- Rising above the valleys in central Utah, the mountains and elevated plateaus within the Fishlake National Forest hold hidden niches of beauty and solitude. Water is especially important in this semiarid climate and small streams "feed" the valleys. Canyons cut by these streams have colorful walls revealing a variety of geology. There is a mix of sedimentary and volcanic rocks as this is the transition zone between the Colorado Plateau and the Basin and Range Provinces. In the Tushar Mountains, peaks exceed 12,000 feet in elevation.
Scenery across 1.4 million acres varies from semi-desert to alpine. Lower elevation lands of rock, sage, pinyon pine and juniper appear desert like especially in the southeast corner with its red cliffs. About half of the land is covered with aspen and evergreen trees interspersed with meadows and low sage openings.
The Fishlake has two National Recreation Trails: Fish Lake shoreline trail and the Skyline Trail in the Tushar Mountains. The Skyline offers an alpine setting amid peaks over 12,000 feet. The Paiute ATV Trail is a 230 mile loop with side trails to communities with services. It is a combination of roads open to use by off-highway vehicles and trails wide enough for all-terrain vehicles (ATV's). 4x4 vehicles can use the road portions of this designated route. In the eastern part of the Forest, the Great Western Trail crosses the Fishlake on its way to the Mexican border from Canada. It also accommodates vehicle, horse and foot traffic.
Recreation - Nineteen National Forest campgrounds offer opportunities for family and group camping. Sites range in size from 7 to 68 units and in elevation from 5,500 to 9,300 feet. 2,500 acre Fish Lake and nearby 670 acre Johnson Valley Reservoir are the most visited places on the Forest for camping and fishing. Dispersed camping is also available throughout much of the Forest.
Two tracked roads and trails offer opportunities to discover beautiful niches of solitude using four-wheel drives, ATV's, motorcycles or horses. Mountain biking activity is growing with rides ranging from a paved road at Fish Lake to trails with over 5,000 feet elevation change. Over 1,100 miles of hiking trails offer a variety of hiking, backpacking and horseback opportunities.
Thousands of hunters come to the Forest each fall for deer and elk hunting. Wildlife viewing and photography is growing in popularity in the area.
Climate - Because of Utah's mid-continent location, it experiences wide temperature variations between seasons. Climates in Utah also vary greatly with elevation.
During winter and spring, much of the precipitation comes in the form of snow, with a deep snowpack accumulating in many of the high elevations. By late spring, temperatures warm up in the canyon country and low elevations, while the mountain snowpack begins to melt. The high mountain roads and trails are not normally free of snow until mid to late June. Summer brings warm temperatures to most areas, with hot temperatures in the canyon country. Afternoon thunderstorms become common by June and can be expected into September. With these storms, flash flooding is a possible hazard in gullies and narrow canyons.
The Fishlake National Forest is located in central Utah, near the towns of Richfield, Fillmore, Beaver and Loa. Forest Service offices are located in each of these towns. I-70 runs through the middle of the Forest and I-15 runs along the west side.