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Dog Lake Trail: Utah Hiking for Families with Kids

Updated on June 17, 2013
Dog Lake near Salt Lake City
Dog Lake near Salt Lake City | Source

Dog Lake Trail

Ready for a short, scenic hike near Salt Lake City? The Dog Lake Trail is a good choice. Easily completed under three hours round trip, Dog Lake Trail is popular with families and day-hikers. Bring your swimsuit and take a quick dip on a hot day. It's common to see families swimming and playing in the lake during warm weather.

The trail steadily, but gently gains elevation throughout the hike. Scenic views of the canyon and surrounding mountains are available the entire way. The trail itself follows a wooded side-canyon beginning with large Douglas Firs and wildflowers leading into thick groves of aspens.

This one is great to do in the spring when mountain bluebells and other wildflowers abound or in the fall when bursts of colored leaves are abundant. In the summer, there is enough intermittent shade to make the hike pleasant enough even on the hottest of days. Plus, a dip in the lake makes this an appealing summer time hike.

The trail is also popular with mountain bikers, so be on the lookout as you are hiking.

The trail begins at the Mill D Trailhead, just over 9 miles up Big Cottonwood canyon on the left (north). The trail is easy to follow with a gentle incline. At approximately 1.8 miles the trail splits, with a sign marking the choices. The right section goes to Desolation Lake. Take the left fork for Dog Lake. The remaining 0.6 miles is steeper than the rest of the trail.

Dog Lake is small for a lake, more like a large pond. When you arrive, take time to walk around the lake or just rest and take in the views. Dog Lake is known for beautiful reflections of the surrounding evergreen trees.

Trail to Dog Lake
Trail to Dog Lake | Source
Mill D North Fork - Trailhead for Dog Lake
Mill D North Fork - Trailhead for Dog Lake | Source
Dog Lake Trail
Dog Lake Trail | Source

Length: 4.86 miles round-trip

Elevation Gain: 1,433 feet

Ending Elevation: 8,744 feet

Best time to go: Dog Lake is great to do in spring, summer, or fall. There may be some snow in the spring.

How to get there: From I-215, take exit 6 (6200 South), following the signs for the ski-areas. Turn south onto 6200 south. Approximately 1.6 miles, turn left at the traffic light and head up the canyon. The Mill D North Fork trailhead will be about 9.2 miles up the canyon on your left (north).

Other info: Dogs are not allowed in Big Cottonwood Canyon because it is a protected watershed area. There are restrooms across the street from the trailhead.

The lake may also be accessed from Mill Creak Canyon and from Butler Fork Canyon, but the Mill D North Fork trail is the shortest route.

Downloadable GPS Track

If you need a trail map, you can click on the MotionX link below to download the GPS track to your IPhone or IPad. You may also follow the link to view the GPS track in GoogleMaps.

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