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Utah Hike of the Week: Beartrap Fork in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Published July 29, 2014 4:25 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Directions • From the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon, drive 10.7 miles up the canyon. The trail head is on the north side of the road. It is a closed metal gate with a Salt Lake City watershed sign on it. Or set your GPS to coordinates 40.638056, -111.620836.

The Beartrap Fork trail is a steep but scenic hike that starts in thick woods, passes through meadows then arrives above Desolation Lake. From the trail head, follow the path up the mountain to the north. Early on the hike, there is one switch back that will take you west then turns to the northeast. Shortly after that you will cross a creek for the first time. Most of the rest of the trail runs parallel to the creek. You'll enter a meadow about 1.5 miles from the trail head. The trail will get steeper as you continue through another set of woods. Then the trail gets even steeper as you hike north through a final clearing where the trail is marked by cairns. At 2.3 miles your ascent will stop at a bike trail. Continue north on the bike trail and you'll quickly see Desolation Lake below on your left. Continue a few hundred more yards and you'll see Park City in the opposite direction.

Nate Carlisle

Destination Desolation Lake

Hiking time 4 hours

Round trip miles 5.2 miles

Elevation gain 2,118 feet

Difficulty Difficult

Trail head restrooms No

Dogs allowed No

Bikes allowed Yes

Fees No Destination Desolation Lake

Hiking time 4 hours

Round trip miles 5.2 miles

Elevation gain 2,118 feet

Difficulty Difficult

Trail head restrooms No

Dogs allowed No

Bikes allowed Yes

Fees No