North Eastern Utah
Mountain vistas, a nice lake, and many boulders.
3.5 miles or so, round trip.
10,680ft (Daynes Lake)
11,110ft (Cyclone Pass)
+ - 430ft
2 - 3.5 hrs round trip (add time if you plan to fish)
Yes (But I wouldn't)
$5-10 for a week
Streams and lakes are accessible throughout the entire hike. Giarda is present so bring a filter.
Summer, Early Fall
Faint to nonexistent
None. Burry waste 6 in deep, 200ft from water.
Kamas, or Bear River
Edible Pine, bistort, dandelions, various grasses (don't swallow)
Polyester hiking shirt, long sleeve
Eddie Bauer rain shell
REI Nylon hiking pants
Full brimmed hat
Ankle supporting boots
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.
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
No direct driving access. See our Four Lakes Basin Trek for details on driving, and getting to this trek’s trailhead.
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.
The trail grows more distinct as it runs straight up the mountain. It is a steep but short hike to the top.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I only caught one fish this time and it was way smaller than those I caught last time. Still ok sized for the Uintas.
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.
Head back the way you came. Try not to break an ankle.
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.