Lake Mary and Lake Martha are just past Dog Lake (well, one of the Dog Lakes) up Big Cottonwood Canyon. The trail to these lakes begins at Brighton ski resort at the base of the Majestic ski lift. It starts out pretty steep, following under the ski lift for the first half mile.
The trail zigzags across the ski slope and after one last steep climb turns across a short wooden bridge into the trees. Watch for little rodents like marmots, chipmunks, and squirrels. It’s possible to see bigger animals like moose, elk, deer, and mountain goats, but the trail is usually pretty busy, so they tend to keep their distance.
Shortly before the bridge, you’ll see a sign for Dog Lake. It’s a short walk over, just 500 feet, though it is a bit farther to hike all the way around this small lake.
The sign says it’s a half mile up to Lake Mary, but it certainly didn’t seem that far. It’s much flatter than the first stretch of hike, and a bit rockier, too. After around a quarter mile, you’ll see the dam rise up in front of you. It seems very out of place, but it does hold back Lake Mary. At the top of the dam, the lake spreads out before you.
The lake is really pretty because it lies in huge slabs of granite that plunge from incredible heights all the way into the water. There is one huge knob on the near side that the kids couldn’t help climbing. It’s surprising how this lake seems to be hidden in a granite hollow at the top of the canyon. Stop awhile at Lake Mary and take some photos before you continue on to Lake Martha. (Going in the water is forbidden, as this is a watershed).
Lake Martha is just up around the corner, maybe a third of a mile. (I know my distance info is different than that on the signs, but once you reach Dog Lake turnoff, it just doesn’t seem far to Mary and even shorter from there to Martha, even though it’s supposed to be a mile.
Lake Martha is smaller, and lies down in a depression without the craggy rocks. Most people don’t walk down to the lake, but just cruise on past it on the way to Lake Katherine. Still, it’s pretty.
Another half mile up the road is Lake Katherine. Adventurers coming down the trail said it was fairly steep, and a good distance farther (perhaps a half mile). We didn’t think our boys could add another full mile to their trip, so we turned around and headed down. In the paper the following Sunday, we saw pictures of 3 bull moose spotted at the edge of Lake Katherine this summer, so maybe we should’ve ventured on!
This hike reminded us of Cecret Lake up Little Cottonwood Canyon. The first half mile is steep, and you’ll wonder if it is worth it. But trust us, it is!