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Thompson Lake
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Overview
Location

North Eastern Utah

Sights

Mountain vistas, a nice lake, and many boulders.

Distance

3.5 miles or so, round trip.

Parking Lot Elevation

10,680ft (Daynes Lake)

Summit Elevation

11,110ft (Cyclone Pass)

Elevation Gain/Loss

+ - 430ft

Time Required

2 - 3.5 hrs round trip (add time if you plan to fish)

Pets

Yes (But I wouldn't)

Fees

$5-10 for a week

Water Info

Streams and lakes are accessible throughout the entire hike. Giarda is present so bring a filter.

Best Season

Summer, Early Fall

Hours

Any

Sun Exposure

High

Trail Condition

Faint to nonexistent

Restrooms

None. Burry waste 6 in deep, 200ft from water.

Visitor Center

Kamas, or Bear River

Camping

Yes

Food

Edible Pine, bistort, dandelions, various grasses (don't swallow)

Equipment

Clothing:
Polyester hiking shirt, long sleeve
Eddie Bauer rain shell
REI Nylon hiking pants
Full brimmed hat
wool socks
Ankle supporting boots

Gear:
Nalgene bottle
sunblock
snacks
fishing pole
fly and tackle kit

Thompson Lake is the adventure-fisherman’s lake. Nothing like climbing a mountain pass, negotiating a mile of boulders, dodging spiders, sliding through snow fields, and trying to out run the sudden afternoon thunderstorm! All this for some pretty fat and hungry fish, if you are lucky.

GPS Coordinates:

Trailhead: 40º 40.112’N, 110º 45.591’W
Cyclone Pass: 40º 39.981’N, 110º 44.942’W
Thompson Lake: 40º 40.554’N, 110º 44.526’W

Trail Map



Driving Directions

No direct driving access. See our Four Lakes Basin Trek for details on driving, and getting to this trek’s trailhead.


The Trail:

Get yourself to the east side of Daynes Lake, in the Four Lakes Basin. Meander through the trees, along the small inlet stream, heading towards the low saddle on the ridge which is Cyclone Pass.

Profile of the pass, so you get a sense of the steepness.

Profile of the pass, so you get a sense of the steepness.

The trail grows more distinct as it runs straight up the mountain. It is a steep but short hike to the top.

Regaining energy after the hike up the pass.

Regaining energy after the hike up the pass.

Colton and I decided to take a "shortcut" by staying high on the ridge.

Colton and I decided to take a “shortcut” by staying high on the ridge.

The trail drops directly down the backside of the ridge. We’ve done this hike twice, and the second time two of us decided to stay high on the ridge and make our way down traversing diagonally. The idea was to avoid the elevation gain and loss in the boulder field and hopefully shave off a little distance, while having an easier time hiking.

We were wrong. Take the trail unless you are really adventurous.

A nice view of the expansive boulder field.

A nice view of the expansive boulder field.

The trail vanishes once it hits the boulder fields. Head north. The trick is to stay close to the mountain, but not too close. Low enough not to be on a slope, or fighting up and down the hills, but high enough that you don’t lose elevation you will just have to regain later.

One of our hikers putting the rocks to scale.

One of our hikers putting the rocks to scale.

Me hiking towards one of the small melt water pools.

Me hiking towards one of the small melt water pools.

Crossing the boulders.

Crossing the boulders.

After a few twisted ankles, and some good exercise, we made it to Thompson lake. It is not particularly attractive. The big draw is that it sees very few visitors and the fishing can be great.

Thompson Lake! Decent sized and oh-so cold!

Thompson Lake! Decent sized and oh-so cold!

Catching a fish from the rock ledge.

Catching a fish from the rock ledge.

The first time I fished here, in 2006, we had success from pretty much shore. The fish were all over twelve inches and happy and fat. They were numerous and were biting dark woolly buggers, renegades, and royal wulffs. We had a blast.

The lake has beautiful blue water.

The lake has beautiful blue water.

Our second trip (from which these pictures come) was not so successful. It was colder, later in the year, and I couldn’t see any fish scouting along the shores.

This is a skinny fish, for Thompson lake.

This is a skinny fish, for Thompson lake.

I only caught one fish this time and it was way smaller than those I caught last time. Still ok sized for the Uintas.

Refilling our water.

Refilling our water.

We all hiked light, as you’ve probably noticed from the pictures. We knew we’d have to refill our water bottles. The snowpack had melted quite a bit from our previous trip, but was perfect for the job.

Snow-melt tang.

Snow-melt tang.

One of the millions of spiders at home between the boulders.

One of the millions of spiders at home between the boulders.


The Return:

Head back the way you came. Try not to break an ankle.

Thompson Lake shoreline.

Thompson Lake shoreline.


Personal Thoughts:

Thompson lake is a fun destination if you are base-camping in Four Lakes. After a day or two of fishing, you may grow bored and the hike to Thompson is a challenging distraction. Now that I’ve been there twice, I’m not sure I’ll ever go back. I’m glad I did it, though. And if you could find a place to camp up in the trees by the north side of the lake, you’d be sure never to see anyone! This is a quiet, lonely lake.

If you have been recently, please let us know what it was like! Feel free to vote in the ratings section, and comment with an update.

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Ratings (out of 10)
Trek Planner Rating
User Rating
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Difficulty
4.0
6.8
Technicality
3.0
4.8
Enjoyment
5.0
8.3
The Bottom Line

Difficulty is basically the length, duration and stress of the Trek. If the Trek is really long then it will receive a higher rating. If the Trek is short then it won't receive that high of a rating. However, difficulty rating also includes how tired we were at the end of the Trek.

Technicality is how strenuous the Trek is. If there is lots of bouldering or if there is bushwhacking involved then the rating will be higher. Technicality also includes if there are steep inclines or the need for ropes and other equipment.

Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

4.8
Trek Planner Rating
6.6
User Rating
2 ratings
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About The Author
Hawkeye-TP
A man of adventure and generally swell guy. He was born, and has been winging it since then. Trevor@thetrekplanner.com

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2 Comments on "Thompson Lake"

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Josh
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I went to this lake over the past holiday weekend and fishing was awesome. I was using a spinner and would get a hit between the first and fifth cast. I would do about 10 casts in a spot on the shore and then move down 30 feet or so. I have pictures by am not sure how to upload them. I caught three good size brookies all around 12 inches and fat and had a few more hits and fish chasing my lure in and only fished an hour or two because the threat of storms kept rolling through… Read more »