Lake Solitude is an excellent summer hiking destination to a serene alpine lake near the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon. The trail follows part of the Silver Lake trail before climbing about 500 feet through a beautiful aspen and pine forest to Lake Solitude. With the exception of one short section near the lake the trail climbs gradually over the length of the hike making it an excellent choice for children and beginners.
The hike to Lake Solitude begins at Silver Lake near the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon (40.603313, -111.584426). To reach the trailhead from I-215 in Salt Lake:
- From I-215 on the east side of Salt Lake City, take Exit 6 for Wasatch Blvd./6200 South.
- Continue south on Wasatch Blvd. for 1.8 miles to the intersection with Big Cottonwood Canyon Rd.
- Turn left onto Big Cottonwood Canyon Rd., and travel 14.1 miles.
- Bear right onto the one-way loop near the top of the canyon.
- Continue 200 yards to the trailhead and parking area on the right.
From the parking area, begin hiking on the Silver Lake boardwalk trail. Either direction will get you to the junction with the Lake Solitude Trail, however it is shorter to turn right and walk the loop counter clockwise.
After walking about a quarter mile, watch for the signed junction for Lake Solitude and Twin Lakes (40.605349, -111.588469). Turn onto this trail and continue about 100 yards to the next signed junction. To the left is the Twin Lakes Trail and straight ahead is the Lake Solitude Trail. Continue on the Lake Solitude Trail as it begins to climb through a picturesque aspen forest.
Continue hiking as the trail enters Solitude Ski Resort where a few more trail junctions are encountered. Small sign markers lead the way to Lake Solitude as you pass under and near ski lifts that sit idle in the summer months.
After about 1.5 miles, climb up a short steep section of the trail before arriving at Lake Solitude (40.604479, -111.600039). A trail leads most of the way around the lake for those looking to do a little exploring.
You may return the way you came, or for a longer, more strenuous hike, you can continue past Lake Solitude and return to Silver Lake on the Twin Lakes Trail. To reach Twin Lakes from Lake Solitude, follow the service road on the north side of the lake as it climbs toward the ski lift above. The road crosses under the lift a few times before heading south to a pass that divides Twin Lakes and Lake Solitude (40.599646, -111.600077). Twin Lakes is clearly visible just below the pass. Continue hiking down the trail to Twin Lakes (40.598392, -111.596426). Once at the Twin Lakes dam, continue on the trail heading northeast back toward Silver Lake. The total loop hiking distance is 4.5 miles. The out and back hike is 3.0 miles round trip.
- No dogs allowed.
- No swimming.
- No littering.
The loop hike option with Twin Lakes requires more advanced navigation skills than the out and back hike to Lake Solitude. Be sure to carry a map and compass and know how to use them.
This trail guide is provided by Backcountry Post.