There's not a thousand lakes, nor is there really a mountain. There is a nice hiking destination and a chance to get high and see far while in the Capitol Reef/Fish Lake area. Thousand Lakes Mountain is also called Flat Top. With a quick glance at a topographical map you will quickly notice that there is one big, big plateau ringed by cliffs. At the southern end is a point just a bit higher than the rest, there lies the summit and a mailbox register choked full of paper full of names. Peakbaggers will enjoy looking south to the Aquarius Plateau where Bluebell Knoll is the highest point and looking west to Fish Lake Hightop and it's unique summit area. One can also look down on Capitol Reef National Park, knowing that if it downpours here, it's likely to flashflood the tourists hiking in the park.
From Loa Utah on highway 24, take highway 72 north around 11 miles to a sign for Elkhorn Campground, service road 206. Follow 206 (a good dirt road) for 8 miles or so to Elkhorn Campground. There are several roads branching off but most are signed. At the campground, the road turns left. Continue on for about 2.5 miles. You'll pass a sign for a road coming from Cathedral Valley inside Capitol Reef National Park. This would be a scenic route in but the road is susceptible to floods and washes out after big rains. Again, continue 2.5 miles past Elkhorn. A sign on the right indicates "Flat Top Trail". Park there. If you hit the Deep Lake camp area, you went a bit too far.
Thousand Lakes Mountain
Distance: 2.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 800 feet
Summit Elevation: 11,308 feet
Access rating: Level 2
www.WillhiteWeb.com: Your online resource for hiking, climbing and travel
Hike up the trail. Well placed cairns help direct you where several side trails shoot off the wrong way. The trail quickly reaches the plateau and is steep just before it does so. Once on top, cairns mark the way cross country to the main plateau trail. Follow the trail south. You'll have the option to save a few minutes by cutting across an open field between 2 trails (see map at bottom of page). Soon the trail reaches a sign for Snow Lake. At this split, take the right fork. Continue on this trail until you just decide to go cross country for the summit. This is a huge meadow area and the summit is hiding behind all the trees to the south. Even inside the trees, just keep going uphill and you should bust out of the trees at the summit area.
A shorter route is from Snow Lake. I attempted to descended this route during a thunderstorm to avoid exposing myself walking in open meadows. I walked over the trail thinking it was another cattle path so it ended up being a cross country route back to the car (shown on the map as a yellow dash).
Summit area with approaching storm
Views southeast with a bit of the Henry Mountains on the left
Signing the register
Cows on the summit!
Wide open spaces
Hiking cow trails
Last big opening before the summit area
Thousand Lakes Mountain from Fish Lake Hightop
Geyser Peak (1PK)
Hens Hole Peak
Below: Blue is trail, yellow is off trail we hiked