Smith Morehouse Trail

HARD 17 reviews

Smith Morehouse Trail is a 14.6 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.

DISTANCE
14.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,257 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

off road driving

walking

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

over grown

rocky

closed

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.

backpacking
2 months ago

Hiked this trail down from the Island Lake Trail Junction. There is a sign a short distance with a "Warning" about the trail conditions mentioned in the previous review. It is much easier to follow the rock cairns when you can see them from above than hiking up. Currently the trail is more like hiking cross country because you have to walk around, over and under many burned trees on the trail. Currently requires advanced route finding skills which slows down the progress. It took us 4 hours to negotiate the trail going downhill. At our normal pace we would have completed the downhill portion of this trail in about 2.0-2.5 hours. Three stars only because of the large burned out sections and difficult travel. 4 stars when the USFS cuts a trail through the downed trees. FYI Crystal Lake it at the opposite end of the Lakes County trail at the Junction of the Smith-Morehouse, Big Elk and Lakes Country trail

hiking
2 months ago

We started out at the Crystal Lake trail head near the Smith and Morehouse Reservoir. It's unclear to me why it's the trailhead sign references Crystal Lake when you never see another sign mention "Crystal Lake" again as you're hiking. Instead, the wording changes to "Island Lake."

Obviously, most of it is still burned from the July 2016 fire. There is still a sign that says the trail is closed. Ground vegetation (bushes, flowers) have grown/are starting to grow back. There are tons of fallen trees on the trail. Some are easy to maneuver, some are not. You must be comfortable with losing the trail several times as you're hiking. You will be walking a nice, clearly-defined trail, then you'll hop over a fallen tree and POOF, the trail is gone. This got really old, really fast.

We never made it to Crystal Lake/Island (whichever it is) as we gave up looking for the trail after the 10th time of losing it. We did see a deer and a 3 moose on the way back: a mom and her calf, and then later a bull moose. So be aware.

I gave it 2 out of 5 stars because 3/4 of the hike is through burned forest the trail disappears constantly. On the positive side, there are quite a few wild flowers and you have a good chance of running into some wildlife.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The trail is still closed due to the fire last year.

backpacking
Monday, July 25, 2016

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

hiking
Thursday, June 02, 2016

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.

hiking
Sunday, August 02, 2015

Really nice trail. Only went up 3 miles and had to head back. I'll be doing this one again soon.

hiking
Wednesday, August 06, 2014

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.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

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.

hiking
Saturday, May 24, 2014

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.

hiking
Thursday, January 23, 2014

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...

hiking
Tuesday, August 20, 2013

ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL HIKING TRAIL. MODERATE IN DIFFICULTY BUT WORTH IT FOR THE GEORGEOUS VIEWS. I CANNOT WAIT TO HIKE IT AGAIN.

hiking
21 days ago

hiking
Friday, October 21, 2016

Sunday, July 24, 2016

backpacking
Monday, June 27, 2016

off road driving
Sunday, September 13, 2015