A great, easy loop that hits some beautiful highlight and is a great introduction to trails in the area. Incredible views abound and the unique geological features of the Uintas are on full display here.
It’s a busy trailhead, so get there early. If you don’t and can’t find a spot, then avoid the temptation to park along the road leading to the trailhead as tickets are frequently handed out. There’s overflow parking down at the group camping area, but it’s an extra 0.5 miles or so up to the trailhead.
Starting at the Crystal Lake Trailhead, you may be taken aback by the crowds that are usually here. But don't worry, the trailhead serves a lot of different destinations, and the crowds will thin rapidly.
Look for the the Lakes Country Trail
out of the west side of the parking lot. After about 0.25 miles, turn right on the well-marked Clyde Lake Trail
. This trail will climb gently past Cliff, Petit, Linear, and Watson lakes in a series of flat lakeside meanders alternating with short climbs that involve a few rocky sections. Once you’re beyond Watson Lake, you’re nearly to Clyde Lake which sits at top of a rocky shelf that stretches from Mt. Watson to the notch.
The trail heads around the north shore of the lake, but there's plenty of opportunity to explore around the waters edge. After Clyde Lake, it's a short hop on the singletrack to Twin Lakes and just a bit farther to the well-marked junction with the Notch Mountain Trail #81
. Turn right to descend back toward Wall Lake and continue over the outflow bridge back to the trailhead.
Pika and marmots can be spotted through the area. There are gooseberries and occasionally raspberries later in the year too. The Brook trout in Clyde Lake will take a reasonable fly willingly.