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Dog Lake and Desolation Lake



8.5 mile 13.6 kilometer loop
79% Runnable


Ascent: 2,133' 650 m
Descent: -2,145' -654 m
High: 9,242' 2,817 m
Low: 7,315' 2,230 m


Avg Grade: 10% (5°)
Max Grade: 66% (33°)


No Dogs
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Map Key

Trail shared by Kevin L

A moderate route visiting two small lakes, a relaxing run in the woods!

Kevin L

Features Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers

Dogs are not permitted in Big Cottonwood Canyon.


This route is great in that it's challenging without being too difficult, a happy medium among other technical/steep and short/sweet runs on the Wasatch Front.

Runner Notes

A great trail for running.


The trail starts at a parking area about 9 miles from the entrance to Big Cottonwood Canyon on the Mill D North Fork Trail. It follows a river until meeting the Desolation Trail #19, at which point you can head left or right to either Dog Lake or Desolation Lake, respectively.

A 1-mile connector trail has been established to join the two lakes, and is reflected on this map.

The trail is pretty heavily trafficked, as the scenery of the canyon and lakes themselves is incredible. Also keep an eye out for mountain bikers; it's a great trail for biking, and they can really get moving in parts!

Running in early August affords wildflowers and relatively cool air along the Mill D. North Fork River.

Flora & Fauna

Wildflowers, deer, squirrels, hummingbirds!

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Nov 13, 2019
Justin Kiddy
Jul 21, 2019
Derrick Williams
We ran around both lakes and got 9.3 miles. Also the natural spring was super cold and refreshing. 9.3mi
Jun 20, 2019
Tyler King
Went past Desolation Lake to ridge for amazing views. Still some snow near D. Lake. 10.2mi — 2h 11m
Jul 29, 2018
Emily Harris
lots of power hiking involved getting up to desolation lake 8.4mi — 2h 04m

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 10 votes


  4.0 from 10 votes
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in Utah


28 Views Last Month
3,394 Since Aug 6, 2017



Desolation Lake in the morning light, from an adjacent meadow
Aug 6, 2017 near Snyderv…, UT
Singletrack Desolation Trail winds through aspens, evergreens, and grassy meadows
Aug 6, 2017 near Snyderv…, UT
Looking south across Big Cottonwood Canyon in May brings beautiful snowy views.
May 21, 2017 near Alta, UT
In May, Desolation Lake and the surrounding area are still covered in snow.
May 21, 2017 near Snyderv…, UT
Aspen groves just begin to leaf out as we turn the corner into spring.
May 21, 2017 near Alta, UT
Looking south from the Mill D North Fork Trail
Aug 6, 2017 near Alta, UT


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