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It’s amazing that I’ve lived in Utah a good portion of my life and I’m still discovering new places. I’ve often heard of the Tusher Mountains in Central Utah but I just recently visited them for the first time. The Tusher Mountains are part of the Fishlake National Forest.
The white mountains against the forest background left me in awe. I couldn’t believe I had missed this beauty. The nice thing about the Tushar Mountain Trails is they aren’t as heavily traveled as many of the more well known trails in Utah. We practically had the trail to ourselves.
We took the Skyline Trail from Mud Lake to Blue Lake. To get there from Beaver, Utah go east on State Highway 153 to Forest Road 123. Follow the road past Big john Flat where the road will become challenging and steep. Follow the road to Mud Lake which is near the top. There is a ample room to park a car in front of Mud Lake. Take the trail left around the lake and follow it through a meadow. It has a gradual climb for a short distance then begins to descend.
The first white mountain, known as Mt. Shelly Baldy, makes for some early stunning views. The trail makes another short ascent and at the top there is a sign. At the sign, take the trail left. At this point, the trail descends all of the way to Blue Lake. The trail is perfect for trail running as it is in the pines much of the time and soft. There are several stream crossings and rocky parts of the trail where it passes through rock fields.
It is a couple of miles before we made it to the ridge that overlooks Blue Lake but with Mt. Baldy and Mt. Belknap in the background, the view is stunning and worth it. We hiked all of the way down to the lake which is about 4.75 miles from where we started. We also hiked around the lake but getting out was a little tricky as we had to climb a steep bank with downed trees to get back to the trail.
As we approached Blue Lake we could see where it gets its name as it is a crisp mountain blue.
The climb out is not particularly hard as it is a gentle uphill. I tried to run it but I got too tired from the high elevation and had to part of it out. However, I was able to run most of the trail down to the lake. The more experienced trail runners, Kalina and my husband Mike had no trouble running all of the trail both ways.
Recommended Gear: We used trail running shoes but hiking shoes or boots are great too. We also used our trail packs with a full 2.o liter water bladder each. It took us about a little over three and a half hours to do the nine mile round trip so I would suggest taking plenty of trail snacks as well. I burned enough calories that I felt hungry a good part of the hike. I would also recommend a breathable rain jacket as it often rains in the afternoon. In fact, we did get rained on and got wet and cold for about 30 minutes. The night before we hiked, a mudslide took out a trail runner and broke her leg. Plan and prepare for rainstorms.
Word of Caution: Afternoon rainstorms can leave the road muddy and slippery. We had a hard time getting down the first steep part of the road after our hike.
I’m still in awe of the newly discovered beauty of the Tusher Mountains. I’m also in awe that I’ve made the switch to being a 100% hiker to a part time trail runner. It just goes to prove that you are never too old to try new things.