Oowah Lake

Round Trip Distance: 2-3.6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate +
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 8171 - 9085 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 1 hr. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Warner or Oowah
Fee: none (camping $10)
Attractions: Forest hike/bike

The Oowah Lake trail is located in the La Sal Mountains near Moab, Utah. The trail runs between the Warner Campground at Warner Lake and the Oowah Campground at Oowah Lake. The trail by itself is only about 1 mile long but after factoring in the distances from the two campgrounds the total round trip distance comes out to about 3.6 miles. The trail gets quite a bit of use by both hikers and mountain bikers.

To get to the area from Moab drive south on Highway 191 measuring 7.8 miles from Center and Main. Turn left onto the Old Airport Road and follow the signs for the La Sal Mtn. Loop.

This post begins at the Warner Campground. To get there follow the La Sal Mtn. Loop Road for 15 miles and turn right onto Forest Road 0063. The road is marked by a sign for the Warner Campground. Continue on the now graveled road for 5 miles to reach the campground. There is a 'Day Use' parking area for those that don't plan on camping overnight.

From the campground follow the trail as it passes Warner Lake.

A little past the lake at the 0.3 mile point from the campground the trail comes to a 4-way intersection where the Oowah Lake, Burro Pass and Shuman Gulch trails all meet.

From the intersection the trail continues through thick stands of aspen trees.

A little further and the Oowah Lake trail crosses the Trans La Sal trail where there is a sign pointing the way to Shuman Gulch. The remainder of the Warner Lake to Oowah Lake trail shares its route with the Trans La Sal trail.

As the trail nears the edge of the hill and begins descending into the Mill Creek drainage it becomes a lot rougher and a bit sloppy in places where water is seeping down it.

There are a couple of spots that are a bit steeper and a few that get pretty rocky.

At the 1.5 mile point, which is exactly what the sign reads in this case, the trail meets up with the Oowah Lake Road. Actually this is probably the end of the trail but since the intention is to get to Oowah Lake it is necessary to follow the road for another half mile.

Oowah Lake looks to be slightly bigger than Warner Lake. For the fishermen both lakes get stocked with trout. The Clarks Lake trail begins on the east side of the lake and runs up to Clarks Lake and then on to the Geyser Road. Another trail branches off of it at Clarks Lake and loops back down to Oowah Lake.

There is about 900 feet of elevation gain to get back up to Warner Lake from Oowah. The slideshow at the end of this post shows the rocky uphill section of the trail a little better on the return trip. We have both hiked the trail and mountain biked it. Riding it is definitely a more intensive workout than hiking it. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.