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Big Elk Lake Trail is a 16.1 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 July until August. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 16.1 miles Elevation Gain: 2,824 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

cross country skiing



horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips


bird watching





wild flowers


Note: A 4WD vehicle is necessary to access to the trailhead.

8 days ago

Great trail out to the lake 1.4 miles from the top of the Jeep road 035. High clearance is needed for the top few miles of the dirt road. Plenty of people in regular cars had driven and camped about 2-3miles up. Looking to go back next month to camp at the lake. Oh, take bug spray plenty is mosquitoes about.

4 months ago

Great winter hike. Trail was packed from snowmobiled so we did not need snow shoes.

9 months ago

Gnarly road in, you’ll need a solid 4x4 with good clearance or you could do some damage. The hike is beautiful and relatively easy until the last half mile and then it’s straight up until you reach the lake. Plenty of good camp spots and the fishing was excellent with flies and a bubble. Fish along the north side on the rocks and you’ll do well.

Thu Jun 20 2019

Sun Jan 20 2019

Thu Aug 02 2018

didn't actually make it to Big Elk Lake. Rating 3-stars b/c is currently the average review. Went up 35 in a Subaru Tribeca based on reports of Outbacks at the top. Great example of the deep fried shirt: 'i didn't say he couldn't, I said *you* shouldn't.' Quit about a mile from the top. Hiked with the kids for the last mile of the road, but it was getting too late to attempt the trail to Big Elk Lake. The kids enjoyed it and there are some small ponds and overlooks that are nice in that stretch. On the way down, my left front skidded off a rock and the sidewall got punctured. amazingly, the spare made it down. Great adventure, but I don't recommend it to others. Bring a serious vehicle. I'm newly considering such a purchase.

Sun Jun 24 2018

You can also get to Big Elk lake from the very top of 35. You need a solid 4x4 vehicle with decent clearance to drive the rocky, narrow, 6.5 miles up 35 from mirror lake hwy. Lots of little roads off 35 so stay to the main road all the way to the top. The trailhead is at the very end of 35 and is not marked. It is about a 1.5 mile hike in and it is not well marked and easy to lose the trail. At the trailhead go up and to the left to actually get on the trail. You'll see an old square sign pole with nothing on it. This is how you know you are going in the right direction. The very beginning of the trail is a short ascent but the becomes a descent rather quickly. You will continue down, come to a point where you'll hear a creek but not see it, and then come to a large meadow. The trail is very easy to loose at the meadow. Stay all the way to the left along the trees. If you lose the trail just stick to the side of the meadow and you'll see the trail pick up when you get to the other side. Once you are through the meadow you'll start climbing up, cross a creek and the come to a rocky, steep ascent. You are scrambling in a few spots. At the top of the ascent you'll be at Big Elk Lake. The views are amazing both toward the lake at the valley behind you. The best part...we didn't see a single person! This is a moderate to hard hike. It is not easy coming from this direction!

Sat Jun 23 2018

The trail pertaining to four-wheel drive vehicles is basic. This is not a moderate Trail in any way. A Subaru Outback was at the top of the trail when we got there in our 4 wheel drive vehicles. No obstacles were to found with that being said it was a beautiful Trail and if you're looking for a beginner Trail this is great.

Sat Sep 16 2017

This trail is also accessible from the trial lake trailhead parking lot. (Gps photo attached) Perfect hike for an overcast and cool day. Rarely see anyone. You'll hike past multiple lakes before climbing to the top of the mountains. Then hike over the mountain tops before dropping down to Big Elk Lake. Hiking the last stretch on a hot and sunny day is exhausting.

Sun Sep 03 2017

Beautiful hike. Easy going until the last 1/2 mile. great fishing.

Sun Aug 20 2017

The directions above are incorrect. If you go 158 miles west of Kamas you will be someplace in Nevada! FR 035 begins 10.5 miles east of Kamas on highway 150. After the first mile or two it becomes extremely rough. We made it about 4 miles in our 4wd Tacoma before we gave up - just too hard on the vehicle and our bodies! You will need 4wd to even attempt this road at all, and very high ground clearance. And a lot of time. Very slow going.

Sun Jul 10 2016

I would not call this an easy trail. Advanced 4WD to get in from Mirror Lake Hwy (we hiked the last 2.5 miles), trail not clearly marked, super marshy areas. Beautiful hike and rough road keeps out the masses.

Sat Jul 04 2015

This road is really really bad. I have a lifted, high clearance (xterra) vehicle and I had a slow difficult time getting to the trail head. It is a very pretty lake but I don't think I will ever drive up there again.

Wed Aug 06 2014

There are better lakes in the Uintah's. Mosquito's were brutal.

Fri Jul 18 2014

My friend and I planned a trip to Little Elk Lake, then a hike to Big Elk Lake. The road is definitely a four wheel drive road, need to be better marked, It's hard to follow the well used road when nobody has been there for a long, long time. the last sign for 035 point the wrong way and we drove right past Little Elk Lake and no signs of a trail for Big Elk Lake. If you go take your map and compass.

7 months ago

10 months ago

11 months ago

Mon Jul 10 2017

Sun Mar 17 2013