Upper Big Water

MODERATE 14 reviews

Upper Big Water is a 4.5 mile moderately trafficked loop 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 November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

4.5 miles
1332 feet

dogs on leash



mountain biking

trail running


horseback riding





wild flowers


old growth


Big Water Trail (3.0 miles) The Big Water trail may be longer than its sister trail Little Water Gulch, but Big Water is no where near as steep. Perhaps Millcreek Canyon's most popular trailhead is the Big Water Trailhead. Located at the end of the narrow summer road (approx 9 miles from the base of the canyon) is the main parking lot. This large trailhead has several overflow parking lots available but even they can and do fill up on weekends. From the upper most parking lot starts the 2 main trails, which are the Little Water Gulch and Big Water Gulch trails. These 2 trails provide access to Dog Lake, Little Water Peak, Reynolds Peak, The Desolation Trail as well as Upper Millcreek Canyon. For mountain bikers the extra distance is worth the lack of climbing over the steps of Little Water Trail. This trail tends to traverse its way across Big Water Trail as it slowly makes its approach up to Dog Lake. The large pine trees and thick forest growth that line the trail keep the summer sun and heat at bay, making this trail perfect for the dead of summer. From November 1st to July 1st the summer road of Millcreek Canyon is snow-coverd and closed to vehicle traffic. During these months just getting to the trailhead is a 5 mile trek.

29 days ago

1 month ago

Beautiful views, shaded areas, path not too rocky. Dog Lake, at the end of the trail, is pretty big. My dog and I really enjoyed it.

1 month ago

1 month ago

1 month ago

2 months ago

Excellent hike, my dachshund loved this one. It's not a crazy elevation gain and I'd rate it easy. Beautiful lake to see at the end, I'd like to hike it from Big Cottonwood Canyon side now!

10 months ago

Easy hike with great views.

11 months ago

This is a lovely trail but entirely redundant with the Big Water, Little water, and Dog Lake trails listed on the site. The attached track goes up the Big Water Trail (mostly) and down the Little Water trail (mostly).

11 months ago

Great hike for dogs.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Good hike, encountered a few people on the trail but didn't feel crowded. Easy hike

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Very pleasant hike. Read other reviews, there is good info on the trail
In them! Biggest piece of info that is good to know is:

ODD DAYS: hiking with animals no leash required.

EVEN DAYS: bikes allowed.

Plan accordingly, and please clean up your doggie poopie!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Nice trail

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Length: 6 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 1200 ft
Highest Elevation: 8,780 ft
Trailhead: 9 miles into Mill Creek Canyon, designated as "Big Water" trailhead

There are actually several lakes named Dog Lake in Utah. There are even two in the Wasatch. But the Dog Lake of this article is the one where actual dogs are allowed to visit.

This trail has several trailheads, both in Big Cottonwood Canyon and also in MillCreek Canyon. The Big Cottonwood side is for people only, the Mill Creek side allows other critters. It is a popular hike for various modes of travel (hiking, biking and horseback riding), and is also dog-friendly.

You will have company on this trail, but if you are a dog lover, it will be fun to meet all the friendly four-legged hikers as you stroll up the trail. If you are one of the lucky ones who can bring your canine friends, please be a responsible pet owner and clean up after them. There are plastic bags provided at the beginning of the trail for scooping up the treasures your little ones leave behind.

The hike is a a little longer than the others in the "easy" category, but the grade is an easy one which makes the three miles up not seem so long, and watching the dogs frolic in the lake, catching sticks and chasing each other around is an amusing site for the weary traveller. Take a seat on the shores and watch the dogs for awhile while you rest and prepare for the journey back down the mountain.

Today, I took the Big Water trail, which is longer but has a gentler slope.

For those of you who would like a nice hike, this is definitely one to consider. That goes double if you want to hike with your dog. I saw people at all different levels of fitness on the trail. It took us around 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach the lake. Obviously, it takes longer if you go slower or stop more. But it really is a fairly easy hike.

Two tips: First, if it's hot, be sure to take enough water for you and your dog. Second, if you're taking a dog, go on an odd-numbered day. Dogs can be off-leash on odd-numbered days, and bike are allowed on the trail only on even-numbered days.

I realized that when I hike normally, I don't spend a whole lot of time at the destination. Today was a bit different. And the dogs loved it!

On the way back, we took a slightly different route near the bottom that took us to the upper parking lot. I then walked a short distance down the road to my car.