- In Big Cottonwood Canyon southeast of downtown Salt Lake City
- 5 mile roundtrip
- 2-3 hours
- Elevation Change:
- 1680 feet
- June to October
DescriptionThe prettiest part of the Dog Lake loop is probably the first two miles of the hike, along Butler Fork. Butler Fork meanders northward through a narrow canyon filled with dense groves of quaking aspen, eventually emerging into a more open forest of Engelmann spruce and Douglas fir along the ridge above Mill Creek Canyon. It is not uncommon to see moose along this part of the trail. Look for their hoof tracks along the path-similar to deer tracks, but two to three times larger.
The Lake itself is located in a shallow, heavily forested basin just south of the ridge that separates Mill Creek Canyon from Big Cottonwood Canyon.
Although Dog Lake itself lies outside the Wilderness boundary, Butler Fork is part of the Mount Olympus Wilderness Area and you cannot bring a dog on this part of the hike!
From the southeast corner of Dog Lake a well used mountain bike trail descends for 0.6 mile to another trail junction. Here you will see a sign directing you to either Desolation Lake (left) or Mill D Trailhead (right). Take the right fork to the Mill D Trailhead. You will see a lot more hikers on this side of the loop than you saw along Butler Fork. There are also some summer homes along the east side of Mill D North Fork, and you may catch glimpses of another trail below you that follows the east side of the creek. You will arrive at Big Cottonwood Canyon and the Mill D Trailhead about 2.4 miles after leaving Dog lake.