Backpack to Silver Lake
Utah › Silver Lake Trail
Added by Michael Johnston
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.
- Fishing pole if you're up for it
- Fishing License
- Sleeping Bag
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Backpacking, Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Photography
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go at the right time of year!
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.
Great Views, Quite Crowded.
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.
Beautiful Spot, But Crowded
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.
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.
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.
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