A Moderate Hike in Big Cottonwood Canyon
- Length: 6.2 miles round trip
- Elevation Gain: 1740 ft
- Highest Elevation: 8,780 ft
- Trailhead: 8 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon, on the north side of the road
There are actually several lakes named Dog Lake in Utah. There are even two in the Wasatch
(this one and the one accessed from Brighton). Dogs are allowed at this Dog Lake, but if you take this trailhead
(from the Big Cottonwood side), dogs are not allowed on the trail (they are allowed on the trail that starts from the Mill Creek Canyon side).
The Butler Fork Trailhead is about 8 miles up the canyon, one pull-off before the Mill D area. There is a small parking area on the north side of the road.
The trail follows a stream for awhile and when the flowers are out, the views are very nice, with loads of macro photo opps.
After you cross a log foot bridge, the trail seems to go straight up in an unrelentingly steep section. But don't despair, it does get better.
Eventually you cross into the
Mount Olympus Wilderness area (there are special rules for travelling in Wilderness areas, including no bikes, no dogs and no large parties). But you are not in the Wilderness area for too long and soon you join the trail that comes up from Mill Creek Canyon (and you might run into bikes and/or dogs).
At the top (at the lake) there are several trails spurring off and you can connect to the Great Western Trail, continue up to Desolation Lake, or several others, if you want to extend your hike. Otherwise, just come back down the way you started.
You can walk all the way around the lake for that few extra minutes of exercise and enjoyment.
When I used to run these trails, a favorite was to go up Butler Fork to the lake, then down Mill D to the road and then about a mile run on the road back to the car.
For more pictures from this hike, check out the
Hike Photo Gallery.