Dog Lake via Big Water Trail

MODERATE 383 reviews

Dog Lake via Big Water Trail is a 5.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Salt Lake City, Utah that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 5.2 miles Elevation Gain: 1,276 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

camping

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

skiing

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

From November 1st to July 1st the summer road of Millcreek Canyon is snow-covered and closed to vehicle traffic. During these months just getting to the trailhead is a 5 mile trek. Dogs are allowed off leash on odd days and they must always be on a leash in all campgrounds, picnic areas, and trailheads. Bikes are allowed on even days.

hiking
3 days ago

Beautiful gradual climb! Not busy on a Monday early evening. Crazy hard to find parking/busy on weekends. Shaded and cool. Lots of dogs of odd calendar days! My path was about 6 miles.

hiking
bugs
8 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

Went yesterday when it was overcast and rainy. It was perfect. The wildflowers are absolutely amazing. We left from lower big water trailhead and it was 7 miles exactly. Pups were happy and worn out. Would definitely recommend!

hiking
19 days ago

super busy but relatively easy hike

hiking
26 days ago

You can access this trail from Big or Little Water Trails. Up and back from Little Water is only about 4 miles, though the first 3/4 of the way up is pretty steep but mostly shaded and the river runs alongside it for part of the time. Most of the trail is shaded and really pretty with wildflowers throughout. The lake is small but prettier than I expected and always filled with cute pups. Would definitely recommend this hike.

hiking
bugs
27 days ago

beautiful hike in my opinion. nice views, pretty colorful wild flowers, passing by a stream through 3 different bridges. very relaxing. my 7yo and 14yo did well. and they are big complainers normally :) the lake itself was ok. I was expecting "bigger ending". bur dogs love it. there is a lot of them. on odd days bikes are not allowed and dogs can be off leash. on even days bikes are allowed and dogs have to be leashed. we went 7/27 and majority of dogs were off leash. makes me little nervous because our puppy is not used to so much dog activity around her. we had her on leash and everything went well until the lake where owner was nowhere to be found and one of the dogs started attacking our pup. luckily we were able to get ours to safety. I was however impressed how many well behaved dogs are out there following their owners. I hope my dog will one day too :) parking is bad. very little spots. we had to circle and wait for someone leave.

hiking
over grown
28 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

It’s not the most beautiful lake, but it is great for getting out with your pup! The wildflowers are in bloom at the moment but probably won’t last much longer....we’ll probably have another week or so to enjoy them

hiking
1 month ago

Pretty drive up to the trail head, but the trail itself is loose dirt and dusty. There's also far too much bike traffic to be enjoyable having to always watch out from being ran over. Glad I did it, but won't do again.

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely love this trail! I did this today and the trail was lovely. There are a lot of bikes that use the trail on even-numbered days, so be aware of that if you go with your pup. Great gradual grade.

hiking
1 month ago

We got there early. Like 7AM and there was zero parking. We got lucky and snagged a spot. The hike was gorgeous. It was overcast and not too hot. As the morning went on, there was more and more traffic. I’d recommend an early morning hike. But we (the dogs and myself) enjoyed ourselves immensely.

hiking
1 month ago

Best trail in the valley to take dogs off leash (odd number days). It’s a blast - lots of water stops and the lake to swim.

hiking
1 month ago

Tons of people and even more dogs. Got to the lake about 8am, I love dogs but was not prepared for 10 dogs barking non-stop, echoing in the valley...kinda sucked. HOWEVER if you are a dog owner this is the perfect off leash hike.

hiking
1 month ago

One of my goto dawn patrol trails once the winter gate is open (July 1st). You won't see many (ANY) people if you are up there at 5AM. Whether running or biking it's always a good workout. When you get to the lake, continue on around the lake (go left) and you will see some great camping options above the lake as well as some other trail options if you want a longer trek. If you are on a bike, make sure you don't go down the trail too fast as there are frequently dogs (and small children) off leash to watch out for (especially around the corners).

mountain biking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail. Mostly shady. Very few rocky spots. Very few exposed (steep on both sides) spots. Unless you have a dog the second half and the destination (Dog Lake) is a little disappointing. Today I continued on Great Western about 4k instead. Much more interesting. Good beginner bike trail. A little steep near the end.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is gorgeous and beautifully shaded in the morning. Beautiful views, wildflowers, rushing water, aspens, and friendly people and lots and lots of dogs. The lake is not a pretty one but it is still a beautiful setting and the vibe is great with all the happy pups. This trail is a continuous steady incline with no breaks and provides a solid workout.

hiking
1 month ago

(the gate through millcreek was closed so we went through big cottonwood canyon "mill d north") My friend and I did this trail yesterday. It was really beautiful the entire way up. Being slighty out of shape and going at a time where it was mostly in the sun it was fairly difficult. once we got to the lake we kicked off our shoes and dipped our feet in for a few minutes to find a bunch of leaches on our feet when we pulled them out. Once we got back to the car we realized we had lost the keys somewhere along the way AND HAD TO DO THE ENTIRE HIKE A SECOND TIME! Only to be told towards the top someone had found and hung them at the bottom on one of the signs. Overall it was a learning experience in a truly gorgeous place that neither of us will forget. I would definitely do this hike again in the evening and practice being less impulsive and more mindful next time hahaha.

trail running
1 month ago

Started at Winter gate in Millcreek. Proceeded beyond Dog to Desolation lake on the newish cutover trail. The named trail is pretty easy, not to steep at all (except near the start). No more snow until you get to Desolation. Saw 10`-15 people even though it's 5 miles just to get to the trailhead when the gate is closed. Good day to do the trail. Gate opens July 1 typically.

hiking
3 months ago

9 months ago

I love this hike. FYI, Winter gate is already up for the season (they closed it prior to Nov. 1 this year). If you want to do this one from the starting point shown here, you'll need to road walk 4.5 miles to get to the trailhead after parking at the picnic area in front of the Winter gate, yikes. Or you could get to it from Big Cottonwood instead, but no dogs allowed on that side.

hiking
10 months ago

We hiked in the afternoon. There was quite a bit of the trail in the sun; not as shaded as I would have preferred.

10 months ago

Very well maintained trail. Lots of beautiful colors going into the fall. Plenty of water for dogs. I didn’t really notice any poop along the trail except people would leave it on the ground in a baggy to pick up on the way back. Nice gradual incline. Overall my dog loved it so that’s all that matters

trail running
11 months ago

As billed, busy and lots of cute puppies along the way, but beautiful Fall colors and the weather was perfect. Pretty easy hike/run all in all.

hiking
11 months ago

I really enjoyed this hike! Not too strenuous. Quite a bit of the trail is shaded and there are a couple of streams for the dogs to drink out of on the way up. Lots of dogs and people but that’s what it’s all about! My dogs loved the lake!

hiking
Sunday, August 05, 2018

Great workout on the way up to lake. Shaded mostly with steady incline.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

I love, love, love this trail! The flowers are fading, but the beautiful forest setting is reason enough to take this hike. I love making a loop out of this trail by hiking to Dog Lake via Big Water, but coming down via Little Water. The flowers in Little Water were still very much in bloom when I last hiked it on July 29.

hiking
Thursday, July 26, 2018

Great trail that will give you a nice workout. The wild flowers are out now and give a nice added touch of color to the mountain trail. Dog Lake is more of a big pond and not as picturesque as other mountain lakes I've hiked to and it's rightly named: lots of playful pups enjoying the hike. Hop the trail on even days if you'd prefer a hike without dodging dogs and their droppings.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Nice gradual incline. One of my favorite Millcreek hikes. Especially great if you have a pup!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Did this going up to Dog Lake and did Little the last .5 miles down. It was a great hike, nice and cool. BUT for the love people: clean up after your dogs. Bag the poo and take the poo out.

hiking
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Surprisingly steep, short distance at 1.8 miles. HOT on 2:30 pm on July odd day afternoon. Lots of dogs but no bikes. Some shade throughout the trail. No sweeping vistas at the top. Nice views of surrounding peaks near the lake.

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