The 20 Best Backcountry Lakes: Priord Lake

High Unitas Wilderness, Utah
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High Unitas Wilderness, Utah
Priord Lake

12,223-foot Priord Peak (right) stands tall over its namesake lake. (Photo by Yvonne Baur)

There’s no such thing as a bad backcountry sunset, but when the soft light turns the rock an otherworldly shade of burnt sienna, that’s the best kind. Hikers—especially those with a penchant for photography—will find that at 12-acre Priord, where a wall of sheer, striated peaks ring its milky-green water on one end, and the other end looks downcanyon to the High Uintas. If you’re more interested in climbing mountains than snapping photos of them, then you’ll have your work cut out for you, as most of the surrounding peaks—Priord, Lamotte, and Yard—are accessible only by faint sheep trails and off-trail scrambling. For the most adventurous side trip, Nick Woolley, founder of Backcountrypost.com, recommends the 4-mile boulder-hop to Allsop Lake. “It requires advanced nav skills, but the difficulty is part of the reward,” he says. Take the rough, 10-mile Priord Trail to get to Priord. If the weather turns, find more sheltered sites at nearby Norice Lake, below treeline.

Trailhead East Fork Bear River Campground (40.864668, -110.771837) Season July to October (late summer for flora) Permits $3 parking fee Contactbit.do/HighUintas