One of our favorite places to visit in the summer is Silver Lake at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon. We’ve reviewed this stroller friendly trail before, but today we did something different. We extended our hike and ended up at Lake Solitude.
There is a branch off of the Silver Lake boardwalk that leads to a lake called Lake Solitude. The out-and-back distance to this lake is 3 miles, and there is some small altitude gain. There is also a special surprise for those willing to look for it.
To start this hike begin the Silver Lake loop to the right (counter-clockwise). Keep your eyes open for wildlife. We’ve seen a moose here more often than not, there are other animals to see as well. When you reach the far corner of the lake, a rocky dirt trail leads off to the right. There is a sign that points to Lake Solitude and gives the mileage from this junction as 1.1 miles.
This trail winds around and passes a few surprising things. There is an overlook back down the canyon road for the ski lodges. Oddly, there is Frisbee gold hole and directions for the course. There are also plenty of ski signs. But the trail is easy to follow. It is really beautiful, too. We love alpine hikes that wind in and out of the pine trees and aspen, and that is exactly what you get with Solitude Lake.
There is a final ascent when you approach the lake, and it is quite steep. The trail is littered with rocks, and roots criss-cross the path, so be careful and take it slow as you pick your way to the top. Luckily this climb is only about 200 yards. When you reach the top of the hill, the lake will appear.
The trail continues to the right over to Twin Lakes and climbs the hill on the opposite side, but we didn’t go that way. It is quite a bit farther to continue on to Twin Lakes. The trail also goes to the left and peters out on the far side. We walked over a little ways and sat down to have a snack and enjoy the beautiful lake. Do not try to walk all the way around the lake as there are only thick brambles on the far side.
If you are up for a little exploring check around this lake. There is a nice secret. We won’t spoil it for you, but make sure you have a bit of artificial light. You might need it! When you’re finished exploring, you can turn around and go back on the same trail you came up.
Directions: To find Lake Solitude, drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon to Brighton. As you begin the one way loop around the ski area, turn into the first parking lot on the right. There will be parking spots and a small Visitors Center. Take the boardwalk trail to the right around the lake until you find the sign for Lake Solitude. The hike from the Visitor’s Center to Lake Solitude is 1.5 miles, making this hike 3.0 miles round trip.