We continued our exploration of the Wasatch Mountains this past weekend with a gorgeous day hike at the end of Big Cottonwood Canyon in between Solitude and Brighton ski resorts. There are several hikes which originate from the Brighton and Solitude area as winter ski slopes often become summer hiking trails. We decided to begin at Silver Lake and string two different hikes together to make a 4 mile loop.
Silver Lake provides all the beauty of a mountain lake without the struggle to reach it. It’s located a mere 100 yards from the parking lot and is mostly surrounded by a boardwalk making it incredibly accessible. The loop around the lake is only 3/4 of a mile so it’s perfect for everyone, even your friends who despise walking. We went on a Sunday afternoon so it was a little busy with families but there were plenty of spots to break away from others and relax.
Trails to two other lakes – Twin Lakes and Lake Solitude – branch off the Silver Lake loop and lead you farther up the mountain. Most people seem to do one or the other, but we decided to string them together into one large loop. So we broke off from Silver Lake and began on the trail to Twin Lakes. It was only 1 mile to Twin Lakes but the gradual incline of the trail made it feel longer. Once through the initial quarter mile, the trail provided a stunning view of Silver Lake below.
We continued up the trail which was now a blue ski run (not a black thankfully!) among wildflowers and more casual hikers. It wasn’t long until we were at the reservoir. Though almost none are marked, there are numerous side trails which branch off so that you can wander around the entirety of the lake. We took off on another trail to catch a view of Twin Lakes from above and continue on to Lake Solitude.
To find Lake Solitude we used a wide blue ski run which gently switch-backed its way down the mountain-side. Lake Solitude was a bit less picturesque I thought, purely because the water was so clear that it gave the lake a brownish appearance. We stopped by the lake to have our picnic lunch and then continued down a forested trail back to Silver Lake.
I liked the combination of all three lake hikes. They were fairly easy but offered beautiful results. It was the perfect day hike for a sunny afternoon. Plus, any time spent among the trees and flowers is wonderful anyway.