What Makes it Great
The Mirror Lake Scenic Byway is one of the highest roads in the state of Utah, cresting at 10,687 feet at Bald Mountain Pass. Its path will guide you through the western portion of the Uinta Mountains, one of the few ranges in North America that runs east to west as opposed to the more common orientation of north to south. The route winds its way from farmland to forested valleys and higher to pristine lakes overflowing with fish. The byway will take you by the headwaters of the Provo, Weber, Duchesne, and Bear rivers. The fact that you can escape the crowds of the greater metro area of Salt Lake City and be in the Uinta Mountains in less than two hours is one of its greatest draws. At the end of the day, you can travel back to Salt Lake City and enjoy restaurants, live entertainment, shopping, a walk in the arts district and much more.
What You’ll Remember
Entering from the north, coming south from Evanston on Highway 150, you will see the snowy ridgeline of the Uinta’s high peaks rising above the lush farmland of the Bear River Basin. A stop at the Bear River Guard Station (ranger station) will give you a look back in time. An old historic tie hack cabin is on display here. The men who cut railroad ties from the nearby forests from the 1860’s to 1920’s used many tie hack cabins like this one. The ties were then floated down the rivers to the transcontinental railroad. The cabin has been restored and has photos from the era on display.
About fifteen miles south of the Bear River Guard Station, nestled below soaring alpine peaks is the highway’s namesake, Mirror Lake. This gorgeous mountain lake sits within a thick forest of lodgepole pines and is framed by Bald Mountain, Mt. Agassiz, and Hayden Peak. Taking a walk around the lake along the well-maintained trail is relaxing and easy, and offers plenty of opportunities for fishing.
A short drive up and west from Mirror Lake will bring you to the stunning vistas of Bald Mountain Pass. From here you can see multiple lakes and peaks. It’s also near the Bald Mountain Trail. If you are interested in standing on one of the highest peaks in the western Uintas consider making the journey upward. A few miles below the pass, toward Kamas, you will find the Provo River Falls. Here cold mountain water cascades down the tiered rock spillway. This is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic or find some inspiration.
Who’s Going to Love It
The Mirror Lake Scenic Byway is perfect for anyone looking to get away from the big city. Thick forests, glacially carved valleys, mountain lakes, and towering alpine summits are all part of the journey. All you need to travel this magnificent stretch of road is a car, road map, a good lunch and maybe a few friends.
Directions and Fees
The Mirror Lake Highway falls within a National Forest Fee Area. It is free to drive the byway, but if you stop to use any of the recreation areas you are required to pay the park fee. You may purchase multi-day passes at numerous locations along the Mirror Lake Highway.
From Kamas take Center Street, Highway 150, east from Main Street. From Evanston, head south on Highway 150.
GPS Coordinates for Mirror Lake:
(40.7046 N, 110.8882 W)