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Upper Bell Canyon Reservoir via Bell Canyon Trail

Sandy, Utah

based on 3 reviews



9.12 miles

Elevation Gain

4285 ft

Route Type



Added by Tyler McFall

Upper Bell Canyon Reservoir via Bell Canyon Trail near Sandy, Utah provides an opportunity to have a secluded lake to yourself (or at least with few others). As a bonus, bring your pole as there's excellent fishing at the lake.

This is one of my favorite spots in the state of Utah! It is completely secluded high up on the Wasatch front. You can hike here for a nice relaxing day, an overnight camping trip, or do a little fly fishing and hook some fun little brooke and cutthroat trout.

The Bell Canyon trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in Utah. It offers a beautiful lower reservoir and an awesome waterfall. What most people don’t know about is that there is an even higher lake about 3 hours past the waterfall. The Bell Canyon trail starts right off Wasatch Blvd. A short 20-minute hike will bring you to the first lake and past that a few miles is the waterfall. Instead of turning off to the waterfall continue up the trail. It starts to get very steep. If you continue to follow the trail you will cross a little bridge over a stream, from there go right up the trail.

Eventually, you'll come to a boulder field you will have to climb up. Waypoints and a trail will help you through the boulder field. The trail seems to go on forever, and you’ll start to feel like there isn’t actually a lake up there. Once you feel this, you’re almost there! You’ll come up the south end of the lake, climb over the little dam wall, and you’ve made it. Pack in a little fly rod and throw on almost any small dry fly and you’re sure to nail them. My personal favorite is a brown and white mayfly or a royal wolf.

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Upper Bell Canyon Reservoir via Bell Canyon Trail Reviews

For the last 3 years it's been my first hike of the year. It's not really difficult but some parts are steep. My 6 year old grand daughter loves this hike also. We never made it to the falls but wandered around exploring past the reservoir for about 3 miles. In early spring many beautiful wild flowers in parts. Some areas are full sun so make sure to bring plenty of water and sun protection.

Just completed this hike on 7/6/16. What the description of this hike fails to tell you is how steep it is. It is very steep and pretty rocky the majority of the way. I did this with 3 of my brothers. We are in decent shape and were all very exhausted by the end. All in all it was a very pretty hike. One of the more difficult ones I have ever done, but once you do make it to the upper reservoir it is worth it. The reservoir itself is not very big at all but it's pretty neat. Because the upper reservoir is so secluded and it is difficult to get there, you will pretty much have it all to yourself. We packed up some hammocks and chilled up by the reservoir for a good 2 hours and no one else showed up. Just make sure to pack plenty of water for this hike. The first few hours does not have much shade so starting earlier is the best plan.

I've done this hike 5+ times, twice in the winter, once in the spring, and a few in the summer. The hike is NOT 18 miles round trip. It's 9 round trip (maybe even more like 10, I don't know how people are determining mileage). Yes the trail is steep, but getting up to the reservoir is worth it. If you're feeling more adventurous explore the rocks north of the reservoir to find more ponds and meadows, and for a challenge, take on North and South Thunder mountains (do some research on them first).

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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