ApproachThe trailhead is at a signed parking lot located on the north side of Highway 150 10.1 miles east of Kamas.
Route DescriptionThis well constructed trail is often used by horsepackers. All major creek crossings are bridged. From the trailhead, the trail heads north through aspen and pine forest and passes several beaver dams along the way. Most of the trail climbs gradually, but there are a few steep sections. After five miles, the trail reaches a junction just below East Shingle Creek Lake. This is where this route meets the Upper Setting Route. Turn right and follow the trail to the lake. The lake is in a beautiful meadow and forest setting. From the lake, take the trail east posted for Erickson Basin. The trail climbs gradually east for .75 mile to a minor pass. An abandoned trail (shown on the topo map) heads north and drops into Erickson Basin from the pass, but continue east on the main trail. The main trail to Erickson Basin heads downhill to the east and reaches South Erickson Lake .5 miles from the pass. The lake is in a spectacular setting with surrounded by meadows and high peaks. There is a junction at the lake that is not shown on the topo maps. The Erickson Creek/Smith and Morehouse Creek Trail is the one that heads north (left). The trail to the right that heads east is the one you want. Continue on the lesser-used trail east to Big Elk Pass by following cairns the best you are able. From the pass, head east down the slope to a couple of small ponds. From the ponds, head east along the the bench until a convienent route can be found south down the steep slope and to Big Elk Lake. It is here that the route meets the one from Norway Flats. Big Elk Lake is in a spectacular setting and is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Western Uintas. Maps mark a trail from Big Elk Lake east to Island Lake, but the trail is indistinct. You may have to search around a bit for the beginning of the trail. Stay about 30 feet above the east shore of Big Elk Lake and look for a trail heading uphill to the east. This trail quickly becomes indistinct, and is marked with cairns. Make sure to have a good topo map. The trail heads east through some nice meadows to an un-marked junction with the Smith and Morehouse Trail 2 miles from Big Elk Lake. This is also right at a pass and near a pond. From the pass/junction/pond, climb to the NE along the ridge and to the summit. The ascent is steep and with boulder-hopping.
Round trip distance is 19.6 miles and the route usually takes two days.