Hike to Willow Lake

Utah Big Cottonwood Canyon

Added by Colton Marsala

Willow Lake is an easy hike with beautiful colors, scenic views, and an alpine lake located close to Salt Lake City.

The Trail:

Follow the marked trail and you'll hike less than a mile up to the edge of Willow Lake. Moose like to hang out in the thick willows there, so make lots of noise to warn them that you're coming and you won't startle any. Standing on the shoreline, you'll have a great view of Solitude Ski Resort to the south.

Getting There:

The Willow Heights Trail is located in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Driving up the canyon, it's found on the left side of the road shortly after passing both the Silver Fork Lodge on the right and the Canyon Vacation Rentals on the left.

Pack List

  • Hiking shoes
  • Hiking clothes
  • Water
  • Camera
  • Snacks
Read More

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Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



2 Miles

Elev. Gain:

500 Feet




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How to Get There

Beautiful Hike!

I hiked up to Willow Lake twice this year. Once in the summer and then again in the fall. Both were wonderful experiences, and neither day was crowded. The lake was more full in the summer, but the bright yellow aspen leaves in the fall were stunning. It is a little tricky to find off the road, but using the GPS coordinates worked out perfectly.

6 months ago

7 months ago

Gorgeous Fall Hike!

Probably the best short, colorful hike. The first half is steep, but eventually it flattens out. Definitely worth checking out!

7 months ago

7 months ago

Gorgeous Fall Colors

My favorite short hike in the Wasatch. The distance is short, but it is pretty steep at first, but eventually flattens out. Fall is just getting into full swing and this is one of my go to hikes in the fall. You get to hike through dense aspens and nothing beats aspen leaves in the fall. If you can be at the top when the sun is setting, you'll be in for a treat. The colors are so vibrant during this time of day.

7 months ago

Perfect for a quick jaunt after work!

An easy, quick hike. My friend and I went up there yesterday after work - the aspens are starting to change color, and the fall colors are starting to pop on the mountains surrounding this trail. Stop to look behind you, or look up on your way back down so you don't miss the views!

8 months ago

10 months ago

Amazing aspen grove and meadows

Just did this hike yesterday (7/3/16) - still very green and nice wild flowers, greenery up to your waist in many areas. This aspen grove is huge and has some of the largest aspens I've ever seen. Any not many people hiking it. I'll definitely do this hike again and again, especially want to see it with fall colors.

10 months ago

11 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.

11 months ago

12 months ago

Several feet of snow in the spring, still beautiful!

Just did this hike today for the second time and didn't realize how much snow there would still be in late Spring. Definitely a gorgeous hike but I would recommend good snow shoes/poles. Can't wait to do this hike in the summer!

12 months ago

over 1 year ago

Fall is the best

Fall is definitely the best time to hit up this hike! I don't think it would be much to look at in the winter although I have never done it. I may be wrong. There just are not any peaks or anything that would be too amazing. It is the aspens reflecting in the water that makes this hike great. I give it 4 stars simply because it is so short and is easy to do!

over 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

fun hike for fall leaves

this is a fun hike year round, but in the fall the leaves will be beautiful.

over 1 year ago

almost 2 years ago

Such a fun quick hike

almost 2 years ago

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