Willow Lake Trail

This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
3.9 km
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
193 m
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Directions to Trailhead

The Willow Lake Trail is a family-friendly hiking route in the beautiful Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest east of Salt Lake City. This is a highly popular route that is a favorite hiking and snowshoeing trail by area locals. On your way to Willow Lake, keep an eye out for forest wildlife, such as moose and deer that frequent this trail.

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Route Description for Willow Lake Trail

The Willow Lake hiking trail is one of the most popular routes in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. This trail, unfortunately, is not dog-friendly as it is part of the Big Cottonwood Canyon watershed. The hike up to Willow Lake does get quite icy and slushy in the spring and fall, if you are heading out at that time of year, we recommend bringing along traction devices such as microspikes to aid your journey.

This beautiful, short hike to Willow lake is popular for a reason. This trail is absolutely stunning especially in the fall when the autumn colors light up the forest in shades of yellow and gold. In the winter, this route makes an excellent snowshoeing trail with soft, deep powder, and the hush of gently falling snow blanketing the Uinta forest.

To hike up to Willow Lake, begin at the trailhead on the north side of highway 190/Big Cottonwood Canyon Road. From the trailhead, head north for 0.2 km to a divide. This divide marks the start of the loop. Take a right at the divide and head northeast for 1.3 km up to Willow Lake.

Once you reach Willow Lake, follow the path as it loops around the shoreline. Once you’ve completed the loop, follow the trail to your right to cross over Willow Creek and head back southwest. Take a left at the first divide, cross over the creek once again and you will find yourself back at the beginning of the loop. From here, follow the familiar path back to the trailhead.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you swim in Willow Lake, Utah?

No, swimming is not permitted in Willow Lake.

Insider Hints for Willow Lake Trail

  • Don’t forget the camera—this trail is gorgeous.
  • This route starts out steep but keep going—it gets easier.
  • Keep an eye out for moose, they are often seen grazing near the lake. If you do see wildlife, do not feed or approach them, admire them from a safe distance.

Getting to the Willow Lake Trail Trailhead

This hike begins at the trailhead across from the highway 190 turn off onto Silver Fork Road.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground


  • When to do


  • Pets allowed


  • Family friendly


  • Route Signage


  • Crowd Levels


  • Route Type


Willow Lake Trail Elevation Graph

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Willow Lake Trail Reviews

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