Hike Lakes Mary, Martha and Catherine (Brighton Lakes)

Brighton Resort, Brighton, Utah, United States

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    3.5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1200 Feet

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area

Hike to 3 lakes on this 3.5 mile hike in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. This hike is relatively easy as it does not include summiting the peaks.

This trail is a local favorite because you can make it as hard or as easy as you want it to be! You can stop at the first lake which is only 1 mile from the parkinglot, or you can go to the top of one or more of the 5 peaks that are surrounding the lakes for an added challenge. It is 3.5 miles round trip just to reach all 3 of the lakes without ascending any of the peaks. The elevation gain is only about 1200 feet.

The trailhead begins at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon from the east end of the Brighton ski resort parking lot. You will see a trail marker pointing you towards the dirt trail. About 1/2 mile into the hike there is a short turnoff from the main trail to a neighboring lake called Dog Lake. It is a small 1/4 mile detour if you so desire to add another scenic lake to your hiking list.

The first lake that you reach is my personal favorite. It is called Lake Mary (it is actually a reservoir). It is the largest of the 3, and has beautiful granite rock formations around it. This is the destination where many people, especially those with children stop and have a picnic to enjoy the beauty.

Shortly after Lake Mary, you will run into the small Lake Martha. Then you need to gain some more elevation, and head into Catherine Pass before you will see Catherine Lake. It is surrounded by peaks and some great photos can be taken at any time of day. Like I said, there are many peaks to ascend from this point, but if this is your destination, then head back the way that you came for a nice 3.5 mile hike in the beautiful Brighton area.

This trail is in the middle of Brighton Ski Resort, so trails cannot be accessed except for by skiing at the resort. Snow can often linger on the trails until late June. Wildflowers are abundant here in the late summer.

Pack List

  • Hiking Boots or Trail Shoes
  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks
  • Daypack
  • Camera
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Overall rating: 

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There is so much to see on this hike, including a variety of gorgeous wildflowers in summer. I love hiking among the pines, and stopping at each lake to reflect. In addition, we almost always see moose on this hike. Please stay at least 25 yards away from these animals at all times, and also remember that swimming is not allowed here.

8 months ago
8 months ago

The Brighton Lakes are a great place to hike up to and hang out at with a picnic with the fam. Kids can skip rocks across the lake and explore all around.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Located in the scenic Big Cottonwood Canyon, this hike is very rewarding. The beginning part is bit of an incline. When we went, Lake Mary had been completely drained but our favorite lake was Lake Martha. You can extend your hike and have an aerial view of the Brighton lakes by continuing on to Sunset Peak by taking a right at the fork before reaching Lake Catherine.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Good backpacking trip for the family, we saw some moose and deer, beautiful mountain

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Hiked this on 8/11/16. Not a bad hike at all. Was able to hit all 4 lakes in the area. Dog lake, Lake Mary, Lake Martha and Lake Catherine in about 2 hours time. That includes some exploring time also, so if you wanted to hit all the lakes in a shorter amount of time it is very doable. It was a fairly crowded trail up to lake Mary for being in the middle of the week, so I can bet it is very packed on the weekend. Definitely recommend going on this hike during the week to avoid that. Once we got past lake Mary we only ran into a few people tho. The last 2 lakes are defiantly more picturesque in my opinion. We had lake Catherine all to ourselves for a good 45 min- 1 hour. Great family friendly and short hike

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

I downloaded this app and found this gorgeous hike and I couldn't have been more pleased when my big sister and I reached Lake Mary. My goal was to see a lake at the top of a mountain and it was stunning. We went to all three and saw a moose at Lake Catherine, but Lake Mary was my favorite. I can't wait to see all lakes at the top of these beautiful mountains after living in SLC and UT counties for the past 2 decades, it's a dream come true to finally be able to hike these.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

An excellent way to get away from the inversion and traffic of Salt Lake. My six- and nine-year-olds have done this hike. It's a good and rewarding challenge for younger kids.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

If you go, definitely go on a weekday. We went on a Saturday night and there were crowds of people. We backpacked to Catherine and stayed over night. It was beautiful, definitely go all the way to Catherine. There were 2 other groups up there so it was a lot better than the lower lakes. The beginning of the hike till you get to lake Mary is dusty, steep, and busy. I am recovering from a knee injury so it felt a lot harder for me. But it was worth it once we got to Catherine.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

pretty easy hike, I even saw a family with kids up there. the first part is a little steep, but after that it's not steep at all. beautiful views. just fyi: no swimming allowed!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

I went up in June when there was still some snow up higher. Throw a clear bubble and a fly on and you will catch quite a few trout.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

I love this hike! Most of my time spent in this area is skiing so it's awesome to check it out on a hot summer day.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Last night was my first time doing this hike! We left Brighton's Parking lot just before 7pm and were back at the cars by 8:50. We got to Lake Catherine, though we didn't go around for fear of getting caught in the dark on our way back. We saw two lovely moose and very few other hikers, though that's to be expected after a torrential downpour on a Tuesday night. This is an easy hike, but it has enough terrain change that it's not monotonous. I definitely will do this again!

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Brighton is a beautiful area in the summer time - this is a great hike to enjoy on a sunny day. The first part is a steeper incline to get up the bottom of the slope but then the trail gets steadier and the sights get better and better. Who doesn't love a hike to a lake...let alone 4 lakes!

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

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