Twin Lakes Loop in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah

For this hike, there are two approaches, both of which I have done. I’ll display both of them below, and then give my recommendation at the end! Though there are two ways to complete this trail, both are exceptionally fun, and have lots of cool views and features along the way. You can rope two, three, and even four lakes all in one hike together if you do this one right. It’s a great way to see some of the best lakes in the area. Let’s get into it!

The Beta

The Lake Mary Approach

Perhaps my favorite way to string some lakes together, the Lake Mary approach is a rewarding hike, totaling 3.75 miles with 1,053 feet of elevation gain. This route features three lakes, fantastic views of Brighton Ski Resort, and wildlife. To extend this hike for a longer, scenic route, head down via the Twin Lakes Trail to Silver Lake so you can rope a fourth lake into this hike! This will add roughly 1.5 miles to your trip; head down towards Silver Lake, and walk on the boardwalk around the lake while looking up to where you just came from. Then, take the road heading towards the Brighton parking lot to reach your car.

The Silver Lake Approach

This approach is a 2.3 mile out-and-back trail with 767 feet of elevation gain featuring two lakes and scenic overlooks of the end of Big Cottonwood Canyon. Brighton Resort looms as you hike up some ski runs to this beautiful lake! Rest at the end, drink some water, and enjoy the beauty of this very large lake before heading down!

From the Lake Mary approach. This is a cool way to see Lake Mary from a different angle!
Looking over towards Mount Millicent. Your end destination lies in front of you!

Need to Know

Whichever approach you decide to do, the reward is worth the elevation.. Both are leg burners, despite the short haul to get to Twin Lakes. Bugs become more frequent the later into the summer you get, starting near the end of June. May is a great time to hike this trail, as the bugs are still dormant, and the air is cooler. You may encounter some snow on the trail this early in the season, but it shouldn’t be a huge problem. As for exposure, both routes are relatively barren, and on hot, sunny days, the heat will follow. Bring light clothing, wear sunscreen, and have a hat and sunglasses at the ready!

The western end of Twin Lakes. There is a trail that goes around the entire lake!
On the trail around the lake. It’s worth the walk if you have the time!

Justin’s Suggestion

My favorite way to do this is to take the Lake Mary approach. It’s longer, it’s more scenic, and you can loop together four lakes with this approach! Hike this in the late afternoon if attempting in the summer to avoid the heat of the day.

If you have time once you get here, hike the route around the lake! There is no official mileage, and it’s hard to find the trail online, but it exists. It’s roughly 1 mile around the entire lake, although that assessment may not be correct, so don’t hold me to it! It’s a gently walk around the lake, with a few scrambling parts, and the lake is in view the entire time.

Take your time here, pack a snack, and enjoy the lake! Hiking to Twin Lakes is a lesser known hike, so quiet solitude is almost guaranteed.

The hike around the lake is just gorgeous. Plan to do it!
Hiking around the lake adds about a mile – it’s well worth it!

Take A Hike!

That’s all! This is a great hike if your a little pressed for time, as it is pretty short. You should be able to do this hike in 1.5-3 hours, depending on what approach you do, if you choose to add the hike around the lake, and tack on the additional stop to either Lake Mary or Silver Lake. The choice is yours!

If you want more hikes in Big Cottonwood Canyon, check out my post on the Lake Mary, and, for a more ambitious summit, Sunset Peak via Brighton Lakes (including Lake Mary!). Or, hop on over to Little Cottonwood Canyon and check out Cecret Lake, or the Albion Meadows in wildflower season. Salt Lake City is full of opportunity! For all of my guides near Salt Lake, and select National Parks, check out my brand new page featuring all the hikes I’ve documented right here.

See you on the trail! Have fun out there!

Parting shot:

This lake is so impressive! I just love this hike – it’s so rewarding!

Next blog: We’re heading north to a National Park with mountains. Are you ready?

6 thoughts on “Twin Lakes Loop in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah

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