Backpacking to Kamas Lake

Kamas Lake, Uinta Mountains, Utah

We have been coming to Kamas Lake for many years. In fact, for all my four boys it was their first real backpacking trip where they carried their own gear. I guess it’s a bit of a stretch to call this a backpacking trip as it is only about a 1.5 mile hike from the trailhead. We have done much longer backpacking trips but the boys still love to come here when we want to go for a quick overnight trip. The trailhead is only about 90 miles from our house and it is nice to get up into the cooler mountains when it is sweltering down in the valleys along the Wasatch Front.

Over the years we have pared down our gear to the bare essentials, without sacrificing to much comfort. We use very lightweight gear so our packs are nice and light. I have a silnylon pyramid tent that sleeps four and weighs on 26 oz. I also have a two man smaller pyramid that weighs about 16 oz. Our packs are simple and frameless and are also very lightweight. I use either a lightweight canister stove or an ultralight alcohol stove. With light packs we have lots of energy when we get to camp to explore and play.

We typically hike in around lunch time, set up camp, then go exploring until dinnertime. This time I had my two youngest sons and one of their friends. We decided this would be a photography trip. My 15 year old son is quite into photography and decided to pack in a large, heavy tripod for star trails shots.

It was in the nineties down in Provo, but it was pleasant up in the mountains. Kamas Lake sits around 10,000′ in elevation. We camped on the south side of the lake.

Our campsite at Kamas Lake

Mt. Baldy at sunset on the left

We tried our hand at some macro photography shooting some of the wildflowers. Yellow seemed to be the dominant color.

Climbing around that evening

We weren’t too successful with shooting star trails. The battery on my main camera died, and my son was having some trouble getting a good exposure. It was pretty chilly that night, but by morning it was quite warm. We’re used to waking up to cold mornings in the mountains, but it was unusually warm. As soon as the sun hit our tent, at about 7:30 am, it was so hot in there I had to get out.

After breakfast we packed up our packs and hiked up to Lofty Lake, only about a half to three quarters of a mile away. From there we ditched our packs in the brush and ran up to the summit between Lofty and Kamas Lakes. We have tagged this summit every time we do this trip. It’s always breezy and cool up there and the views of the surrounding mountains is grand.

Kamas Lake from above
Lars on the summit cairn

From Lofty Lake you climb up to a saddle then descend down to the shores of Scout Lake. Just beyond the lake is a series of cliffs and cracks that from cave-like structures. We always stop here on our way out to climb around and explore. No matter how old the boys get they still love to scramble around in this area. We ate a lunch of trail mix and Clif bars, then spent nearly two hours playing around here.

Finn climbing a chimney
Lars leaping across a small chasm
The three of us hanging out on the cliffs

From this area it is only about a fifteen minute hike back to the car to complete the loop. It was a fun trip and we reluctantly drove back to Utah Valley and the heat. It was nice to get away even if only for one night.


3 thoughts on “Backpacking to Kamas Lake

  1. Thanks for your blog post. My brother and I are looking in the area to do a short hike and camp. We actually did a longer hike up in the Uintas a few years ago (Clements Reservoir area) and loved it. Did you guys do any fishing up there? Where fishing hitting the surface? We love fly-fishing the lakes up there and I am trying to find more information about this lake.

  2. Hi Nate. When we were at Kamas Lake this time, there were lots of fish cruising around, and some pretty big ones. But they were spawning and not rising for much of anything. I’m sure they are really hungry now and the fishing should be great. I fly fish as well. We were recently up at Four Lakes Basin and the fishing was really good. We also fished Carolyn Lake and I was getting strikes on just about every cast—Arctic Greylings.

    I think Kamas would be a good lake to fish based on all the fish we saw.

    Good luck.

  3. Thank you so much for the information- I really appreciate it. It looks like a beautiful area and I hope we don’t get rained on this weekend. I will definitely let you know how it goes! Thanks again!!!

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