Camp at Willow Lake

Utah Big Cottonwood Canyon

Added by Lindsay Daniels

  • Beautiful alpine lake with reflection of willow trees
  • 1 mile hike
  • Great photo location
  • Moose
  • Yellow leaves in the fall, wildflowers in the summer

The trailhead to Willow Lake is about 11 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon and is on the north side of the road right after the passing lane begins. It can be easy to miss, and is only marked with a plaque on a rock (40.630302, -111.604639). As you hike a little in from the road you will see the trailhead. This hike is just under 1 mile, but is pretty steep. It eventually levels out the closer you get to the lake. Before you reach the lake you will come to a wide open field. Continue on and take the trail on the left.

Moose often hang around this lake, so keep an eye out. The colors in the fall are amazing, but the lake is fuller in the spring and summer. Wildflowers are also abundant in the summer months. Camping is allowed as long as you are 200 feet from the lake. Swimming is not allowed.

Pack List

  • Backpacking gear
  • Water and food
  • Camera
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Backpacking, Camping, Chillin, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



2 Miles



Family Friendly

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

Beautiful hiking and camping spot

Pretty steep hike, but it's definitely doable because of the short length. The lake was gorgeous and the summer wildflowers were all over the trail!

4 months ago

5 months ago

Fun short hike especially in the fall.

This is a fun place to visit in the fall. The hike is all uphill to the lake so its also a great workout but short enough that families can enjoy it as well.

5 months ago

7 months ago

great, but not a lake

5/5 for the hike, 3/5 for the "lake," averaging a 4/5 total. this is a little pond thing. not a lake. a pretty pond thing, but not a lake.

7 months ago

about 1 year ago


such a nice spot!

about 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Beautiful scenery! During the summer of 2014 a family of moose lived in the area around Willow Lake. Be careful on your approach during dusk and dawn in order to not startle these gorgeous creatures! I saw them every time I was up there! What an amazing sight!

over 1 year ago

Added by Lindsay Daniels

I am a photographer based in Salt Lake City, Utah. I shoot landscapes, and adventure lifestyle, as well as documentary style stories through both stills and motion. Find me on social media @lindsaydanielsphotography.

More Adventures Nearby

Camp up Murdock Basin Road

Utah / Murdock Basin Road

Murdock Basin Road is located about 22 miles up Mirror Lake Highway (UT-150) from Kamas, UT.

Zach Luchs
3 Saves

Backpack to Joint Trail in the Canyonlands Needles District

Utah / Squaw Flat Campground

A large part of the grandeur of Canyonlands National Park is the vast barren vista at Island in the Sky, but no visit to Canyonlands would be complete without the intimate and immersive desert experi.

Jonathon Reed
1 Saves

Camp and Explore at Meadow Lava Tubes

Utah / Lava Tubes

EXPLORE THE AREA The entrance to the Lava Tubes is located in a rock pit near the NW base of Tabernacle Hill.

Travis Sullins
11 Saves