- Mill Creek Canyon
- 20 mile roundtrip
- Time To Allow:
- Over 6 hours
- Elevation Change:
- 2300 feet
- Opens July 1. Bikes are allowed on this trail ONLY on even-numbered days.
DescriptionThe Upper Mill Creek Canyon trail starts on the Big Water Trail then climbs the Great Western Trail to the Wasatch Crest. The trail is smooth and fast. The wildflowers and trees are awesome. But you'll climb 2300 vertical feet over 6 miles, so come prepared to use some thigh! Upper Mill Creek opens July 1. Bikes are allowed on this trail ONLY on even-numbered days.
Time To Allow:
At 1.5 miles, the Big Water Trail turns towards Dog Lake. You''ll branch off on the Great Western. At 4.7 miles, the trail reaches the crest. Turn right (south) and continue the climb to Desolation Lake on the Wasatch Crest. You''ll reach an altitude of 9,800 feet.
Most riders do Upper Mill Creek as an out-and-back: 6.5 miles to the Desolation Lake overlook, then a lightning-fast 6.5 mile return descent down the same trail. For a little more awesome alpine views, continue another 3.4 miles along the Wasatch Crest before your turn-around, for a 20-mile round trip.
If you''re up to a little rougher ride on the return trip, try a loop by dropping down the Desolation Lake trail. Intersection of the Crest with the Desolation Lake trail is GPS N 40° 39.508'' W 111° 35.756''. After 2 miles and 1400 vertical feet of downhill, turn right up the hill towards Dog Lake at GPS N 40° 39.731'' W 111° 37.733. This 1/2 mile is a killer uphill; about 600 vertical. Don''t be ashamed to walk your bike. Ride past Dog Lake and pick up the original trail 1-1/2 miles later, then finish the last 1-1/2 miles down Big Water to the trailhead.
You can also ride this trail as a one-way from the Big Cottonwood side, which is how most riders do it. You''ll have substantially less vertical feet to climb, but you need a shuttle car.