Amethyst Lake - Uinta Mountains

Kamas, Utah

6.6 Miles Hiking (One way)
13.2 Miles Total
7-9 Hours total walking time.
1,950' Elevation gain.

Trailhead 8,790'
Amethyst Meadows 10,360'
Amethyst Lake 10,740'

With Views of:

A-1 Peak
Christmas Meadows
Stillwater Fork
Ostler Fork
Ostler Peak
Lamotte Peak
Amethyst Lake
Pointy Peak Lake

Looking southwest over Amethyst Lake toward Ostler Peak.

Amethyst Lake is located in one of the most pristine natural areas in Utah. Stocked to the hilt with wildlife, the Stillwater Drainage is heaven for nature lovers. There are many types of birds, chipmunks, squirrels, pika, marmots, deer, elk and moose. We encountered at least 5 moose.

Stillwater Fork is located in the first drainage on the north side of the western end of the Uinta Spine.


If you're coming from Salt Lake take I-80 east, follow the signs to Kamas. In Kamas, follow the signs, you turn left after the supermarket, then right. After you leave Kamas, you will then drive past the Beaver Creek Nudist Ranch on your right. If you like old fat naked people, you could park a pervert van and watch through the pediphile port. If you're lucky, you might spot one.

Once you get into the Uinta National Forest, you'll need to buy a Recreation Pass for $3.00 or so.

As you drive along the Uinta Highway 150, you will pass Ruth Lake on your left and on your right, you will pass Hayden Peak, then Kletting Peak, then the road will start to curve around Kletting peak and trend to the east, after a few miles you will pass A-1 Peak on your right, then you'll cross Sulpher Campground, Stillwater Campground and the Bear River. From somewhere along this area you can see all the way to Amethyst Cirque from the Highway 150. When you reach Christmas Meadows Campground, take a right (South) up the dirt road.


The trail starts at the southern end of Christmas Meadows, about 4 miles from the Uinta Highway at the overflow parking lot on the right end of Christmas Meadows Campground. Most of the people visiting are there to fly-fish in the river. Sign into the registery so in case you get lost, they can look for you.

The trail starts out walking along a pine meadow with alternating views of meadows, pine forests and rivers. It's mostly soft ground, and it's almost flat, except for a few steep rocky areas. I hiked this section in flip-flops. After you hike for about 2.5 miles there is a large, old, wooden sign that says "Uinta High Wilderness" right on the trail. Soon (3-7 minutes) afterward you'll need to look for a turn to the left. If you reach the Ostler Creek (Which is a river crossing with two small bridges, both of them washed out at the time of this writing) you have gone too far.

Once you turn left or east the trail starts to incline quite drastically, This part of the trail reminded me of Bell's Canyon in the Wasatch, lot's of steep hiking up rocks. To the right of the trail is a relaxing creek of spring water glissading over smooth, algae covered limestone. Watch for the post-card areas to stop and rest at, it's worth it to take your time along this part of the trail. After about 1/2 mile or so of hiking up Ostler Fork, the trail starts to flatten out and views of Ostler Peak on your right and Lamotte Peak on your left, open up. Small meadows start to become common through this section.

You will see some nice grassy meadows on your left and you might consider camping there, keep going, camp at Amethyst Meadow or beyond, it's well worth it. After about 2.5 miles up Ostler Fork, Amethyst Meadow opens up on your left, it's the largest meadow up Ostler Fork.

Soon after Amethyst Meadow, there is a nice unnamed lake just to the right of the trail under Ostler Peak (I will call it Pointy Peak Lake). There is also camping nearby this lake. From this point, the trail is very easy, and extremely beautiful, bring a camera, with a wide angle if you've got one.

After you walk for a little over a half a mile, you will see a massive rock talus coming down from near the summit of Ostler Peak (I wonder if you could get to the peak through this talus), and the alpine cirque walls at the end of the Ostler Drainage. Amethyst Lake waits just ahead.

If you have time, walk around the whole lake, there are many beautiful things to discover off the beaten path.

August - Tuesday 21 - Wednesday 22, 2007

Looking south toward Christmas Meadows
Behind sits Ostler Peak: 12,718' and Spread Eagle Peak: 12,540' with Ostler Hill in the center.
To get to Amethyst Lake, you'll need to go right at the base of Ostler Hill, up Ostler Fork.

From near the mouth of Stillwater Fork, Looking southwest.
Far in the distance sits A-1 Peak: 12,377'

You'll probably see a lot of moose from the trail along Stillwater Fork and Christmas Meadows
If you make noise until you see a moose, it's hard to sneak up on one and scare it.
Scaring a moose may sound fun, but you won't be walking so good anytime soon afterward.
As soon as you see one, it's good to just be quiet and walk with your head humbly down.
Don't lift up your arms, don't show him your hands, don't face him directly,
these things can make the moose wonder how far up your rear-end his antlers would go.

Another Bull Moose near Christmas Meadows.

Trail Marker, from here, if you continue forward, you can reach Kermsuh Lake,
or Ryder Lake and McPheters Lake, but if you want to go to Amethyst Lake, you'll need to turn left here.

This sign is found on your left, soon after the old wooden High Uinta Wilderness sign.
If you reach Ostler Creek, you've gone too far.

A-1 Peak from along the trail up Ostler Creek.

Ostler Peak from along Ostler Fork

Some grassy meadows before Amethyst Meadow.
The ridge on the right is Ostler Hill which turns into a ridge that leads to the back of Ostler Peak.
Watch the knobby bump on the ridge ahead on your right (left side of the picture),
it's a good indicator of where you are, when you reach it,
you'll soon be arriving in Amethyst Meadow.

Amethyst Meadow with Ostler Peak behind.

Ostler Peak - 12,718'

Amethyst Cirque from Amethyst Meadow.

Water furrows creating a network for fish in the Amethyst Meadow.
The water was about 2-3 feet deep.
Ostler Lake sits on the right (west) side of the Pointy Peak (rockface) below Ostler Peak.
In other words, just walk to the right of the mountain in front of you
and you'll eventually encounter Ostler Lake.

An unnamed lake (Pointy Peak Lake) along the trail with Ostler Peak above.
If you follow the direction of this rockface east,
over the hill on the right, you will reach Ostler Lake in about 1/3 of a mile.
This rockface is the Pointy Peak you can see on the right of Ostler Peak from Amethyst Lake.
I wish I would have hiked up to the top of this Pointy Peak.
This seems like the best place to start to get to the Ostler Peak summit, but don't take my word for it.

Looking north from south of the Pointy Peak Lake, behind is Lamotte Peak

Precarious rock spires on the Pointy Peak below Ostler,
waiting to bonk someone on the head.

Amethyst Meadow with Lamotte Peak 12,720' behind.

Amethyst Meadow, Lamotte Peak

The ridge south of Lamotte Peak, leading toward Amethyst Cirque.

Amethyst Meadow, Ostler Peak, with the Pointy Peak rockface on the right.

Ostler Peak

Right before you get to Amethyst Lake, many meadows open up with little streams.

Amethyst Lake with some castle spire formations looming in the background.

Colorful rock layers of Ostler Peak
This rock scree might be another possible route to the top,
or to your doom, one of the two.

Amethyst Lake, Amethyst Cirque and Ostler Peak.

Here is a view of the point on the Pointy Peak
Ostler Lake would be on the opposite side of this.

Many creeks, rivers and springs in the area.

Ostler Peak Summit, made of mixtures of purple and orange limestone.

Looking south over Amethyst lake to the end of Amethyst Cirque

Amethyst Lake Trout.
Looking north with Lamotte Peak in the background.

Uinta Trout

Looking north over Amethyst Lake toward Lamotte Peak

Looking east over the clean, shallow waters of Amethyst Lake,
toward the rugged castle spires near the south end of Amethyst Cirque.

Looking straight north from the southern end of Amethyst Lake
toward the mouth of Ostler Fork and Lamotte Peak.

Interesting limestone slabs on the southeastern end of Amethyst Lake

Looking west toward Ostler Peak's eastern face.

Fom the southeastern end of Amethyst Lake looking toward Ostler Peak.
You can see another possible route to the summit of Oslter Peak,
angling up from the far left, starting below the cirque wall.

Mildly evil looking castle spire structures on the east side of Amethyst Cirque.

Looking northwest over Amethyst Lake down Ostler Fork. Ostler Hill is on the left.

Fom east of Amethyst Lake looking east over some sea-weed saturated streams.

From east of Amethyst Lake looking west toward Ostler Peak.
The Pointy Peak is clearly visible just right of center.
Compare this to the distorted perspective of this little peak from Amethyst Meadow.

Darn Yellow-Bellied Marmot!

Looking west over Amethyst Lake.
The Pointy Peak and Ostler Hill sit behind
Ostler Lake (not visible here) is straight forward in between the Pointy Peak and Ostler Hill.

Looking south from the north end of Amethyst Lake
Behind sits Amethyst Cirque and mighty Ostler Peak.

A Meadow below Ostler Peak, just west of Amethyst Lake.
The ground was still very wet.

Strange clouds create a more ominous view of the castle spires
sitting above the east side of Amethyst Lake.

From Christmas Meadows, looking north toward the mouth of Stillwater Fork.

From the Uinta Highway looking south towards Ostler Peak.
Ostler Hill is in the foreground.
You can see the Pointy Peak at the bottom of the ridge leading up to Ostler Peak.

From the Uinta Highway 150 you can find a clear view of Amethyst Cirque and Ostler Peak,
if you squint you can see Amethyst Meadow behind that pine tree.

For a map of the trail to Amethyst Lake:
Amethyst Lake Map

Thanks to Heid and Jason


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