Willow Heights Trail - Big Cottonwood Canyon


Willow Heights Lake looking west to the mountains close to Brighton Ski Resort
Willow Heights Lake looking west to the mountains close to Brighton Ski Resort

Willow Heights Trail 

- Big Cottonwood Canyon -


"Peace be still" is such a challenging thing right now, but I escaped to Willow Heights Conservation Area this week, and found it.  I have to admit that I went to find a moose, for this area has been known to be easy to spot one, so I went planning on just sitting and waiting for that moose.  I think that goal was good for me, for I just sat there next to that moose lake listening to the abundant amount of birds, and watching the crazy antics of the many yellow-bellied marmots or rockchucks and found myself feeling calm and peaceful.  I also enjoyed watching ducks on the water, and spent a lot of time socking in the beautiful surrounding mountains and the reflections of those mountains in the water.  So I didn't find the moose I was searching for, but the peace I found I believe is even better.  Maybe next time I go up, I will catch sight of a moose!  
Willow Heights Lake Big Cottonwood Canyon Utah
Willow Heights Lake Big Cottonwood Canyon Utah

360 Video at Willow Heights Lake.  

I wanted you to be able to hear all the birds, so there is no music.  That means turn up your sound so you can enjoy them.  Also make sure you take advantage of the fun button on the bottom right corner so you can change it to Tiny Planet view or view from your VR Googles and be transported there. 



Link of 360 if you want to share or if above is not working.



Small pond in a meadow on the way up to the Willow Heights lake that soon will be filled with wildflowers.
Small pond in a meadow on the trail that soon will be surrounded with wildflowers.

Here is a 2D Version if you Like that better.




Willow Heights Trail Map
Willow Heights Trail Map

Information about the Hike:
  • Trail is about 35 min from SLC up Big Cottonwood canyon just before Brighton Ski Resort.  
  • You could make it a relaxing day and continue this scenic drive to get here and hike by going just a bit further and doing Guardsman's pass to Midway. 
  • Hike is less than a mile up to the lake.  There are places you have to cross a stream, and an off shot to a small waterfall along the way. 
  • There is a trail that goes all the way around the lake, but it was so muddy right now, I didn't feel it worth the effort. 
  • Trail is an Easy Family Friendly Trail, BUT it is a Conservation area, which means you need to keep on the trail. 
  • To get to the trail head, it is pretty easy if you type in Willow Heights in your mapping software it should take you right there. It is about 11.6 miles up Big Cottonwood canyon on the left hand side just after Silver Fork Lodge and before Brighton Ski Resort. 
  • Elevation Gain is only 600 feet to lake although crossing the rivers can be tricky.

Mountains to the west you enjoy while on the trail.



Things I loved about Willow Heights Trail
  • I loved what I gained by just sitting calmly and watching for a moose.  There was something healing that happened there doing that.
  • I loved watching the sunrise over the mountains here.
  • I loved watching the Marmots which were abundant skirt around.  They were plentiful, so there will be plenty of opportunities to laugh at these critters it you don't catch a moose.    If you don't know what a marmot looks like, you will have to do a quick search and see pictures of these cute guys.  They are like a cross between a large chipmunk and a prairie dog. 
  • I loved listening to all the birds. Maybe they were so loud because it was early morning, but there was lots to enjoy and it was fun to try and find them in the trees. 
VIDEO of BIRDS and MARMOTS along the Willow Heights Trail


WILDFLOWERS ALONG THE TRAIL

When I hiked this in early June, there was Bluebell flowers aplenty, but I also recognized many other flowers that were just too early to bloom.  I think this will be lovely with wildflowers all summer long.   

Here is a Video of the WILDFLOWERS and the WATERFALL along the Trail

WILDFLOWERS ALONG THE TRAIL

When I hiked this in early June, there was Bluebell flowers aplenty, but I also recognized many other flowers that were just too early to bloom.  I think this will be lovely with wildflowers all summer long.   



Utah Outdoor Activities Video about Willow Heights Trail if you want more information about the trail. 




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