Distance: 6.6 miles (plus 1.6 miles by bicycle)
Walking time: 5 hours
Elevations: 2,500 ft. gain, 2,220 ft. loss
Trail: Most of the trail is well maintained and easy to follow, but some parts of the Beartrap Fork section can be confusing.
Season: Summer through mid-fall. The higher parts of the trail are usually covered with snow until early June. For current conditions call the Salt Lake Ranger District, Wasatch-Cache National Forest, at (801) 943-1794.
Vicinity: Big Cottonwood Canyon, near Salt Lake City
Links to other sites:
Ordering books & Maps
Comments about this site or our book:
Desolation Lake is a popular
destination for mountain bikers, so you are bound to see a few
of them on this hike. But dont expect all of them to be
riding-there is a 2,000-foot elevation gain from the trailhead
to the lake, and riding a bike uphill is much harder than walking.
From Mill D Trailhead the trail
winds up through the aspens along the north side of Mill D North
Fork for 1.8 miles to the intersection with Desolation Trail.
If you want to see Dog Lake before continuing on, bear left here
for 0.6 mile. Otherwise, turn right for Desolation Lake. Up to
this point the hike has been an almost unbroken uphill climb.
There is still more uphill walking to come, but for the last
1.9 miles before Desolation Lake there is also a fair amount
of level ground. It is a beautiful walk, through occasional meadows
with fine views of the surrounding peaks. Finally, with almost
no warning, the trail runs into the lake.
If you are interested in a supplemental map of the
Desolation Lake area, we recommend:
Wasatch Front/Strawberry Valley (Trails Illustrated, map #709)