Ep. 114: Mirror Lake Highway | Utah RV travel camping


Hey folks, welcome back to Grand
Adventure! I’m your host Marc Guido, and in today’s episode we’re going to be
exploring and camping along Utah’s famed Mirror Lake Highway, so stay
tuned! Utah State Route 150 is better known to
Utahans as the Mirror Lake Highway. First built to the National Forest boundary in
1933, the road was extended east and then north, past Mirror Lake to the Wyoming
State Line in 1953. A National Scenic Byway, the road is only open in the
winter as far as Soapstone, a popular camping area in summer. It’s used by
snowmobilers until the Utah Department of Transportation finally plows the road
for summer recreation, sometimes by Memorial Day but often well into June.
The road crosses the western Uinta Mountains, reaching an elevation of 10,715 feet at Bald Mountain Pass. We’re boondocking
just below the top of the pass at around 10,600 feet. Our
boondocking area is quite popular and busier on this mid-august weekend than
we prefer, but we’ve got more room than we’d have in the Forest Service dry
campgrounds lining the highway, and this meadow just below the pass is one of the
few easily accessible boondocking areas that’s still well away from the state
road’s traffic. The Uintas owe their popularity not only to their natural
beauty, but also to their weather. While it’s in the mid 90s only an hour away in
Salt Lake City, we’re enjoying daytime highs in the mid 60s and cool nighttime
temperatures dipping into the mid 30s. The Uintas are home to more than a
thousand small lakes, and the advantage to staying in a Forest Service
campground is that many are situated lakeside. One of the nicest of these
campgrounds is the one at Washington Lake. With paved pads and decent
separation between sites, reservations here are a must and are released on a 12-month rolling basis. Single sites cost $23 per night. Some of the nicest waterfront access is
at Trial Lake Campground, just downhill from Washington Lake. Roads and parking
spurs are paved here as well, and fees are also $23 per night for a single site.
However, the campground at Trial Lake isn’t nearly as roomy as at Washington
Lake, and it was hard enough towing our 26-foot trailer through here. We wouldn’t
want to try it with a bigger rig. The highway,s namesake body of water,
Mirror Lake, is arguably its most popular and one of its most scenic, right at the
foot of towering Bald Mountain. The lake is open only to non-motorized watercraft
including canoes and kayaks, and it’s stocked with rainbow trout.
Many of the Uinta Mountains’ best hiking trails depart from the Mirror Lake area. The campground at Mirror Lake is another
tight one, but the campground roads and campsites are all unpaved. Many of the
sites back up to the eastern shore of Mirror Lake, and some offer a glimpse of
Bald Mountain through the dense forest. The nightly rate for a single site is —
you guessed it — 23 bucks. There are numerous other campgrounds all along the
Mirror Lake Highway, including Moosehorn, Lost Creek and Christmas Meadows. A pair
of potable water filling stations are located at Lost Creek, and there’s a dump
station at Lily Lake if you’re headed out via Evanston, Wyoming. We’ll put a
link on the screen to our recent episode from Lily Lake, if you haven’t yet seen
it already. While the Uinta Mountains are best seen
by foot along an extensive network of hiking and backpacking trails that reach
innumerable remote backcountry lakes, there are nevertheless sites to see
right along the road itself. One of the most engaging is Provo River Falls. The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest
charges a recreation fee for anyone parking along the Mirror Lake Highway,
including campers. Available at self-serve pay stations all along the
road, the recreation pass costs $6 for three days
or $12 per week. Annual passes are available, and an annual Interagency Pass,
also referred to as a National Parks Pass, is also valid to cover the Mirror
Lake Corridor recreation feet. Some thoughtful previous campers left a
large stash of dry firewood behind all split and neatly stacked for our use. On
this trip we got to try four small LED camping lanterns sent to us by Vont. A
bargain at $25.99 for four, each has 30 bright white LEDs that operate for up to
12 hours on the included three AA alkaline batteries. You turn them on or
off simply by expanding or collapsing the lantern. They’re water resistant and
their 140-lumen output truly lit up the night, especially as they’re small and
light enough to hang anywhere — even from a small tree branch. We’ll put a link to
these lanterns on Amazon in the video description down below, and you’ll also
find there a 10% off coupon code that Vont has included to share with our
viewers. We’ve added these lanterns to our Amazon Store as we’re sure to be
using these for years to come. So we hope that you’ve enjoyed coming along with us
to the Mirror Lake Highway. If you’re not yet a Grand Adventurer, make sure that
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nothing but a Grand Adventure! We’ll see you soon!

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