BETA PHOTO: Cliff Lake's Cliff as seen from the outlet stream.
The cliff belonging to the appropriately named, Cliff Lake, is a south-facing quartzite cliff band approximately 90 feet tall at its highest point, and about 100 yards wide. The talus slope below prevents trees from growing, so there is not much of a wind break. It is sunny, but that warms the rock for morning climbing. Cliff Lake isn't a particularly busy lake, even on Free Fishing day. There aren't many good campsites in the area, and the campsites that do exist aren't close to the climbing. The fishing is decent, and worms seemed like the best way to ensure a tasty dinner. It looked like there was a trail on the east side of the cliff that would provide top-rope access. The routes here are mostly sport, but there are a few traditional oferings. They range in difficulty from 5.5-5.10c. The rock was surprisingly clean and solid. Brian Cabe seemed to be the most active FA in this area, and there appears to be potential for more route development on the western flank of the cliff.
Drive on the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway (Highway 150) and turn onto the Trial Lake/Crystal Lake Trailhead turnoff. The signage here is fantastic. You will drive past the Trial Lake Dam, and switch back towards the Washington Lake Campground. The road turns to dirt just before the parking lot at the Crystal Lake Trailhead. There are pit toilets here and parking for approximately 60 vehicles. There are several trails that start from this point. Choose the Smith Morehouse Trail (AKA Lake Country). Follow this trail for several hundred yards (heading west) to the first trail that branches off to the right (north). There is a rusty sign that says "Cliff Lake" here. This trail passes on the west side of Lily Lakes and heads up a steep ridge just before Cliff Lake. The cliff is on the west side of the lake, just above the outlet stream. Expect a 20-30 minute approach.
Weather station 16.9 miles from here
11 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',5],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in Cliff Lake
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Cliff Lake
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Cliff Lake:
Vulgaria 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 70'
Featured Route For Cliff Lake
Lake Effect 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a UT
: Uinta Mountains
: Cliff Lake
A real fun route that follows a crack to a large, funky roof. Begin off the ground and fire the direct, steep start or work you way up and in from the left, either way, get up and gain composure on a small ledge. Follow the more continuous, larger, vertical crack up until you meet the base of the roof. A little bit of shuffling and maybe some grunting leads to a bolt at the routes crux, crank on and enjoy the view. ...[more] Browse More Classics in UT
By Sarah Weippert
Jun 26, 2016
We climbed at Cliff Lake this weekend (6/26/16) and encountered some changes in the approach beta. While chatting with a climber who frequents the spot, we figured out the change is likely new this spring.
The original approach trail is no longer in use and has been blocked off with logs. Instead at the point of the original fork there is a rusty sign that says "Cliff Lake TH" and points you to continue down the "Lake Country Trail." After a couple of minutes you will come to another rusty sign that says "Cliff Lake." Here you will take a right and walk until you reach Cliff Lake where you will take a left and walk along the lake until you reach the small scree field that leads up to the crag.
It's a really nice approach and, from what I have heard, it is much improved over the old trail.