Trial Lake, Utah

From July 13th to July 20th, 2018 we camped at Trail Lake Campground in the Uinta mountains of Utah. After a winter seeing little snowfall, the lake was quite low. I’d guess the water was 20′ lower than normal. With the gentle slope of the shore near the campground that resulted in the lake being an extra 100′ or more from the campsites.

The campground is at 9800 feet of elevation and has forested and open meadow sites.  We stayed in site 59 which is a pull-through site near the beginning of the campground. The pull-through site was protected from the campground road by several large pine trees and provided ample shade. There were also trees throughout the site making it beautiful and easy to find shade from the afternoon sun. The site also had a nice view of the lake.

The site did not have many good tent spots. There was a small site near the table suitable for a four man tent. Large tents must be placed closer to the lake in the meadow area, but these sites are a bit sloped.

We were worried about two issues getting into Trial Lake with our truck and trailer. The first was the spillway you must cross to get into the campground. There is no water in the spillway, but it is a significant dip and I was a bit worried about bottoming out. We have a 27 foot trailer with about a 3 foot tongue for a total length of about 30′. We had no difficulty with the spillway and had likely a foot to spare before we would have rubbed the hitch or bumper.

The second obstacle was the tight turn near the end of the campground on the main loop. However, taking the turn wide and slow made it easy. I don’t think I would take a trailer the size of ours in the other two loops of the campground, but the main loop is not a problem.

While at Trail Lake we were joined by our daughter and her family. In addition, we had a friend of our son stay with us for several days. The nine of us were also joined for one day by two other sons and two of one son’s children. It was a bit tricky keeping track of who was there and who was coming and going, but it also made it really fun. One of our grandsons caught a fish which repeatedly “slapped him”. He loved telling everyone that he was slapped by a fish.

One night it was beautifully clear until about 11pm when we put out the fire and prepared for bed. We noticed lightening on the horizon and prepared our camp for a thunderstorm and associated wind and rain. The lightning got closer and closer, then we could hear the wind coming through the trees, and finally the rain began. For a couple of hours we enjoyed watching the storm come, linger, and then pass.

Other evenings began with spectacular sunsets over the lake. The clouds were thin and the sun shined through them just before setting. What a beautiful sight from a float tube while fishing.

With our new batch of guests we again hiked to Ruth Lake. It was fun to watch the little kids have fun in and near the water. Our dog jumped right in and swam out to his owner, our son, and his friend. That’s the first time we’ve seen him simply jump in and swim. He usually plays by the shore and doesn’t mind getting wet and muddy, but never before has he voluntarily swam.

We had so much fun hiking Bald Mountain that we sent our daughter and her husband and two of our older sons to try it. They said they enjoyed it, but I don’t think they liked it as much as we did. I guess we have to be careful not overselling things.

On July 17th our family departed and on the 18th the parents of our son’s friend arrived to take him home. The three of us were left alone for the first time in over a week. I was worried our son might be lost without others, but we had fun playing games, watching movies, and fishing at night until dark. One night he out fished both my wife and I and was very proud of himself. We were proud as well and were very happy that he’s learned to enjoy fishing. We had a great time and worked together well on the 20th to return home.

Two straight weeks in the Uintas was great. We added 48 gallons of fresh water to our initial 80 gallons, but we made it. We’ve been wanting to do two weeks in these mountain for decades; we finally did it!

Best Sites

There are 60 sites in Trial Lake Campground. The campground is spacious and is stretched out down the lake shore. While we were camping there was no running potable water in the campground. To acquire drinking water you had to travel a short distance up the highway to Lost Creek Campground.

While we enjoyed site 59, if we were to return we would select site 57 or 58. Site 57 is a back-in site with no privacy from the campground road, but has beautiful views of the lake and an enormous meadow to the east of the site that makes it a great distance from other sites in that direction.

Site 58 is a pull-through site with little privacy from the campground road, but several pines have been planted and in a few years will provide ample seclusion. Obviously this site is between 57 and 59, but not over crowded.

Site 59 was great, but two different large families used sites 60 and 4 as if they were a single group site. These two together are very close to 59 and can get a bit loud. If a set of sites were wanted for such a gathering you couldn’t go wrong acquiring sites 59, 60 and 4. It would be a lot of fun.

Trial Lake Campground was a nice place to spend a week. The lake was fun to play and fish in. Can’t wait to be there again.

NightsTotal NightsMilesTotal Miles

Sulphur Campground, Utah

From July 6th to July 13th, 2018 we camped at Sulphur Campground on the banks of the Hayden’s Fork of the Bear River. The campground is at 9100 feet of elevation and has forested and open meadow sites.  We stayed in site 20 which is a pull-through site near the end of the campground. There was tall grasses and plants between the site and the river and a small forest on the south. The pull-through was a bit tight for our truck and trailer so we backed it in.

While at Sulphur we had family visit us and we participated in several activities. With our first visitors we went kayaking and fishing in Butterfly Lake. We caught a few fish, taught a few grandchildren to fish, and watched them have fun in and around the water.

Thunderstorms rolled in the next couple of afternoons and dropped lots of rain. The lightning was bright and the thunder was amazingly sharp and loud. We watched from within our home away from home and played board games.

With our next guests we hiked to Ruth Lake. The hike is short, but the lake is quite beautiful and the kids had fun playing in its icy waters. On our way out a thunderstorm rolled in and we quickly got into our rain gear. Fortunately the hike back to the car was only slightly over a mile and the storm was a short one.

The next morning seven of us hiked to the top of Bald Mountain. It’s summit is at 11,943 feet, but is one of the easiest mountains in Utah to summit. We were proud of our children and grandchildren for making the hike in just over an hour. Heck, we were proud of ourselves for making it! We have been enjoying the Uinta Mountains for over 34 years and had never taken the opportunity to climb this mountain, very happy we did.

At the summit there was a jar full of notes. The one I pulled out was from Ryan from Minnesota who asked that I send him a text message. Sure enough I had service, texted him, and received a friendly response. The message my wife pulled from the jar asked for a selfie, so she snapped one and sent it along. The response asked her to put the note back because the young lady is looking for a young and cute hiker guy 🙂

The area surrounding the Uinta Mountains has hundreds of small lakes, ponds, and rivers. From the top of Bald Mountain many are visible. The views were spectacular, but the gathering clouds and hunger drove us back down.

On July 11th our family departed, but we kept one of the grandchildren. In the afternoon we took our son and our grandson and taught them how to fly fish on the river. While we caught numerous fish earlier in the day, our afternoon training was unsuccessful in terms of catching fish. We did have a good time and we were able to pass on a tradition that was started 34 years ago when my wife’s grandfather taught us to fly fish on this very river and from this very campground. Perhaps these young people will remember this day and pass the lessons learned to their children and grandchildren. It was kind of an emotional experience for us as we reflected on our lives and those we miss, but praise for what they passed on to us.

On July 12th we had business down in the hot valley and used the time to shop, return our grandson to his family and pick up a friend of our son’s who will stay with us until the 18th. On the 13th we packed up and moved to Trial Lake for another week.

Best Sites

There are 21 sites in Sulphur Campground. The campground is spacious and is stretched out down the river. While we were camping there was running potable water in the campground.

While we enjoyed site 20, if we were to return we would select site 18. The pull-through of site 18 is far more usable than that of site 20, the fire ring and table are in great locations, and there is plenty of tent space. This site is closer to the river than site 20 and there is far less tall grass obscuring the river view.

Sites 19 and 21 are on the opposite side of the campground road, but offer a good alternative for two trailers and a plethora of tent spots. Site 16 is also a reasonable pull-through with a nice view of the river. Sites 7 and 9 are good options for a trailer and those using tents. Site 20 is pleasant, but better suited for a smaller trailer.

Sulphur Campground was a nice place to spend a week and for us to recall pleasant times past.

NightsTotal NightsMilesTotal Miles

Cherry Campground, Utah

We made a quick getaway this past weekend to celebrate a dear friends 60th birthday and the couple’s first time camping in a trailer. We arrived in Cherry Campground near Springville, Utah on Saturday June 30th and returned home on Monday July 2nd. Three of us were aware of the pending surprise, but her husband was not. We arrived at 4:30pm to ensure that he was settled and wouldn’t notice us arrive. We got the trailer parked in site 2 very quickly, waited for two of their children to arrive,  and then walked down to their site and surprised him. It actually worked!

The campground was well maintained and our sites were right up against the Hobble Creek. Each site had the typical fire pit with grill and a picnic bench. The site was very adequate, and while we enjoyed it, it is very close to the canyon road which is just on the other side of the creek. If we were to camp in this campground again, without children, we would choose a site away from the stream to get us away from the road and its associated noise. With children, we would likely stay where we were simply because they enjoy the creek so much.

The campsite fee was $23 per night which seems a bit high for a campground with vault toilets and no running water. The sites were clean, a reasonable distance from one another, and the hosts were friendly. What more can you ask for for $23 per night?

We learned that Cherry opens in April which is welcome news for those of us who get the camping itch early in the year. This may be just the answer for spring get aways.

Just up the canyon from Cherry there is Balsam Campground. Balsam is not as good for RVs, but has many sites for larger groups of tent campers.

NightsTotal NightsMilesTotal Miles