Enjoyable hike to the surprising Willow Heights

Tom’s Experience hiking to Willow Heights:

Willow Heights is a short and sweet hike up Big Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake City.

Willow Heights Hike

It travels through a beautiful aspen forest that ends at a small lake just below the Solitude Ski resort.

Willow Heights Forest

The total distance is about 2 miles and that is if you hike the loop around the lake.

Willow Heights Trailhead

The trail begins right off the side of the road. There is a rock that has been carved to show you where the trail starts but it can be difficult to see from the road.

Hiking Willow Heights

From here the trail will take you up through the aspens and the trail can get quite steep in parts. Fortunately it isn’t too long and makes for a great short-workout hike. Near the lake, the forest will open up into a pretty meadow and then you reach the lake.

Returning from Willow Heights

You can take a loop hike around the lake to see it from all angles and then return to your car the way you came, or you can simply make it to the lake and turn back around. No dogs are allowed on this trail at all and no swimming is allowed in the lake.

Tom’s Rating:

Trail Info: Head up Big Cottonwood Canyon for about 11 miles until you reach Silver Fork Lodge. From the lodge it is .3 miles to the trailhead. There are pulloffs on both sides of the road for parking and the trail takes off on the north side of the road. It can be difficult to find if you are first but the trail is popular enough that there should be vehicles there if you go later in the day. If you reach the Solitude ski resort you have gone too far.


Willow Heights Trailhead:     40.630321,-111.604614

Willow Heights Lake:    40.636948,-111.59734

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Relax at the terrific White Pine Lake

Tom’s Experience hiking to White Pine Lake:

The trailhead for White Pine Lake is the same trailhead as Red Pine Lake and the trails share the same first mile or so.

Hike to White Pine Lake

The trail follows an old 4-wheel drive track that was used to get to different mining and water claims in the past. Now the trail is closed to all motorized vehicles. It is open to mountain bikes but the trail is very rocky in areas and would be difficult to mountain bike up.

Little Cottonwood Canyon

Shortly after the trailhead, you will cross a bridge over Little Cottonwood Creek. After about a mile from the trailhead you will come to a signed area right next to a stream.

White Pine Lake Cottonwood Canyon Lake

The sign has directions for both White Pine Lake and Red Pine Lake. To get to White Pine Lake take a left and head away from the river. If you cross the river you are heading towards Red Pine Lake. Once you make this turn there are no other turn offs and you follow this trail to White Pine Lake.

White Pine Lake

The trail will pass through forests and meadows and cross a stream once or twice. There are a few muddy spots that are easy to avoid. Near the lake the trail climbs steeply over a little saddle in the White Pine Cirque that is very rocky before descending down the saddle to the lake.

Salt Lake Hiking Trails White Pine Lake

The trail is 10 miles long round trip with a 2,350 foot climb. Dogs are not allowed on this trail. Overall this is a nice hike that is very shaded and leads to a beautiful mountain lake.

Tom’s Rating:

Trail Info: The trailhead is located in Little Cottonwood Canyon. The trailhead is 5 1/2 miles up Little Cottonwood Canyon from the Y-Junction near the mouth of the canyon near the park-n-ride. The trailhead is well marked but parking is limited and many cars needed to park on the canyon road. There is an outhouse at the trailhead. If you reach the Snowbird Ski Resort you have gone past the trailhead parking.


White Pine Lake Trailhead:    40.575475,-111.680751

White Pine Lake:    40.540107,-111.679265

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