Free activities Hikes

Willow Heights Lake Trail

(Last Updated On: August 12, 2016)
Willow Heights Lake--gorgeous!

Willow Heights Lake–gorgeous!

Big Cottonwood Canyon may be the most beautiful place in Utah. We love the steep cliffs and alpine meadows. We were excited to try a new hike called Willow Heights Trail. This hike ascends from the skiing basin at the top of the canyon up to a beautiful lake high in the aspens.

 

The trail is not long, just 1 mile each way (it’s an out-and-back trail), but it is fairly steep. We’d rate this hike as moderate for children based on the steepness. Our 4 year-old fell down several times, and mom and dad even took minor spills on the way back to the car. We held tightly to both children and “skied” down the steepest, rocky parts. The trail is dusty and slick and very well-traveled.

The payoff is gorgeous, though. We loved the lake and spent a long time throwing rocks and resting. Some friendly ducks saw us and swam over to see if we were throwing food, too. We were surprised to find “tame” ducks in such a wild place.
The hike continues around the small lake, but we didn’t have time to venture around– also, it looked pretty primitive.
This hike would be pretty easy for kids 6 and up, but our 4 year-old found it a little treacherous. I carried the baby on my back, which complicated things when it came to the steep part, too.
To find this trail, go 11.5 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon. Just after Silver Lake Lodge, watch for a pull out on the right side of the road. Cross the street and start the hike by the sign that says: Willow Heights Conservation Area.
This sign marks the trailhead.

This sign marks the trailhead.

The trail is beautiful and right now (June) there were lots of wildflowers.

The trail is beautiful and right now (June) there were lots of wildflowers.

Very steep!

Very steep!

We just enjoyed the beautiful nature all around!

We just enjoyed the beautiful nature all around!

The ducks that we were able to feed.

The ducks that we were able to feed.

We also saw this little guy--a spotted sandpiper.

We also saw this little guy–a spotted sandpiper.

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