Looking for a good trail for scouts

trantelica

New Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2014
Messages
2
Last year we took a few boys to Island Lake for our first backpacking trip and had a good experience. We are interested in stepping up our efforts. I was looking at maybe putting in off the Mirror Lake Highway and hiking to Smith and Morehouse via Big Elk Lake. Anyone with experience on this trail or any feedback. We were looking to cover this in 4 days.
 

uintahiker

Adventure Guru
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
719
Not sure where you intended to start. Crystal Lake TH to Smith & Morehouse runs 12-15 miles. Hitting Big Elk Lake on the way might add another 2-3 miles. The popular part of the trail goes from the TH to Island Lake, with a steep drop off of fellow hikers after that point. i haven't done it, but it's been on my list for a while as a point to point day hike.

What's your motivation/reason? If you're out to have a leisurely 4 days, you'll have a good time. Anything other then that you'll finish in a lot less time then you have indicated.

If you want a longer hike, but still relatively accessible, you could start at Bald Mountain, then hike to Ibantik Lake (night 1), then over past Wall Lake to Long Lake (night 2), Big Elk (night 3), then out the next day to Smith & Morehouse.
 

trantelica

New Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2014
Messages
2
Not sure where you intended to start. Crystal Lake TH to Smith & Morehouse runs 12-15 miles. Hitting Big Elk Lake on the way might add another 2-3 miles. The popular part of the trail goes from the TH to Island Lake, with a steep drop off of fellow hikers after that point. i haven't done it, but it's been on my list for a while as a point to point day hike.

What's your motivation/reason? If you're out to have a leisurely 4 days, you'll have a good time. Anything other then that you'll finish in a lot less time then you have indicated.

If you want a longer hike, but still relatively accessible, you could start at Bald Mountain, then hike to Ibantik Lake (night 1), then over past Wall Lake to Long Lake (night 2), Big Elk (night 3), then out the next day to Smith & Morehouse.

The boys have wanted to just camp out at a lake for the timeframe and just chill. I would like to challenge them a little. Last year we stopped at Island Lake and stayed the entire time. I was hoping to give them a bit more of a challenge. I have a mixed group in terms of appetite for hiking and experience. If that explains the pacing ...

I read somewhere, probably on another site possibly, about being able to drive up into within sniffing distance of Big Elk and then connecting into Smith and Morehouse trail, but given our familiarity with the Crystal Lake TH and the relative ease of spreading across 4 days, maybe I will go that route.
 

uintahiker

Adventure Guru
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
719
You can drive close to Big Elk, but it does take some high clearance and knowing which forks in the road to take. 4 days would definitely leave you lots of fishing time if you did that. Heading out from Crystal IMO has 2 big advantages- the easier TH access (including vehicle shuttle if needed) and it covers a few more miles on the trail. Just the same, you won't be rushed with 4 days.
 
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