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.
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.
The trail starts at the Upper Big Water TH.
Start in the SE corner of the parking lot, and immediately crosses a bridge.
Next, the trail turns West for a few minutes, before turning south up a switchback.
There were a ton of Sticky Geranium on the Big Water/Dog Lake Trail.
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.
Enjoying the tall trees!
Crossing bridge #2. Each bridge is a great place to let the dogs get a quick drink on the trail.
Bridge #3. Working our way up the shaded trail, and the switchbacks. The nice thing is that this trail is never super steep.
This trail is always so pretty!
At the next trail split, continue right, for Dog Lake.
The trail alternates from very narrow to very wide at times.
Turn right again. If doing the loop, you will actually end up at this same spot but coming in from the other direction.
Several Colorado Columbines dot the trail.
The last trail split, turn left.
Finally, we arrived at Dog Lake. The dogs ran quickly ahead to jump in the lake and play with balls and sticks!
Another view of Dog Lake looking towards Little Water Peak.
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.
At the 3rd trail split, continue straight.
You will cross a few more bridges.
And you will cut through some open meadows.
Afterward, grab a bite to eat at Log Haven!
My loop track via Gaia GPS – the best tracking app! Get your app here for a discount.
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