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North Fork Duchesne Trail (#086)

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Basics
Location:
Along Highway 150 northeast of Kamas
Length:
10 miles oneway
Difficulty:
Difficult
Elevation Change:
2400 feet
Season:
June to October

Description

The trail down the North Fork of the Duchesne goes 3 1/2 miles to the junction with the trail up the East Fork which climbs back to the Pinto Lakes area. Mirror Lake to East Fork junction is a good trail, but the grade is deceptively steep. Day hikers walking down from Mirror Lake are often surprised at how long it takes to hike back up the hill to the campground. The North Fork Duchesne Trail continues to the Duchesne Tunnel entrance, 7 miles, and down another 5 miles (Duchesne River Trail -- Mill Flat, #081) into Mill Flat and Iron Mine. ..Duchesne Tunnel up to East Fork junction -- The beginning of this trail is not well-marked from the camping area, and crosses a very soft wet meadow. The grade is gentle, but several unbridged streams present a challenge to hikers during the early-season runoff. Although the trail runs right along the Wilderness boundary it is not an easy access into the Wilderness because the Duchesne River canyon sides are steep. There is no bridge across the Duchesne River and the ford can be difficult in spring. ..The Duchesne Tunnel to East Fork junction section of this trail is a beautiful early season hike. While the high country is still blanketed in snow, the river bottom is blanketed in spring wildflowers. Waterfalls cascade down Marsell Canyon and over the rim from Murdock Basin. The upper section of the trail is a pleasant day hike for campers staying at the Mirror Lake Campground. Hikers and horse riders should be aware that the bridge crossing the Duchesne River below the confluence of the East and North Forks may not be in place, following several winters of heavy snow and high spring runoffs. While this does not directly affect the North Fork Trail, it does limit use of the connecting East Fork Trail, as this river is hazardous to ford at high water..
Location:
Along Highway 150 northeast of Kamas
Length:
10 miles oneway
Difficulty:
Difficult
Elevation Change:
2400
Season:
June to October
Useful Map(s):
USGS Quads: Mirror Lake and Hayden Peak
Additional Details:
The trail follows the Duchesne River from Mirror Lake to the Duchesne Tunnel Road. It also connects with the East Fork Duchesne Trail, #089, to provide access to Pinto Lake in the High Uintas Primitive Area..MIRROR LAKE: Toilets, water, horse unloading ramps and mangers are provided at the Mirror Lake trailhead. DUCHESNE TUNNEL: The Duchesne Tunnel Road is steep, rough and rocky and is not suitable for passenger cars or horse trailers. There are many parking spots in the undeveloped camping area at the trailhead..
Basic Directions
Two trailheads: Mirror Lake --32 miles northeast on Highway 150 out of Kamas, trailhead is located in the southeast corner of the Mirror Lake Campground. Toilets, water, horse unloading ramps and mangers are provided at this trail-head..Duschene Tunnel -- 22 miles east out of Kamas and 2 1/2 miles east on the Murdock Basin Road to the junction with Duchesne Tunnel Road, then proceed east toward the tunnel. The trailhead, marked with a roadsign, is located on the last switchback above the river. The Duchesne Tunnel Road is steep, rough and rocky and is not suitable for passenger cars or horse trailers. There are many parking spots in the undeveloped camping area at the trailhead..

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