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Hiking to Dog Lake, Millcreek Canyon


Dog Lake in Millcreek Canyon is a popular trail for dog owners during the summer months, when the upper Millcreek Road is open, and the heat in the SLC valley is unbearable. Though you can access Dog Lake year round via the Mill D North Fork Trail in Big Cottonwood Canyon, dogs are not allowed to take that trail due to watershed rules.

When the winter gate is open in Millcreek July 1st through October 31st, you can bet this trailhead and parking lot will be packed, especially in the evening hours when it is cooler, and the dogs are begging to swim. This 3 mile (one way) hike meanders up long switchbacks, through forested areas, passes a lot of wildflowers, streams, crosses bridges, and finally ends at Dog Lake. Dogs are only allowed off leash on ODD days in Millcreek, and though they are allowed in the canyon every day, they must remain leashed on all trails on EVEN days.

From SLC, head East on I-80, then take I-215 south. Take exit 4 for 3900 S, and turn left. At the first light (Wasatch Blvd), turn left. At the next light, turn right, which leads you into Millcreek Canyon. The Big Water TH is located at the very end of this road, 9 miles up the canyon. The trail starts in the SE corner of the parking lot.

 Here is a driving map.

Distance: 5.5 mile (loop)

Elevation gain: 1,300 ft

Time: 3-4 hours

Dog friendly? Yes, off leash on ODD days. Must be leashed on EVEN days.

Kid friendly? Yes

Fees/Permits? There is a $5 fee upon exit, or FREE if you buy the Annual Millcreek Pass ($50). Millcreek Canyon does NOT accept the National Park Pass, American Fork Pass, nor the Mirror Lake Highway pass. No permit is required to hike this trail.

Hiking to Dog Lake, Millcreek Canyon

The trail starts at the Upper Big Water TH.

Hiking to Dog Lake, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Millcreek Canyon

Start in the SE corner of the parking lot, and immediately crosses a bridge.

Hiking to Dog Lake, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Millcreek Canyon

Next, the trail turns West for a few minutes, before turning south.

Hiking to Dog Lake, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Millcreek Canyon

There were a ton of Sticky Geranium on the Big Water/Dog Lake Trail.

Hiking to Dog Lake, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Millcreek Canyon

At the first trail split, continue straight. You will now see Dog Lake on all the trail signs. The official trail name is Upper Big Water.

Hiking to Dog Lake, Millcreek Canyon

Enjoying the tall trees!

Hiking to Dog Lake, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Millcreek Canyon

Crossing  bridge #2. Each bridge is a great place to let the dogs get a quick drink on the trail.

Hiking to Dog Lake, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Millcreek Canyon

Working our way up the shaded trail, and the switchbacks. The nice things is that this trail is never super steep.

Hiking to Dog Lake, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Millcreek Canyon

Bridge #3.

Hiking to Dog Lake, Millcreek Canyon

This trail is always so pretty!

Hiking to Dog Lake, Millcreek Canyon

At the next trail split, continue right, for Dog Lake.

Hiking to Dog Lake, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Millcreek Canyon

The trail alternates from very narrow to very wide at times.

Hiking to Dog Lake, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Millcreek Canyon

Several Colorado Columbine’s dot the trail.

Hiking to Dog Lake, Millcreek Canyon

The last trail split, turn left.

Hiking to Dog Lake, Millcreek Canyon

Finally, we arrived at Dog Lake. The dogs ran quickly ahead to jump in the lake and to play with balls and sticks!

Hiking to Dog Lake, Millcreek Canyon

Another view of Dog Lake looking towards Little Water Peak.

Hiking to Dog Lake, Millcreek Canyon

Group hike night! The dogs love hiking with their buddies each week, and all know each other really well. It’s also a great way to make new friends!

Hiking to Dog Lake, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Millcreek Canyon

All the dogs wanted the same ball!

Hiking to Dog Lake, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Millcreek Canyon

To make this hike a loop, head back the same way you came, but at the very first trail split, turn right. At the 2nd trail split, turn right again. This will create a 5.5 mile loop, taking you back to the parking lot. You can go back down the same way you hiked up, but I just prefer loop hikes.

Hiking to Dog Lake, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Millcreek Canyon

At the 3rd trail split, continue straight.

Hiking to Dog Lake, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Millcreek Canyon

You will cross a few more bridges.

Hiking to Dog Lake, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Millcreek Canyon

And you will cut through some open meadows.

Hiking to Dog Lake, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Millcreek Canyon

Returning to the NE corner of the parking lot.

Afterwards, grab a bite to eat at Log Haven!

Dining at Log Haven's the Dogs Days of Summer

 

 

 

Trail map of Dog Lake, taking the loop.

Elbow Fork to Lamb’s Canyon Pass

Hiking from Elbow Fork to Lamb's Canyon Pass

The 7 Best Trail in Millcreek Canyon

The 7 Best Trail in Millcreek Canyon


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Hiking to Dog Lake, Millcreek Canyon, Utah, Hiking in Utah with Dogs

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