La Sals Mountains / Clark Lake Trail

It’s HOT down in the desert! After two solid weeks of temperatures hovering around 100 degrees, it was definitely time to head up to the mountains. We packed up the truck with almost no ambition except to park our asses by an alpine lake and cool off.  The La Sal Mountains are our token go-to summer retreat. They stand over blistering Moab promising a 20-degree temperature drop, green aspens, running streams, and tiny remnants of snow.  Places like this make summers in southern Utah bearable.

This time, we drove up to Blue Lake, which is a pretty little lake just over Geyser Pass. We set up our tent near the lakeshore, and with the exception of a family who came up to fish, we had the place to ourselves.  The first day we did a whole lot of nothing – sat, read, watched ducks swim around, and soaked up a spattering of rain. It was all perfectly relaxing until Jordan took a stroll around the lake and saw a momma bear with her two cubs!  Needless to say, we didn’t have the soundest sleep that night, but I guess it’s good practice for our upcoming backpacking trip in the Wind Rivers.

Blue Lake

Note to self:  Don't leave the camera on macro!

The next day, we went on a 6-mile hike down to Clark and Oowah Lakes. The first part of the hike was a never-ending field of wild flowers -- lupine, Utah daisies, Sego lilies, mules ear, scarlet gilia, etc. We looped down to Oowah Lake, then back up through groves of aspen. The trail doesn’t lose or gain a lot of elevation like most La Sal trails, but you still get a solid variety of landscapes. This route is also popular with downhill mountain bikers, so keep an eye out for them – they’re moving fast!

To get to the Lake Clark trailhead, head up Geyser Pass Road in the La Sal Mountains. A mile or so before you hit the actual pass, you’ll see a small dirt pull-off and a sign that says Clark Lake. Start your hike here.  The hike makes a cherry shape, so you’ll hike downhill along Trail 141 about 1.3 miles until you get to Clark Lake. From there the trail makes a loop down to Oowah Lake.  Either way works – we started on the northern part of the loop, went down 2.3 miles to Oowah Lake, then returned to Clark Lake via Trail 144.  Good stuff!

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