OverviewMount Marsell is not named on the USGS maps, but is named on the Forest Service and Trails Illustrated map. Mount Marsell is an easy to climb mountain in the Western Uintas, not far west of the Lofty Lake area. There are no trails to the summit, and the peak is seldom climbed despite the fact that it is one of the higher summits in the immediate area and is an easy class-2 climb.
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.
Getting ThereLofty Lake/Pass Lake Trailhead
To reach the Lofty Lake/Pass Lake Trailhead, drive Highway 150 32 miles north, and east of Kamas or 46 miles south of Evanston. There is a sign that marks the trailhead (west side of the Highway).
Ruth Lake Trailhead
To reach the Ruth Lake Trailhead, drive Highway 150 35 miles north, and east of Kamas or 43 miles south of Evanston. There is a sign that marks the trailhead (west side of the Highway).
Routes OverviewThis is just an overview of some possible routes. For much more detail click on the route pages.
Cuberant Lake Route
If I were to choose a favorite route to the summit, this would be it. The route is not difficult, but requires route finding skills. The trail on the USGS and Forest Service maps to Cuberant Lake is mostly non-existent (unless things have changed since the 1990's). Breifly put, this route follows the Lofy Lake Trail (west loop) to Reids Meadow. From Reids Meadow, the route follows the trail north to some ponds. There is an un-marked junction here, but the Cuberant Lake Trail is hard to find. You will pull out the map and compass and route-find around the base of Marsell to Cuberant Lake. From Cuberant Lake, the route follows the northwest slopes of Mount Marsell to the summit.
Kamas Lake Route
This is the shortest route to the summit. It is an easy route, but there is a snowfield that can pose a minor problem well into the summer. Breifly put (see the route page for more details), the route heads west to Reids Meadow, north to Kamas Lake, and still farther north to Cutthroat Pass. From Cutthroat Pass, the route leaves the trail and climbs the east slopes of Mount Marsell. Near the summit is often a snowfield that blocks the route. This route is easy, and an ice axe can be of some use well into July, though most could do without.
Ruth Lake Route
Breifly put (see the route page for more details), the route follows the heavily used Ruth Lake Trail west to Ruth Lake. From Ruth Lake, the route continues on "social trails" west to Naomi Lake and continues cross-country and on social trails around the base of the mountain to Cutthroat Lake. From Cutthroat Lake, the route climbs cross-county to the south to "Cutthroat Pass". From Cutthroat Pass, the route is the same as the one mentioned above.
Guidebook AvailableMore details about the area can be found in the book Western Uinta Backcountry Guide, including many routes to the summit, and hiking trails to the many lakes, and fishing information. Just send me a PM if you want to purchase the book.
SP members can have the book for 1/2 price, and there is no shipping cost.
Red TapeNo permits are required. There is now a $3 per day use fee for parking along Highway 150.
When To ClimbJuly through September is the normal hiking season here. All trailhead roads above are closed in winter. In winter, expect to walk an extra 15-20 miles each way depending on which direction you are coming from.
CampingCuberant Lake Route
There are good campsites in Reids Meadow. The Cuberant Lake area has some really nice campsites, and they are off the beaten track.
Kamas Lake Route
There are good campsites in Reids Meadow. There are only small rocky campsites at Kamas Lake, but there is more room in the meadow north and above the lake.
Ruth Lake Route
Ruth Lake is pretty popular, so don't expect solitude at that location. There are numerous good campsites throughout the basin before climbing Mount Marsell.
Mountain ConditionsContact the ranger station in Kamas for current road and trail conditions. Their phone number is 801-783-4338.
WEATHER FORECAST FOR WESTERN UINTA MOUNTAINS
Here are some average highs and lows from Mirror Lake at 10,190 feet :