Evanston, Utah

Backpack Amethyst Basin

12 Miles Total - 1900 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Conor Barry

Enjoy incredible scenery, rugged terrain, and Ostler Peak, which towers above a classic alpine meadow. There is also excellent fishing in the meadow below the lake.

Directions: The trail leaves from the Christmas Meadows Trailhead.

From Mirror Lake Scenic Byway (US 150) turn on Christmas Meadows Rd. The campground and trailhead are around 3.5 miles down the road dirt road. The road is suitable for low clearance vehicles.

Trip Length: 6 miles each way + optional day-hikes.

Total Elevation Gain: 1,900' to the lake (It's only 1,500 to the camp at the meadow)

Leaving from the Christmas Meadows area at 8,800 feet, the trail meanders through wildflower-filled grasses gaining little elevation. The first two and a half miles of the hike go down quickly. Once you hit the fork in the trail (make sure to stay left at the fork to stay on the amethyst basin trail. Although, it's clearly signed) things get a little steep. The trial gains over 500'+ in the next half mile or so with the remaining elevation gain spread out over the next two miles. The cascades alongside the trail keep your mind off your burning calves, however.

Once you reach Amethyst Meadow, the large alpine meadow below Ostler Peak, find your campsite for the weekend. There are plenty of previously used sites in the woods surrounding the meadow so there's no need to make a new one. The camping at the meadow is better than the camping at the lake just a little bit further up the trail. From camp you can watch the evening light scrape the face of Ostler Peak as the sun disappears below the horizon. Make sure you bring your camera because this place is a photographer's paradise.

The following day there are a few day-hike options available. You can head up the trail to Amethyst Lake, or one of the other smaller lakes in the area. If you're feeling ambitious, you can even try for the summit of Ostler Peak. There's no defined trail to the summit so route finding skills and a map are needed.

The fishing in the small stream that cuts through amethyst meadow is quite good. The fish are all pretty small but they seem to be very hungry. You'll have to be a little sneaky if you want to catch any, though, The water is shallow and slow-moving so the fish can easily see you standing on the bank.

If you're a photographer, you might be interested in packing a tripod to get some images of the night sky. The night skies are very dark and full of stars.

When you're all done enjoying the amazing-ness that Amethyst Basin has to offer, tear down camp and head back out the same way you came in.

Read More

Tags

Fishing
Backpacking
Hiking
Forest
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

This area is about as beautiful as it gets. We got caught in an unexpected Uintas storm, but the hike in was mild and the views were stunning.

This area is pretty well-trafficked with most trees stripped of low hanging branches. The peak is beautiful with the occasional mountain goat playing on the cliff face. Ostler Lake was definitely my favorite.

Went in June, tornadoes of flies everywhere. Lots of people had camped there the weekend before we got there. Human poop around the campground. Aside from that, It's really pretty, good for exploring and going up to the peak which has some rocky and steep spots so be careful.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

Stay Nearby

Evanston, Utah

Stillwater (Ut)

Overview Stillwater Campground is located 32 miles from Evanston, Wyoming, just off the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway at an elevation of 8,500 feet. The confluence of the Stillwater Fork and Hayden Fork...

Evanston, Utah

Christmas Meadows Campground

Overview Christmas Meadows Campground is located just a few miles off the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, 36 miles from Evanston, Wyoming. The byway cuts through the Uinta Mountains, which are known for ...

Hanna, Utah

Mirror Lake

Overview Mirror Lake Campground is located just off the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway on the shores of its beautiful namesake lake at an elevation of 10,400 feet. The byway cuts through the Uinta Mounta...

Hanna, Utah

Moosehorn

Overview Moosehorn Campground is located just off the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway on the shores of Moosehorn Lake at an elevation of 10,400 feet. The byway cuts through the Uinta Mountains, which are ...

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike to Ostler Peak in the High Uintas

    Hiking Ostler Peak in the High Uintas Wilderness is a serious challenge for anyone. Typically, this hike is done over 2-3 days, with an overnight at the beautiful Ostler Lake. Strong hikers can do this hike in one day, however, as long as you are ...

    13.7 miles 3935 ft gain

  • Backpack to Ryder Lake

    Ryder Lake is accessed via the Stillwater Trail, beginning at the Christmas Meadows Trailhead off of Mirror Lake Highway. The trail heads due south from Christmas Meadows along the Stillwater River. It winds through lodgepole pine forests and skir...

    18 miles 2000 ft gain

  • Camp at Christmas Meadows in the Uinta National Forest

    Just four miles from the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, this limited site campground is a great alternative to the larger, busier campgrounds at lower elevations. There are just 11 sites here, a few of which are first-come, first-serve. Amenities inclu...

  • Backpack Mount Beulah via East Fork of the Bear River Trailhead

    Getting thereThis trip could be crammed into a really long day or even two days, but give yourself three days to really enjoy the area and not be too pressed for time.Your departure point is the East Fork of the Bear River Trailhead on the north s...

    18 miles 3423 ft gain