Salt Lake City, UT: Amethyst Lake

Pack light and be prepared to climb on this 11.8-mile out-and-back serving up stunning alpine scenery and prime fishing at the secluded Amethyst Lake.
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Pack light and be prepared to climb on this 11.8-mile out-and-back serving up stunning alpine scenery and prime fishing at the secluded Amethyst Lake.

From the overflow parking lot at the end of Christmas Meadows Road, head south through a pine-dotted valley on the Stillwater Fork Trail. The hike’s first 2.3 miles follow the easy-flowing Stillwater Fork, popular among fly-fisherman. At the sign pointing toward Amethyst Lake and Uinta High Wilderness, turn left to begin the climb toward Amethyst Meadows. After a steep and rocky 0.5-mile churn, you’ll gain the ridgeline and continue south to gain the remaining 1,300 feet of vertical over 3 mildly-grade miles. As you near the lake, Amethyst Meadows open up to huge panoramas of Lamotte Peak to the east and the alpine cirque forming bordering the lake to the south.

Camping is available along the lake’s spectacular western shore and in the meadows further north. The lake is bustling with cutthroat trout, and fishing is best in the early morning and evening, as few hikers stay overnight. For more information on fishing in the lake, visit the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest Web site. 

-Mapped by Charlie Hart

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 19.0

Waypoints

AMT001

Location: 40.822363, -110.801218

From the trailhead at the end of Christmas Meadows Road, head south on the Stillwater Fork Trail. Parking is available in the campground at the end of the road.

AMT002

Location: 40.789549, -110.794668

At the sign pointing to Amethyst Lake, turn left to head uphill on the Ostler Fork Trail.

AMT003

Location: 40.751973, -110.759806

Reach Amethyst Lake (10,740 feet). Camping is plentiful along the lake's western shore.

Approaching Amethyst Lake

Location: 40.764031, -110.771198

Amethyst Lake rests upon the cliffs behind the pine groves.

Lakeside Meadows

Location: 40.754539, -110.763559

The meadows below Amethyst Lake offer plenty of campsites.

Northern View

Location: 40.752589, -110.762358

Looking south toward Lamotte Peak.

Northern View

Location: 40.751711, -110.760341

Looking south toward Oster Peak.

Campsites

Location: 40.752101, -110.760727

Prime camping is also available on the lake's western shore.