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10 Must-Do Family Hikes in Big Cottonwood Canyon

(Last Updated On: July 27, 2020)

Big Cottonwood Canyon

Big Cottonwood Canyon is one of our favorite places along the Wasatch Front. On hot summer days it is generally 10-15 degrees cooler up the canyon than in the valley. We’ve found a lot of great hikes and we’ve gathered them all in this post. All of these hikes have been done with our family, so we know that your family can do them, too!  If you venture to Big Cottonwood Canyon, you might run into us–it’s our favorite canyon to visit.  Just click the title to go to a complete write-up including pictures and directions to each adventure. And we also have a list of great family hikes in Little Cottonwood Canyon (Big Cottonwood’s neighbor).

Dog Lake (the little one):

This hike is a steep hike that begins at the Majestic ski run at Brighton. A short, steep climb to the lake is beautiful and leads to other lakes as well. Out-and-back 1 mile RT.

Dog Lake

Dog Lake

Hidden Falls:

It’s difficult to even call this one a hike as it is less that a quarter mile round trip. It leads to a beautiful waterfall that small children will love. This one is great even for infants.

Ahhh....Nothing like the spray on your face!

Ahhh….Nothing like the spray on your face!

Ledgemere Cave:

You don’t have to hike to get to the Ledgemere Cave. It runs back about 75 yards into complete darkness, so remember to take a light source.

Ledgemere Cave

Peak 10,420:

This easy summit is appropriate for children and gives a great view of the canyons. Being a peak, it is steep, but only a little more than a mile round trip.


One of the many lakes you can see from the Peak 10, 420 trail.

Lake Mary and Martha:

These lakes share a trailhead with Dog Lake (see above) so you can do all three in one day. These two alpine lakes are gorgeous, and you get three for the price of one.

Overlooking Lake Mary

Overlooking Lake Mary

Willow Heights Lake:

This trail is steep and shady and extends for about 1 mile (2 miles round trip) to a pretty little lake. We saw ducks on the lake and we were able to walk around the lake in the cool mountain air.

Willow Heights Lake--gorgeous!

Willow Heights Lake–gorgeous!

Stairs Gulch:

This hike is wonderful in the fall. It’s fairly flat and follows a chuckling little stream as it cascades down to the canyon bottom. Our boys loved seeing the tiny waterfalls and you can hike out as far as you want and turn around.

One of the small falls we branched off to see.

One of the small falls we branched off to see.

Silver Lake:

This is probably our favorite hike in Big Cottonwood Canyon. There is a boardwalk around the lake that is stroller friendly. We’ve seen animals on this trip every time, including a moose on more than one occasion.

Silver Lake

Lake Solitude

This hike begins on the far side of Silver Lake, and extends the hike to 3.0 miles round trip. Lake Solitude is less traveled than the fairly busy Silver Lake trail, and is perfect for families who are ready to push their hikes a little longer.

Mill B South Interpretive Trail:

This walk is very short and stroller or wheelchair friendly the entire way. Though it climbs uphill to the small waterfall, it is only three-quarters of a mile roundtrip. Pair this with Hidden Falls.

Mill B South

Donut Falls:

Donut Falls is very well known, and we would never try it on a weekend. If you do, you’ll be tripping over other hikers the entire way. The falls is beautiful, but be careful as people have been seriously injured in their attempts to scale the falls.

Donut Falls

Donut Falls


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