Thousand Lakes Mountain is located in the eastern section of Fishlake National Forest, to the northwest of Capitol Reef National Park. It covers an area of about six acres central to the communities of Bicknell, Fremont, Loa, Lyman, Teasdale and Torrey. The mountain looms from 7,000 feet, where the terrain is craggy and rugged, to alpine meadows and forests at its peak elevation of 11,306 feet. Thousand Lakes Mountain is notably flat at the summit, which offers up expansive views of the Henry and Tushar mountain ranges, Capitol Reef National Park and the Aquarius Plateau.
In spite of its name, there are actually few lakes on Thousand Lakes Mountain. Local folklore offers two theories about how Thousand Lakes actually got its name. One legend tells us a cartographer confused the mountain with its nearby southern neighbor, Boulder Mountain, while another tells us locals deliberately misled topographers in order to keep word about Boulder Mountain’s top-notch fishing from getting out. Regardless, one thing is for certain: Thousand Lakes Mountain is known more for its rugged terrain than for bodies of water.
Thousand Lakes Mountain’s flat plateau is capped with basalt and volcanic rock. Layers of colorful Mesozoic sedimentary rock on the south side of the mountain and gray shale on the north side are largely buried beneath geologic debris from thousands of years of erosion, uplift and landslides (notably rare in today’s dry climate).
Known for its solitude even during peak season, Thousand Lakes Mountain nonetheless offers year-round adventure: ATV riding on the eastern slope, backcountry camping, mountain biking, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. The solitude is ideal for big game hunting and some fishing; elk is plentiful, and the best trout catches can be found at a few lakes around 8,000 feet and 10,000 feet. A section of the Great Western Trail runs north-south across the mountain, and a 35-mile scenic backway crosses the mountain from Fremont to Capitol Reef. Thousand Lakes Mountain is one of south-central Utah’s hidden gems, just waiting to be explored.
Read more about Thousand Lakes Mountain here.