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Biker on the Wasatch Crest

North Mill Creek to Desolation Lake Trail
The 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. Dogs are allowed in Mill Creek, but NOT if you cross over the ridge towards Desolation Lake. Bikes are allowed on this trail ONLY on even-numbered days! Mill Creek requires a $3 per car fee.

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.
Mill Creek Canyon Trail Map Getting there: Get to Foothill Blvd on the east bench of Salt Lake City via I-215. Exit at 39th South. Take 3800 South eastbound into the Canyon. Drive all the way to the top of the canyon. The trail begins on the south end of the Big Water Trailhead parking area GPS N 40 40.922' W 111 38.914'. (Note: the gate to upper Mill Creek Canyon is open to cars July 1 to November 1. Mountain bikes are only allowed on upper Mill Creek trails on EVEN numbered days!)

For a closeup of the alternate routes around the Big Water Trail, go to the Dog Lake page.


Copyright 2002 Mad Scientist Software Inc

Trail conditions change, and the layout of a trail may change without notice. Use this trail guide at your own risk.