mileage of about 11.5 miles is correct. If hiking further to Amethyst Lake then I believe that’s at or around 12.5 miles.

It’s about 2.5 miles from the parking lot to the turn off for Amethyst lake. The sign is located on a tree at the fork. At this point and for about the next mile it’s fairly steep and rocky. After that it’s a fairly consistent rise with small bouts of steeper grades.

The trail is muddy at many spots. Generally with well positioned steps you can get through without any issue. I hear mosquitoes and bugs can be a problem but our late August trip had none.

As a reminder, it does get cool/cold at night and storms are known to roll through even if the day has looked great. We had bouts of heavy rain, lightning and thunder even though it had looked clear and the forecast was calling for good weather. Always be prepared in the Uintas.

I camped at Amethyst lake but still hiked Ostler peak. If you want great views it’s worth the effort. Most climb the north ridge from Ostler lake and I would recommend this. I decided to go up the main chute on this mountain. As you reach the top I exited the chute to the left and then climbed up to the saddle. Took the west side of the peak to summit.

3 months ago

very beautiful and very well trafficked.

backpacking
3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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°.

3 months 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
4 months 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
4 months 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
4 months 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
Sunday, October 08, 2017

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
Wednesday, October 04, 2017

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

Monday, September 18, 2017

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

backpacking
Sunday, September 03, 2017

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!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

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
Monday, August 28, 2017

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
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

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.

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