The Twin Lakes Trail is one of a handful of great family-friendly hikes in the Silver Lake area of Big Cottonwood Canyon. This hike is easy to moderate as it climbs over 700 feet in a little over one mile. The trail features great views as it climbs above Silver Lake before ending at scenic Twin Lakes Reservoir. Before the dam was built, there were actually two lakes here, but unless water levels are very low, it is now one large lake with beautiful sparkling green water. This trail is suitable for most healthy adults and children.
The hike to Twin Lakes 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 Cottonwood Canyon Road.
- Turn left onto Cottonwood Canyon Road 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 Twin Lakes 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 Twin Lakes and Lake Solitude (40.605349, -111.588469). Turn onto this trail and continue about 100 yards to the next signed junction before turning left onto the signed Twin Lakes Trail. The main trial continues straight to Lake Solitude.
Continue hiking as the trail climbs through a scenic aspen forest. Soon the trial intersects with a wider path that offers clear views of Silver Lake below. Take note of where the trail intersected with this path for the return hike.
Continue up the trail as it winds through a mix of pine and aspen trees. As you approach Twin Lakes, signs for ski runs dot the landscape as the large, concrete Twin Lakes dam comes into view (40.598301, -111.596407). Once at the lake, there is plenty to see by exploring the shoreline.
Return the way you came for a 2.5-mile round-trip hike. For those looking for a more strenuous hike, it is possible to continue on to Lake Solitude and follow that trail back to the junction at Silver Lake. To reach Lake Solitude from Twin Lakes, locate the trail on the north side of the dam. Continue hiking up this trail until it reaches a pass above Twin Lakes. Turn north, following a service road. The road soon passes under a ski lift before Lake Solitude appears below.
Follow the service road to Lake Solitude. Once at Lake Solitude, locate the main trail on the east side of the lake and follow it back to Silver Lake. Total hiking distance for the loop option is approximately 4.5 miles.
Permits & Regulations
- No dogs allowed.
- No swimming.