Saturday, October 31, 2015

Desolation Lake

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Desolation Lake Utah

Desolation Lake is a beautiful blueish-green alpine lake, situated in the Mount Olympus Wilderness, and can be hiked to within 2 hours. The long, gradual incline, and few switchbacks make this a very doable hike for any skill level. Be sure to bring plenty of water and a snack to enjoy at the lake. This trail can be hiked year round. This trail is located in Big Cottonwood Canyon, and therefore dogs are not allowed due to the watershed. Please respect this rule.

Take I-215 south until you reach the 6200 South exit. Turn right onto Wasatch Blvd., then turn left at Big Cottonwood Canyon. Continue up BCC approximately 9 miles to the Mill D North Fork Trail head, located on the north side of the road.

Distance: 8 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 2500 ft
Time: 4-6 hours
Dog friendly? No
Kid friendly? No
Desolation Lake trail
Start by following the Mill D Trailhead.
Desolation Lake trail
The trail heads up, and East for the first 15 minutes. After 15-20 minutes, the trail will turn left, or North, and follow the canyon up.

Desolation Lake trail
 The views really open up, and you'll pass by the first of many meadows.
Desolation Lake trail
 After an hour or so, you'll reach a trail split. Heading left will take you to Dog Lake, which is also accessible via Millcreek Canyon. For Desolation Lake, turn right.
Desolation Lake trail
 You'll come to another large meadow, where you can expect to see deer and moose.

Desolation Lake trail
 Work your way up the side of the mountain.
Desolation Lake trail
 Along the way, you'll have fantastic views of the mountains that rise above Donut Falls.
Desolation Lake trail
 Climb up a short hill, then arrive at a 3rd meadow. We encountered snow! About 50 ft down the trail, the trail will spilt. Take the right trail, which will lead you right to Desolation Lake. Going left will take you up to the ridge, providing a great view of the lake from above.
Desolation Lake
 After about 2 hours of hiking, you'll reach the lake. Take time to sit and enjoy your surroundings - it's so pretty!
Pumpkin Pie Spice Seasonal Cliff Bar
My snack of choice was the Spiced Pumpkin Pie by Cliff Bar. I thought this was appropriate for Halloween day. It definitely have a "pumpkin spice" taste to it, and the bar itself was very chewy - almost to the point it strained my jaw! However, packing in 240 calories, it definitely made me feel full.
Desolation Lake map Utah
 Here are two angles of the route to help guide you.
Desolation Lake map Utah


  1. Great hike! I love the beauty up there, so much to see. The snow is fun to see as well:)

    1. Yes, it is a fun one! Glad you have enjoyed it's beauty as well :)