Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pine Lake: ATV and Fishing Fun!

This past weekend our family visited Pine Lake, Utah for the weekend.  Let me tell you, if you are trying to find a spot to take your family for the upcoming Memorial Weekend, Pine Lake is a great place that offers something for everyone!

The lake is located just a little over 15 miles north of the Bryce Canyon Junction, this lake sits at the base of the Table Cliff Plateau with it's stunning pink cliffs.  At just over 10,000 feet, the plateau and the Barny Top tower over the lake creating a spectacular setting.  The lake is a man-made reservoir, once used for irrigating the John's Valley area, and now is owned by the Utah DWR and is managed as a fishery.  Pine Lake is a base from which to visit many attractions of the Dixie National Forest, Bryce Canyon National Park, or maybe just to spend a weekend fishing, or to stay during a hunt.  Here's a few of the activities we did this weekend on our stay:

Fishing:  Pine Lake fishing is hot right now!  Powerbait, spinners, or flies, it is hard to keep the fish off of your line right now.  The only down side is that the lake was recently stocked with fish, meaning most fish are small right now.  We did manage to catch a few that held over from last year that were decent sized fish (around 18") and put up a good fight!  Pine Lake holds mainly rainbow trout, but has also been stocked with cutthroat trout in the past.  This is an excellent lake for shore fishing, small motor boats, and float tubes.  The clear waters make it a great lake for fishing!

ATVs:  The Pine Lake area holds several ATV trails that we enjoyed very much.  Our longest ride took us up the Clay Creek drainage above Pine Lake to the top of the Escalante Mountain (Table Cliff Plateau).  At the top, we traveled out the road to the south that leads to the stunning Powell Point.  This 10,000 foot plateau abruptly ends as 1,000 foot plus cliffs break off giving you an amazing view of the Grand Staircase country below, as well as the cliffs of Bryce Canyon National Park.  This day it was a little hazy, and we had trouble seeing into Arizona as you usually can, and our view of Bryce Canyon was also not the best.  That however did not take away from the beauty of Powell Point itself, and the pine covered lands of the Dixie National Forest below the point.  Our afternoon ATV ride took us to a dead end, where a short 3/4 of a mile hike will lead you right to the top of Powell Point.  The trail is fairly easy to hike, and is well worth the time.  As far as the ATV ride, it is a very easy ride.  Beware, there is no railing on the point, so watch your footing, and keep a close eye on the young ones!

Hiking:  Though we did not hike, the Henderson Canyon Trail just southeast of the lake offers a great hike that will lead you under Powell Point, and allows you to connect to the Under the Point trail, that leads out to the Stump Springs Trailhead (about 15 miles from Escalante, Utah).  The trail is a moderate hike, and offers great views of the point.  There are also short hiking trails from the Pine Lake Campground to the lake.

Camping:  The Dixie National Forest has a fairly large campground located 1/4 of a mile north of the lake, with trails connecting to the lake.  The road to the campground is a well maintained graveled road, and access around the campground is easy for trailers on the campground's paved roads.  Water, toilets, and a campground host are available to campers, as well as a day use site, and group sites.  Be sure to plan your trip by reserving your campsite in advance!

These are just some of the activities available to you around Pine Lake.  Other ATV trails and roads offer access to the Barney Top, Boulder Mountain, and Mt. Dutton ranges.  So, if you find yourself hunting the Dutton, Boulder, or Paunsagaunt units, stop by Pine Lake, or maybe base your operations from there.  There are also several dispersed camping sites up Clay Creek and the Henderson Canyon trail head road.

Please check out this short video I put together from a few clips from out trip!