Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ulery's Lake Trail

Ulery’s Lake Trail
This is a beautiful and fun hike at Moonlight Basin in Big Sky. You will traverse through forests, wetlands and part of the ski hill on this hike. The trail is a 3.9 mile loop if you start from the Moonlight Lodge. Park at the Lodge and on the north hillside, the trail begins. The trail has two starting points, one starts by walking over the foot/ski bridge you drove under or select the trail that heads into the woods. You will end up coming back on the other trail.

At the beginning of the trail, we walked through the ski in/out access to private Moonlight condo’s and homes, either trail will eventually head into the woods and drop down in elevation. The trail also cuts through some of the ski runs with green Moonlight Logo markers to follow and a lot of signage when you come to an intersection. Before you descend into the forest don’t forget to look around and take in the view of the Spanish Peaks range and Fan Mountain.

The trail winds through a beautiful forest, with some informational signs about the flora and fauna in the area. On my hike I ran into a Mule Deer, Fredo, my dog tried to chase it but she was too fast. We also saw some evidence of other animals from their tracks and scat. Descending lower, you will find wetlands in small pockets in the forest. At one point we saw a man-made holding pond, but it is not Ulery’s Lake! We continued the hike about for a half mile and the trail revealed a beautiful lake. The view was amazing with Lone Peak in the background. Moonlight has a yurt and a dock for their guests to fish from or float in the lake with a row boat or canoe.

After enjoying the lake with my dog Fredo, we followed the trail around the lake and it headed back up the mountain towards the Moonlight Lodge. The hike up and switchbacks are not too severe and mostly shaded, good for dogs and hot humans.
I hike this trail often as it is short, gets the heart rate going and allows Fredo some swimming time. It would be great for a family adventure. On the huffing and puffing scale I would give it a 4.

Huffing and Puffing Scale
1 = A piece of cake, I could hike this all day! (easy)
2 = Should I go farther…why not! (easy)
3 = Did I even sweat? (easy/moderate)
4 = A few switchbacks aren’t so bad (moderate)
5 = Thank god for the downhill sections (moderate)
6 = One switchback at a time (moderate/high)
7: Can’t talk, must breathe (high)

8 = Sweating and swearing a lot, but the view will be worth it! (high/extreme)

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