Lower Barker Reservoir is located in Garfield County, Utah in the southwest area of the Boulder Mountains. This is within the North Creek Lakes area of the Dixie National Forest. From Escalante, Utah, drive 2.5 miles west on Highway 12, then turn right at the North Creek Lakes sign and right again at the Barker Recreation Area sign, onto Forest Road 149. Drive approximately 16 miles on FR 149. The last 3.4 miles of FR 149 are steep and single-lane with switchbacks and turnouts.
Road conditions can change very quickly in the boulders. However, in 2021 when I was last here I was able to drive my low clearance hatch back all the way to the lake. The road from Escalante is typically kept in good condition in the summer months. From Escalante it is about 45 minutes to an hour drive.
The reservoir is stocked yearly with tiger trout and splake. In 2022, 807 cutthroat were planted. The cutthroat may become a yearly stock. Up until 2016, rainbow trout were planted yearly. However they are not anymore. Brook Trout were planted yearly until 2012. There is an effort being made now by DWR to remove all fertile brook trout in the drainage. In 2022 Joe Lay and North Creeks Lake were treated with rotenone to remove fertile brook trout. Colorado cutthroat and sterile brook trout will be stocked to replace the fish.
In 2022 Joe Lay and North Creeks Lake were treated with rotenone to remove brook trout. Since this date Cutthroat have been stocked in the north creek drainage.
When we last visited Lower Barker Reservoir in 2021 we found this raft that someone made. My brother took it for a spin around the reservoir. It was much more difficult to pilot around the water than we expected. Their is a dock that reaches out into the lake. The dock offers an excellent fishing area. I walked around the lake and found it hard to fish from the shore. There were several plants and moss that made casting difficult. I would recommend just fishing from the dock.
There are three campsites nearby. A large group camping site called old lady young. A smaller group site named porter. As well as the Barker Recreation Area, which has 13 camping sites. Each site has restrooms. Each site also has locking bear proof food boxes. These are a must since there are a lot of hungry bears in the area.
We camped near the lake in late September. We saw a lot of deer which were all does and fawns. In the evening a large heard of elk would come through and bugle loudly.
There used to be a road that lead directly to Yellow Lake. This has been closed for a few decades now. Now the trailhead to the lake starts on the far side of Lower Barker.
Barker Lake Loop. This hike consists of a few different trails that can be combined to make a loop of the four surrounding lakes. From Lower Barker walk along the east side of the lake. Once you get to the north side of the lake you will see a trailhead for Flat Lake No 043. The lakes in this area are a pretty easy hike. We were able to reach them with small children. Follow the Flat Lake TR 043 which will go to a fork. You will see a sign for Joe Lay TR 042 on the right fork. You can follow the Flat Lake trail to access Flat Lake, Blue Lake, and Yellow Lake. Or take the Joe Lay TR to Joey Lay Reservoir and then use the Great Western Trail to access Yellow Lake.
Nearby Areas to Fish
Upper Barker Reservoir, Flat Lake, Yellow Lake, Blue Lake, Joe Lay Reservoir, Tall Four, Dougherty Basin Lake, Unamed Pond Below Tall Four (Barker Pond Upper NCL), Long Willow Bottom Reservoir, Round Willow Bottom Reservoir, Johnny Lake, and North Creek Reservoir.