Butler Fork Trail is a great hike about half way up Big Cottonwood Canyon on the north side of the road. From the trailhead you have access to several great trails, peaks and lakes to choose from at your own discretion. This article covers the route leading to Circle-All Peak lookout by taking the Mill A Basin fork.
Starting out from the road the terrain gets real steep real quick, a common theme while hiking the Wasatch. Before too long the valley opens up and flattens out a bit and you come across a marked fork in the path. To the right you can head toward Dog Lake, normally accessed from Millcreek Canyon, but the recommended route is left following the sign to Mill A Basin. After walking through several large aspen groves you soon reach a series of switchbacks where your elevation and the views up canyon begin to really increase.
The autumn colors really start to take hold at this point of the journey. After reaching the crest the trail begins to swing north towards Gobbler's Knob and Mount Raymond. At this point begin to look for the unmarked yet very obvious trail that forks off to the left heading south, and proceed up the hill to reach a fantastic viewpoint. While this is named Circle All Peak, it really is more of a precipice than a peak. Labels aside, this is one of the best views in all of Big Cottonwood. Directly in front of you will be the dramatic Mount Kessler, to the left you can see all the way up the canyon, and to the right you can see all the way down to Salt Lake City. Not many lookouts in the canyon allow you to see so much of it at one time.
After coming down from Circle All Peak you can head home the same way you came, or you can continue on the Mill A Basin trail to summit Mount Raymond or Gobbler's Knob. The option to access Dog Lake and even Lake Desolation is available from here as well. As you can tell there are lots of great variations and destinations by heading out from the Butler Fork Trailhead. The absolute best time to be here in in the fall, when the colors will take your breath away, but this area is accessed year round by backcountry skiers and hikers alike. Be mindful of the weather for exposure concerns, and bring lots of water to deal with hot summer days. This trail is much less popular than many others in the area, which is great if you want to avoid the crowds. As always in the Cottonwoods, keep your eyes peeled for the abundant wildlife such as moose, grouse, hawk, hummingbird and marmot!