It’s great to have a little local hill for when you need to get out for a bit but are short on time. Out in Eagle Mountain, we have easy access to a lot of rolling foothills in the Lake Mountains—Turtle Hill, so named in honor of a local’s pet turtle, is one of the most easily accessible spots for a quick summit, and a good jumping off point to explore other areas of the foothills.
I make a loop up the hill pretty regularly—at least once a week—so I figured I’d add a quick write-up about it.
The Lake Mountains are a mixed use area, without any specifically designated hiking trails. That means pretty much all hiking back here is along rough roads shared with ATVs and the occasional jacked up truck or jeep. There’s a great network of mountain bike trails back here, too, that Dan and I have been starting to explore.
Hiking Turtle Hill
Turtle Hill is easily recognizable from the Pony Express Highway, with the distinctive zig-zag road that goes to its top. There are two easily-accessible places (that I know of) to park for the hike to the top. Off of North Lake Mountain road, just past where it turns to dirt and right at the base of the zig-zag trail is a dirt pull-out. Maybe a hundred feet farther down there’s another parking spot with some parking barricades behind it.
I usually part in this second spot. From here, a rough dirt road winds back into the foothills. The road eventually branches off and heads up the back (east) side of Turtle Hill.
The road “Y”s and cuts across a deep wash that’s been carved into the soft sandy ground. I keep left to go up Turtle Hill, but there’s plenty of exploring off of all the other roads back here, too.
I’m always amazed at how scenic it can be out in the foothills, and at how remote it can feel. The rolling hills hide any signs of civilization (except for the massive powerlines), and cell phone service drops out in much of the area.
The road curves back to the west, and stays fairly mellow as it switchbacks up the back of the hill. The final bit up to the top is brutally steep, but thankfully short.
The steep stretch goes quick—just enough to get your heart pounding. Then, you’re up on the wide, rocky top of the hill with panoramic views.
It’s rare to get through a whole hike out here without hearing ATVs roaring around, or the distant thud of gunshots echoing across the valley. Still, there are moments of stillness and quiet that make it hard to believe that you’re technically within the city limits of a population center of over 40,000 people.
The loop is about 2.4 miles, and only about 420′ elevation gain. Not a destination hike by any means, but for someone in the area it’s a quick and surprisingly scenic way to spend some time outside.