ApproachThe Upper Setting Road takes of north off Highway 150 8.7 miles east of Kamas. The lower section of this gravel road is good for passenger cars, but the upper half of the road is suitable only to high clearence vehicles. There are many side tracks, but follow the main track to its end.
Route DescriptionFrom the trailhead there are two options and trails to choose from. The upper trail is the one shown on all the maps, but the area has been logged and is heavily grazed by cattle. The lower trail is the more scenic one, and is more well-used despite the fact that it is not shown on the maps.
At the trailhead at the end of the Upper Setting Road is a roadblock. Follow the old road north from the "closed to motorized travel" sign. After following the old road for a short distance, there is a trail heading to the east (right). There is a signpost pointing the way to East Shingle Creek Lake and Erickson Basin. This trail heads east and passes a pond covered by lily pads. From here the trail curves around and heads north to a junction with the Shingle Creek Route. Go left and 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.
This route is about 12.6 miles round-trip.