Hiking Desolation Lake & Peak


Hiking Desolation Lake & Peak

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. Hiking to Desolation Peak requires a little more stamina and comfort with ridges. 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. This is a very popular TH and on weekends, parking typically gets full by 7am in the summer.

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 (left) side of the road. Here is a driving map

Distance: 8 miles RT for the lake only, 10 miles RT to the Peak
Elevation gain: 1900 ft to the lake, 2500 ft to the peak
Time: 4-6 hours RT
Dog Friendly? No, dogs are not allowed in BCC
Kid friendly? No

Hiking Desolation Lake & Peak
Start by following the Mill D Trailhead.
Hiking Desolation Lake & Peak
You'll immediately have a great view of Kessler Peak.
Hiking Desolation Lake & Peak
A little rocky to start but well-shaded.
Hiking Desolation Lake & Peak
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.
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.
The trail is now rock-free, and follows close to the stream.
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.
Roughly half way to the lake, turn right at the first trail split.
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.
Ahh, Aspen trees! 
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.
 The views really open up, and you'll pass by many meadows.
Hiking Desolation Lake & Peak
Just before the lake, the trail dips down into another meadow.
Hiking Desolation Lake & Peak
Reach Desolation Lake! There are plenty of camping sites around the whole lake.
Hiking Desolation Lake & Peak
Whoo hoo what a great day to go for a run and soak up the sun!

If you get bad lactic acid build up in your calves and/or run often, I highly recommend getting compression socks! I get mine from Lily Trotters and love them. For 20% off use my friends code "wilkins20" at checkout!
Hiking Desolation Lake & Peak
Love the green and red colors of this lake.
Hiking Desolation Lake & Peak
After walking around the lake, we then continued following the trail up towards the ridge to reach Desolation Peak.
Hiking Desolation Lake & Peak
Ian beats me to the summit - he's so fast!
Hiking Desolation Lake & Peak
What an awesome day - can't beat these views of the Wasatch!


Throwback!
Desolation Lake
Photo from my first time here in October 2015!





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Hiking Desolation Lake & Peak

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