Backpack to Silver Lake

Utah Silver Lake Trail

  • Activities:

    Camping, Fishing, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    4.1 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1500 Feet

Forest
Lake
Swimming Hole

The hike is quick enough that you can head to the lake and enjoy a quick day hike. If you choose to make it an overnight, there are primitive campsites at the lake to backpack to.

The trail is 4.1 miles roundtrip gaining almost 1,500 feet for the duration of the adventure. Some parts are exposed, so you can get a fair amount of sun.When you're on the trail, you'll get amazing views as you’re hiking to the lake of Mount Timpanogos and American Fork Canyon. This is followed by a breathtaking look at the hike once you reach it.

The trail is very empty on weeknights and may get crowded on the weekend. If you’re making this an overnight adventure and backpackpacking in, you can backcountry camp around the lake or camp at the reservoir and make the hike to Silver Lake a day hike.

On the hike, be sure to bring plenty of water as a large portion of it is exposed. The fee to enter American Fork Canyon is $6 for a three-day pass. A high clearance vehicle is suitable for the drive to Silver Flat Reservoir, however low clearance cars can make the journey with care. Fishing is allowed at the lake with a valid fishing license ($25/year in the state of Utah).

Silver Lake is reached by driving up American Fork Canyon, turning left towards Tibble Fork, and continuing up the dirt road to Silver Flat Reservoir. The Trailhead for Silver Lake is on the north side of the reservoir through aspens following the river up the canyon.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • swimsuit
  • Fishing pole if you're up for it
  • Fishing License
  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Backpack
Read More

Reviews

Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

If you have a National Parks Pass entrance is free. The road above Tibble Fork Reservoir turns to gravel, but is fine for any normal car. It can take awhile to get up there on weekends as the lower portion of American Fork Canyon can be busy. It took us almost 1.5 hours fromSLC. Mid-week, it takes around an hour.

about 2 months ago
about 2 months ago

This hike was great, it gave me a solid workout. We went on a late Saturday morning, and it was so CROWDED! So many people hiking the trail and not too many hanging out on the lake until we returned from the hike in the afternoon. We hiked all the way around the lake, and I would definitely recommend bug repellent of some sort. It's also pretty hot still, but it is mid-July. We ended up hiking around the lake which proved to be a bit of a challenge in some places. We settled on some boulders on the north side. The views were gorgeous and we got a great workout on the trail. If you need to use the facilities, bring your own TP for the restrooms at Silver Lake where the trailhead begins.

2 months ago
2 months ago

Solid little trip with some beautiful scenery. Definitely would recommend hiking up in the evening to catch the sunset!

3 months ago
3 months ago

This hike really does offer wonderful views of American Fork Canyon and Mount Timpanogas, but make sure that you are prepared for the weather. I went with some friends during late May, and while the trail was dry lower down in the canyon the lake was still frozen and there was a substantial amount of snow at the top.

9 months ago
9 months ago

4 stars only because the trail was very busy. The valley views and lake backed by beautiful mountains were 5 star. On a Sunday we passed at least twenty people on the trail and there were a dozen more day-use people at the lake. Solitude was best had early in the morning and at night. There are probably less used trails nearby. The trail is listed as beginner but with a 30 pound pack it felt at least moderate. The road was very rough, even in a high clearance vehicle.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

We went up on a Friday Night and there were no more campsites to sleep at. We were able to find a flat spot just large enough to put our pads on. I would suggest going up on a weeknight. With that said, the views are amazing, the hike enjoyable (if you are ok with some steep elevation climbs) and the water felt amazing. It's a really neat basin overlooking the valley below and well worth the effort.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

It is amazing up at the lake but the later in the season you go the more people you will run into. I have always gone up to spend the night and fish and the lake will provide you with some great 12inch brook trout and some times a small Arctic grayling.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Camping lake side at the very top (don't get confused and think the flats that you can drive to is actually the named lake) is awesome. Great views with a great mountain backdrop behind the lake to the east. If you can, camp right on the edge of the lake where the creek empties out of the lake and continues down the mountain. I believe that you are technically not allowed to camp so close to the water, but considering there is no other places at the top of the trail to camp, you have no choice but to bend the rule.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Michael Johnston

Instagram: @michaeljamie Photographer from Springville, UT. Lover of kayaking, hiking, backpacking, camping, and mountain biking.

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike Mount Ellen in Utah's Henry Mountains

Utah / Mount Ellen Peak Trail

Mount Ellen is considered an Ultra Prominent Peak. What's that you may ask? Well, Ultra Prominent Peaks are determined by how high the summit rises above its surroundings.

31 Saves

Camp at McMillan Springs In The Henry Mountains

Utah / McMillan Springs Campground

McMillan Springs Campground is south of Hanksville, Utah and within the Henry Mountains, which run north and south between Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef National Parks.

28 Saves

Spring Backcountry Ski Alta Ski Area

Utah / Lodge Rd, Alta

Still have the skiing itch but it's late in the spring and the resorts have closed and the other backcountry skiing areas have melted? No problem, just head up to Alta Ski Area and get some amazing b.

5 Saves