For a moderate day hike in the Uintas, the Lofty Lake Loop is hard to beat. In just 4 miles you’ll see a range of habitats from forests to alpine meadows, enjoy sweeping views of expansive basins and high peaks, get a chance to spot some wildlife, and visit several lakes. There are a few rough sections and steep grades, but they don’t last long. Since this is a loop hike, you won’t have to retrace your steps. While some routefinding is necessary, most trail intersections have signs, so navigating is not difficult if you’re prepared. There isn’t a lot of climbing, but the whole route is above 10,000, so watch for signs of altitude sickness.
You can hike this loop either way, but most hikers seem to prefer to go clockwise. To start, look for the trail leaving the southwest corner of the parking area (you’ll return on the north side of the lot). Just 50 feet into the woods, take a right at the sign for Holiday Park and Cuberant Lake. At the next fork, 0.3 miles up the trail, you’ll make a right again on the Cuberant Lake Trail. After crossing a small brook (0.7 miles from the trailhead), the trail comes out on the edge of an open, marshy area called Reids Meadow.
From Reids Meadow the trail ascends a rocky slope leading to another fork 1.2 miles from the trailhead. Go right again toward Kamas and Lofty Lakes. The trail continues climbing gradually for the next 0.4 miles and brings you to Kamas Lake. From Kamas Lake, keep going up as the trail follows a rocky ridge crest leading to an open meadow at 10,700 feet. This is roughly the midpoint of the hike, and it is a great spot for a rest. You'll have views of Cutthroat Lake, Jewel Lake, and Teal Lake in the basin to the north. The trail continues across a high alpine plateau to reach Lofty Lake 2.5 miles from the trailhead at an elevation of 10,840 feet. The shores of Lofty Lake are dotted with alpine wildflowers in the summer.
Just past Lofty Lake the trail reaches a high point of 10,920 feet and begins descending from a rocky outcrop. You’ll get views of Scout Lake below and to the south. Another 1.4 miles of hiking downhill will take you back to the parking lot. After passing Picturesque Lake (smaller than nearby Scout Lake), cross the service road for the Boy Scout camp and continue to the right to finish the route.
This hike should take three to four hours. Late spring through fall is the best time to go, as the Mirror Lake Highway is closed in winter.