Butterfly Camp and Ruth Hike 7/19-7/20


Sep 18, 2017
I had an opportunity to spend a couple of days with just me and my boys, so we decided a short Uintas trip was in order. I normally try to avoid the campgrounds along Mirror Lake Highway during peak season, but Butterfly Lake is a place my dad used to take me when I was young, and I thought it might be cool to take my boys there. Since it was a quick trip we needed something accessible and not too far away. It was a weekday (although it was approaching a holiday weekend in Utah), so I thought we would give it a shot.

My older son is participating in a summer program in the city we live in, so he attended that in the morning while my younger son and I packed up. We arrived at Butterfly Lake at about 2:30 Thursday afternoon. Butterfly is nice because all the spots are first-come-first-served and the sites are small so there are mostly just tents and small campers. No big trailers or motor homes. I don’t really have anything against large camping rigs, but this gives the campground has a smaller, quieter feel to it. If you are going to be in a designated campground along MLH, Butterfly seems nice. The campground appeared mostly full when we arrived, and we took one of the 3 remaining spots. I believe the last two spots filled in within an hour of us getting there.

It was nice to arrive early in the day, so we could take our time. I’m trying to teach my sons little things around camp, and having more time allows me to be a little more patient with these activities. After getting camp set up, we took a walk around the lake. It was busy. In addition to the campground now being full, there were a handful of people at the lake for day-use.

View of Hayden from camp

After returning to camp we started up a fire and cooked dinner. We opted for the classic hot dog roasted directly over the fire. Hard to beat this meal when camping with the kids. They think it is so cool to cook on a fire and they love hot dogs. After the frankfurters we moved on to the other campfire classic: smores.


After smores we sat in camp and watched the sun paint Hayden different colors:

After the light show we sat around the fire for a while and then turned in. The night was surprisingly mild (for the Uintas) and the mosquitos were not bad even though we were camped right near the lake.

The next morning, we awoke to mild temps. I have a hard time sleeping-in, which is not a problem my boys share, so I slipped out of the tent for a little fishing. I didn’t have much luck but caught a few small tiger trout with a spinner in a patch of lily pads.

I walked back over to camp and the boys were up. We had an oatmeal breakfast and since we just had the one night to stay, we decided to pack up. I made some lunches and threw together a day pack. As we were loading gear into our car a family noticed we were leaving and asked if they could move into our spot as we left. It was going to be a busy weekend. We pulled out around 10:30 and headed for a nearby trailhead.

I picked the Ruth Lake trail for a hike this day. I decided on this hike because I was pretty sure it would be fun for my boys. They are still young (7 and 4) and I don’t want to push them too hard. My hope is that the outdoors will become a joy to them as it has me. It is only about a mile to Ruth Lake and it is relatively flat. The sections of trail that go uphill are through rocky shelves that act like steps. The boys loved these sections of trail.


They also loved the stone bridges

The hike was very scenic and we were all having a great time

We stopped at Ruth Lake for some lunch on a log. This particular log was full of ants which created a funny moment not long after this pic was taken.

The hike out was nice, but uneventful. It clouded up and began to rain. It wasn’t the typical Uinta afternoon thunderstorm. It built slowly and drizzled with no thunder or lightning. It was quite pleasant to have 65-degree temps with a light rain. It really felt nice when compared to the near 100-degree temps we were having in the Salt Lake area.

We decided to drive home the Kamas way and as we approached the Trial/Crystal/Washington turnoff we could see a large gathering of vehicles including law enforcement and news trucks. We could also see a helicopter hovering around. At the time we did not know the exact circumstances, but it gave me a bad feeling in the gut. We would later find out that we had witnessed some of the efforts associated with the search for Ray Humphreys who was lost while backpacking near Hidden Lake with his family. Discussion on this can be found here: https://backcountrypost.com/threads/missing-hiker-in-uintas-ray-humpherys.7852/

Despite the busy campground and sobering news of Mr. Humphreys, we had a great trip. We enjoyed a classic camping experience, great views of Hayden Peak, and a really good hike where I got to see my boys have tons of fun and become stronger hikers. Hard not to count this one as a win.
Looks like you had a great time.

Regarding mild temps in the Uintas, we bought property in Manorlands in 1983. Back then you needed a coat and gloves on a July night. Water bottles would begin to freeze during the night. I don't go up there much anymore but those cold nights seem to be over.
It was nice to arrive early in the day, so we could take our time. I’m trying to teach my sons little things around camp, and having more time allows me to be a little more patient with these activities

Looks like a great time and I totally appreciate this point. A little extra time makes everyone happier :)
Thanks for sharing. Your boys are so adorable! Love seeing them enjoy those s'mores!!
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Stephanie B Second Journey into The Maze : Butterfly Bend and Chaffin Geyser Hiking & Camping 0
Janice Yellowstone Yurt Camp - Feb. 19-23, 2023 Trip Reports 15
Ellen What are your favorite spots to hike and camp in December? Trip Planning 10
kwc Great Camp Santanoni Hiking & Camping 1
WasatchWill WRHR: Day 5 - Camp Lake to Titcomb Basin Backpacking 15
WasatchWill WRHR: Day 4 - Halls Lake to Camp Lake Backpacking 17
Perry Henry's Fork Basin - Camp Site Suggestions Trip Planning 3
norwegianxplorer How a Reindeer herd w/calves invaded my camp & started fighting over turf, backpacking Femundsmarka NP Norway Backpacking 2
BackpackingtheSierras Point Reyes National Seashore Coast Camp Trip Backpacking 4
WasatchWill To camp above treeline...or not? Trip Planning 11
Tarp Boy High Sierra Camp Loop, Yosemite, CA Trip Reports 5
D Need suggestions for a backpacking trip with a base camp Trip Planning 10
tropicalwanderer What to do: Grizzly in camp at night General Discussion 22
T Camp notes Hiking & Camping 14
scatman Lynn Camp Prong Lollipop Loop, Great Smokey Mountains National Park - May 29, 2018 Hiking & Camping 2
AbinadiWitness Chicago Basin: Part 2: Sunlight & Windom Peaks, Black Canyon Camp, Mt. Peale, UT - 16 -18 Aug. 2017 Backpacking 2
TrektheWorld Rawah Wilderness Camp Lakes to West Branch Loop Backpacking 3
John Goering Tobacco Root Mountains South Willow Creek-Camp Creek Reservoir day hike Hiking & Camping 2
Nick Camp Bag Essentials General Discussion 7
Udink Delano and Mine Camp Peaks Hiking & Camping 4
JohnP Ideas around Silverton, CO - Hike + Camp Trip Planning 8
someguy Green River - B Section River Camp Hiking & Camping 8
Chuck the Mauler Convenient camp location question. Trip Planning 8
AllNightAz First official hike and overnight 3-4 day camp trip Noobs: Introduce yourself! 2
Parma Camp Battle General Discussion 2
Bob Camp mor ten percent off code Gear 0
uintafly Good place to camp and hike with kids Trip Planning 2
Nick Nepal Earthquake: Everest Base Camp Footage General Discussion 6
WillisBodillus Everest Base Camp Oct 1-15 Backpacking 16
IntrepidXJ Winter Camp Ridge Hiking & Camping 5
slc_dan Idaho/Oregon/Norcal Camp reccomendations Trip Planning 4
Upgrayedd Areas to hike, camp and explore with small children within 3 hours of Salt Lake. Trip Planning 13
Thomas Rasmuson What do you do while you are away from camp? General Discussion 10
Dave White Crack to miner's camp Resource Discussions 0
uintahiker Camp Rucker, a ghost town without the crowds Hiking & Camping 0
powderglut Hole in the Rock Base Camp Trip Planning 3
Dan Best Camp Shoe - What's the lightest and most versatile? Gear 51
pixie1339 New camp stove/electronics charger Gear 6
L Need a Place to Car Camp in the Uintas Trip Planning 2
DAA Decent camp 2 hours Christmas Meadows? Trip Planning 6
Nurrgle Backpacker's America's Best Camp Sites - Coyote Gulch General Discussion 7
Nick Camp sites along The Burr Trail Trip Planning 10
Tyler Mount Timpanogos Camp/Summit Aug. 2006 Backpacking 10
Nickrgough Radler Trail Camp shoe Gear 4
WasatchWill Family Backpacking: Return to Ruth Lake Backpacking 0
Austin Fishing/Backpacking advice for the Uintas (Ruth,Cutthroat,Teal) Trip Planning 9
Blake Merrell Family Backpacking to Ruth Lake Backpacking 3
natylka Overnight Camping, Hiking and Climbing at Ruth Lake-August 2014 Hiking & Camping 2
WasatchWill Ruth Lake Backpacking 9
Nick Ruth Lake Trip Planning 0

Similar threads