Backpack to Ryder Lake

Christmas Meadows Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Sam Watson

Amazing mountain and lake views. Great lakeside campsites. Photographing and fishing opportunities. 18 mile roundtrip hike with 2000' elevation change.

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 skirts alpine meadows, gradually gaining elevation.

After 3 miles, the trail forks. Take the right fork, as the left leads to Amethyst Lake (another popular hiking and backpacking destination). Another 1.5 miles later, the trail forks again. This time, take the left fork (the right fork leads to Kermsuh lake). Both junctions are well-marked with posted wooden signs. The trail continues south for another 1.5 miles before slowly turning southwest. The trail ascends a steep gulch for 0.5 miles, before plateauing for the remaining 1.5 miles.

Many small lakes dot the landscape before reaching Ryder Lake. Hikers will know when they reach Ryder Lake, however, as it is far larger and more prominent than those already passed. It features many campsites around its shore.

Those interested in fishing (with a fishing permit, of course) will find many opportunities to fish at the lake, as well as along the Stillwater river on the hike up. The High Uintas are notorious for their fickle weather, so be sure to bring warm clothes and rain gear. A camera is also a must for capturing the amazing alpine landscapes, as well as wildflowers and wildlife that are present during summer months. The trail features several stream and marsh crossings, so be prepared to get your feet wet. Amethyst Lake attracts the majority of visitors from Christmas Meadows, so expect plenty of solitude around Ryder Lake.

Distance

18 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

2000 ft Gain

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Camping, Fishing, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Dog Friendly
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Nearby Lodging

Lyman KOA

Lyman, Wyoming

From $300/night

The Cliff Lodge

Sandy, Utah

Salt Lake City KOA

Salt Lake City, Utah

Community Photos

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. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Fun hike

Fun hike, I did it as a day hike with my dog and it was pretty fun. There were a few water crossings but I didn't need to get my feet wet. There is a lot of mud along the trail so bring towels or blankets to keep the mud out of your car.

I went with a group of kids and it was really sweet we went swimming in it and it was freaking cold but freaking cool

Tours

More Tours

Nearby Adventures

Adventure

Hike to Ostler Peak in the High Uintas

Adventure

Backpack Amethyst Basin

Adventure

Backpack to Amethyst Lake

Adventure

Camp at Christmas Meadows in the Uinta National Forest

More Nearby Adventures