From Salt Lake City, the Silver Lake trail head was 14 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon Road. Hiking and fishing were the main activities because dogs, bikes, and horses were not allowed. Parking was free but full and overflowing during this visit as it was a Sunday afternoon. The visitor center had water and restrooms.
From the visitor center, we hiked 3.2 miles out and back to Lake Solitude and which included a full loop around Silver Lake. In the process, we climbed 300 feet in elevation.
Silver Lake’s southern trail is a wide boardwalk that meanders through a marsh.
It transitioned into a smooth gravel surface. In 2010, it was near here that I saw a moose. On this visit, I learned that moose have flaps of skin that close over their nostrils when underwater.
About half way around the lake, we turned right and followed signs for Lake Solitude. We were unable to loop around it because of active construction projects.
At the intersection below, we continued straight and passed through a Frisbee disc golf course.
The trail surface was a mix of smooth dirt, rocks, and tree roots. It rained the day before and seemed to dry out fast.
We enjoyed the bright gold autumn coloring of the Aspen trees.
The last stretch to the lake was the steepest. The kids in our group, ages 4-10, did well throughout and were not slowed down by the rocks or the grade.
Lake Solitude was serene compared to the bustling Silver Lake.
The following video includes the shoreline, which provided plenty of space for us to sit and eat a snack.
We hiked back down to Silver Lake and completed the loop around it.
We enjoyed the various views and perspectives of Big Cottonwood Canyon.
The northern half of the loop featured a short section of pine trees.
And, we finished on the wood boardwalk.
In sum, our group of adults and young kids had fun on this medium length adventure. For a longer hike (i.e., twice as long), I recommend the Brighton Lakes Loop, it also started from the visitor center and had similar terrain and grade. For a shorter hike, I recommend Willow Heights, which was a little ways down the canyon from here.