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South Willow Lake Trail

Great Salt Lake + Desert, Utah

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South Willow Lake Trail

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  • The sheer beauty of this area is impressive.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • The road into South Willow Canyon.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • Trailhead.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • Now entering the Deseret Peak Wilderness.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • Beautiful views from the South Willow Lake Trail.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • Popping out of the early forest gives you some great views of Deseret Peak (11,033 ft).- South Willow Lake Trail
  • You don't come across many others on this journey.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • South Willow Lake Trail.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • South Willow Lake Trail.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • Some of the last flowers of the season along a tiny creek.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • Amazing views from the South Willow Lake Trail.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • The fork to head to Poker Flats to the left or South Willow Lake ahead.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • Looking up to Poker Flats.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • The views down canyon are amazing.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • South Willow Lake Trail.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • Sweeping views from the South Willow Lake Trail.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • The lake is in the bowl of mountains ahead.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • Water flows down these drainages in the spring.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • Beautiful views from the South Willow Lake Trail.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • South Willow Lake.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • South Willow Lake.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • Rain in the valley.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • A deer peeks up from the brush.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • Beautiful light in the valley below- South Willow Lake Trail
  • The first signs of fall creep in.- South Willow Lake Trail
  • - South Willow Lake Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Not crowded. Great wildlife and flowers. Views down valley.
Cons: 
Cattle on the mountain.
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Region:
Great Salt Lake + Desert, UT
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,850.00 ft (563.88 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
6.80 mi (10.94 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
7,430.00 ft (2,264.66 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Only 50 miles due west of Salt Lake City is the Deseret Peak Wilderness, which lies hidden in plain sight among the early expanses of the vast west desert. South Willow Canyon is just southwest of the small town of Grantsville and rarely gets visitors from the big city. With surprisingly pretty mountains and a great array of flowers and wildlife, this is a hidden gem of the area. This trail is reminiscent of a hike in the Wasatch Mountains, but with far less fellow hikers. The large and healthy aspen groves are dotted with big pine trees, and the jagged tooth peaks of Deseret Peak sit overhead.

The first stretch is lined with a heavy forest, and then you'll reach the open meadows and work your way north along the face of the mountain. You have two major lookout points along the way that give you great views down toward the Great Salt Lake as well as up canyon to the beautifully layered sediment of the peaks. In the early summer the snow-capped peaks feed dozens of small waterfalls and the wildflowers that cover the hillside. South Willow Lake is a medium sized body of water in a picturesque caldera with high cliffs above and backcountry campsites on the north shore.

The trail is perfect for a day hike, but much of it is exposed, so bring a hat and sunscreen in the summer.

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Location + Directions

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(7 within a 30 mile radius)

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