Free activities Hikes

Silver Lake Hike in Big Cottonwood

(Last Updated On: June 22, 2022)

One of our most recommended hikes is Silver Lake Hike at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon. We love how simple this trail is and that anyone can enjoy this area of Utah. Half of the hike is on a boardwalk. The first time we did this hike we only had a one year old, so we pushed him in the stroller all the way around, even on the dirt trails. We hike this trail every year.

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Silver Lake Loop

We usually see lots of wildlife when we walk around Silver Lake. Most commonly we see ducks, fish, and squirrels. We often see moose on this trail, too. This trail can get busy on the weekends, which can make parking difficult. But even with lots of people, we can still enjoy the beauty of this area. It is in a beautiful location right at the top of the mountains and next to an alpine lake. There are other hikes that branch off from this hike and lead you to other lakes. They are a little more strenuous, but we enjoyed hiking to Lake Solitude, too.

The boardwalk is easy to follow around the lake.
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The moose spent quite bit of time right by this boardwalk.
We love how pretty the whole area is in Big Cottonwood.
There are a few different places where you can walk out by the lake. People are often fishing here, too.

There are information signs along the trail as you hike. You can learn about the trees, flowers, mountains, and other natural things. Most of the trail is on a boardwalk. When you get toward the far side of the lake, the trail becomes dirt and there is a slight incline. We were able to push our stroller, but you can also just walk along the boardwalk on the front side of the lake.

Silver Lake in Big Cottonwood Canyon
Now that our boys are older they love learning from the signs.
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The boardwalk only goes about halfway around the lake, so we went offloading with our stroller. It was an adventure, but we made it.
This trail is perfect for young kids, grandmas, wheels, anyone!!
The trail is dirt on the back half of the trail, and slightly uphill for a few minutes, but still very easy.

Nordic Center

Silver Lake hike begins behind the Silver Lake Information Center/Nordic Center. In the summer this building is open and you can go inside and learn more about the area. There are some interesting displays, as well as a small touch table that our boys love. The workers here are so friendly and they teach our boys different facts when we stop by. Make sure to spend a few moments here if it’s open.

There is a small parking area in front of this building.
The displays are about the animals and plants of Big Cottonwood Canyon.
We thought this tree ring was so interesting because it labeled different rings with events we would recognize.
Our boys love to pretend they are a deer.
The center is small, but fun to check out.

Directions

To find this hike, drive about 15 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon. When you get to Brighton ski resort, the road takes you right on a one-way road. Follow it to the right and the hike leaves from the first parking lot on the right. There is a sign. You can also park in the larger ski lots and then head toward the Nordic Center to begin the trail.

The lake is beautiful all year. This picture was taken in the fall.
The lake is beautiful all year. This picture was taken in the fall and with our oldest. It was one of our first family hikes!
View of Silver Lake from the far side.

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