OverviewPeak 12,060; unofficially named “Fish Lake Peak”, is another 12,000 foot peak in the Uinta Mountains. Its interpolated prominence is 280 feet, which makes it a “soft ranked peak” by the standard Colorado (and some list in Utah) prominence rules for ranked peaks. Fish Lake Peak is just to the north of the much more visible Marsh Peak.
Most of the trails in this eastern section of the Uintas are not used much, and many are fading away because of very light or no foot traffic. Even though the peaks are easy to climb, and not very rugged, this is a good place to go come to if you enjoy solitude. Many trails are shown on the topo maps, but many of them don't exist anymore. Fish Lake Peak is surrounded by logging areas, and most trails in the area on the east side are actually old logging roads.
As mentioned, Fish Lake Peak is not a rugged peak, although it has some steep sides, but it is very seldom climbed, and there is no register on the summit. The peak is still easy to climb, and can be easily done in a day, in contrast to most of the 12,000+ foot peaks in the Uintas. Like all peaks in the Uintas, except for Bald Mountain, Fish Lake Peak has no trail to the summit.
The Uinta Mountains are one of the few mountain ranges in North America that run east to west rather than north to south. Within the Uinta Mountains are about 2000 lakes, and some 900-1000 are full of trout. Along with the San Juans in Colorado, the Uintas have more contiguous area above timberline than any other area in the Continental United States. This is a beautiful area with many lakes, meadows, wildflowers, and some rugged peaks. Solitude is usually easy to come by once you leave the popular fishing holes behind.
The Uinta Mountains are very rugged in the northeast section. Beginning at Hayden Peak and east to Mount Lovenia, the Uintas are not unlike the Tetons or other ranges. East of Lovenia, the peaks are more gentle, with a few rugged peaks (ie Red Castle and Henrys Fork Peak) scattered about until you are as far east as the Henrys Fork/Kings Peak area. East of Kings Peak, the Uintas become very gentle and the peaks are very rounded with only a few scattered cliffs about.
Utah's 12,000+ Foot Peaks With 200+ Feet Prominence
Utah's 12,000+ Foot Peaks With 300+ Feet Prominence
Getting ThereAshley Twin Lakes Trailhead
From near the center of Vernal along Highway 40, turn north at the sign for Maeser and follow the road north to 500 North. Turn west here and follow 500 North to 3500 West. Turn north here. There is a sign for Red Cloud Loop Road. Follow the Red Cloud Loop Road through Dry Canyon. If you have time, make sure to stop at the pictographs and petroglyphs along the way.
The road becomes a good gravel road at the Forest Service boundary. Follow the Red Cloud Loop all the way to a junction with the road to Ashley Twin Lakes. A sign points the way to Ashley Twin Lakes, but be aware of missing signs as they tend to disappear. Follow the road towards Ashley Twin Lakes. It quickly becomes a 4wd road.
Ignore the side tracks and stay on the main track until you reach the end of the rough road. Cars will have to be parked earlier.
Park here. This is the trailhead.
Paradise Park Trailhead
Make sure to have a good map before driving to the trailhead. This is how we found the road in 1994, but things do change because this is an active logging area.
From Roosevelt on Highway 40, drive east along Highway 40 to 8500 East near Fort Duchene. Turn north on 8500 East. The road curves around to the east and becomes 9600 East and heads north to 7000 North. Turn right on 7000 North and drive east to the tiny town of Lapoint.
From Lapoint, drive north on FR (Forest Road) 104. Follow FR 104 to just short of the turn-off to Paradise Park Reservoir. Notice the road going past Mill Pond on the map. This is your road. Drive the 4wd road past Mill Pond and continue north. Continue along the rough road to a sign and 4-way junction. Park here.
If you don’t have a 4wd, you can park at Paradise Park Reservoir and hike to the 4-way junction, but the trail can be hard to find among the old logging roads. Make sure to have and use a good map.
Routes OverviewFish Lake Peak has two main accesses. One is from the west and Paradise Park, and one is from the east and from near Ashley Twin Lakes. The routes from Paradise Park are longer and it is better to do them on a two-day trip, though a fast climber could climb the routes in one long day.
Via Paradise Park/Corral Park
The Paradise Park/Corral Park-West Slopes Route is described as we found it in 1994. Since this is an active logging area, it is possible that things may have changed some. This route follows the trail east to Corral Park. In 1994, the trail disappeared here, and we wasted much time looking for it. We never did find it, so consider the “trail” on the maps to be non-existent, and just use a map and compass for cross-country travel. The route continues east to the west face of Marsh Peak where it climbs to South Ridge of Fish Lake Peak and to the summit.
See also the map and caption below for a detailed description of one of the possible routes up Marsh Peak from Paradise Park:
Via Marsh Peak
Ashley Twins-East Slopes Route (route description for Marsh Peak only) uses an old logging road, marked as a trail on the topo to ascend to timberline. From there, there is a trail that climbs the slopes to the south. The trail then fades away, but is still marked by cairns. Once you are near the south slopes of Marsh, you climb up the south slopes to the summit of Marsh Peak. Once on top of Marsh Peak, the ridge can be followed to the summit of Fish Lake Peak.
Via Hooper Lakes
The trail to Hooper Lakes begins at Ashley Twin Lakes. Hooper Lakes is one mile north along the trail. I haven’t climbed Fish Lake Peak from this side, but the northeast ridge is an obvious route. This would be the shortest route to Fish Lake Peak.
Red TapeNo permits are required. Normal wilderness rules apply.
CampingIf you like camping with not many restrictions, and without the crowds, this is a good place to come.
Dry Fork, on the road to the Ashley Twin Lakes Trailead has many nice campsites in the forest, some with picnic tables and fire places. All are free of charge! There are other campsites closer to the trailhead along the road, including near the trailhead.
The road to the Paradise Park trailhead has many nice campsites as well. Paradise Park is the only official campground in the area.
There are many backcountry campsites along all routes. The Paradise Park Route has many good campsites with water including Corral Park, Macks Park, and Fish Lake. Good campsites are around Hooper Lakes near the Ashley Twin Lakes Trailhead.
When to ClimbMid-July through Mid-September is the normal hiking season. The roads in the area are usually open in late June or early July. They usually close when ever the first big snowstorm of the season hits, usually between mid-September and mid-October.
While it is true that Fish Lake Peak is a short climb (one day) in summer by Uinta standards, this is not true in winter. None of the roads in the area are open in winter. I don't know if the mountain has ever been climbed in winter.
Mountain ConditionsContact the ranger station in Kamas for current road and trail conditions. Their phone number is 801-783-4338.
Weather Forecast for Fish Lake Peak
Here are some average highs and lows from the 12,139 foot elevation (3700 meters) in the Uintas (about the same altitude as the summit):