Aspen Mirror Lake Hike
Take a short, scenic hike to Aspen Mirror Lake and be mesmerized. This tranquil, small mountain lake just of S.R. 14 is so named because it is surrounded by aspen trees, which makes it, of course, a spectacular destination in the fall.
The photographer’s paradise is especially lovely because of the yellow leaves on the white trees reflecting so perfectly on the water’s surface. But if you must ripple the water, do so with your fly rod, because the lake is fully stocked with rainbow trout all too eager to take your bait.
Aspen Mirror Lake is approximately three surface acres and sits on a high mountain plateau at about 9,500 feet above sea level. The hike is easy and a scant round trip of less than one mile. Because of the mellow approach, Aspen Mirror Lake a great place to bring the kids to enjoy the fall colors of Utah’s mountains.
Aspen Mirror Lake is marked from the road, and you'll know you're getting close when you pass Duck Pond if coming from the west. Also on 14, I'm told Navajo Lake can make for some nice fall photography if the timing is right and the whole extra drive is a great tour of the Markagunt Plateau and along Cedar Mountain. There's a Dixie National Forest visitor center in Duck Creek that can guide to additional hikes on the forest or scenic backways if conditions permit and given the proper vehicle. Travelers can then backtrack to 148 or take the forest service Mammoth Creek Road to connect back with the Patchwork Parkway.
The Alpine Pond and rim hikes of Cedar Breaks National Monument are excellent explorations just off the Patchwork Parkway National Scenic Byway (S.R. 143) on the Cedar Breaks Scenic Byway (S.R. 148). It's a short drive to Alpine Pond from S.R. 143 and only a few minutes further to Cedar Breaks — the rim of which sits at 10,000 feet above sea level. Catch Cedar Breaks before winter sets in (then return for some excellent cross-country skiing once it does).