Hikes

Lily Lake Hike on the Mirror Lake Highway

(Last Updated On: August 14, 2020)

Did you know that there is a Lilly Lake and a Lily Lake on the Mirror Lake Highway? The better known Lilly Lake is right on the road, features a small campground, and is a popular fishing spot because you can park right next to it. This post, however, is about the short family-friendly hike to the lesser known Lily Lake.

Hike Info

  • Rating: Moderate
  • Distance: 3.0 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 610 ft.
  • Dog-Friendly: Yes, on leash.
  • Tips: You can also drive to this liken ATVs or trucks.

The Lily Lake hike is easy, rarely visited, and short at only three miles round trip. It starts at the Bear River Guard Station, which is quite a bit farther than Mirror Lake and the other busy parts of the drive. (Find it at about mile marker 46.)

The trail had wildflowers even into the beginning of August.

There is parking at the guard station, and there are never many vehicles there. The trail to Lily Lake starts right behind the building and has a very clear sign. The path wanders up the hill, but it is never too steep. In the morning it is generally shady, and in the evening, it is mostly sunny, though you can find some shade to rest from the climb.

This is the Bear River Guard Station.
The trail is easy to find behind the building.
There is a cabin at the beginning of the hike.
You can walk inside, but there isn’t much to see.

The foliage seems different on this side of the mountain. There are still plenty of trees, but they are not the alpine variety that you see up on some of the other lake trails. It is also not quite as cool. This is definitely a morning hike.

The trail has a slight incline the entire way to the lake.
The Lily Lake trail is well marked and easy to follow.

As you hike, you come across two ATV roads that cross the trail. The first one comes at about the halfway point, and the second comes as you are nearing the lake. These roads are good signs that you are making progress, but don’t accidentally turn off the trail. It’s pretty obvious, though.

There are two ATV crossings. Just keep going straight.
This meadow was our favorite section of the trail.
The views are beautiful at the top, and there is a bench to rest on.

You should be warned that though this trail is quiet and hidden, the lake may not be. There are forest roads to Lily Lake, and people drive there to fish. Still, it is a beautiful, calm lake. Our boys enjoyed throwing rocks and looking for fish and frogs. After you reach the lake, turn around and head back down to the guard station.

There were trucks parked right by Lily Lake.
The lake was beautiful and you can walk right along the edge.
Lily Lake was a nice, quiet trail.
Head back the way you came after enjoying the lake.

We hiked Lily Lake on a Sunday afternoon. Since it is located far away from the busiest part of the Mirror Lake Highway, we didn’t see a single soul even though there were cars lining the roads around most trailheads. If you are looking for a little solitude, then this hike is for you!

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