I was glad to find that the Mill Creek Canyon gate had opened yesterday on schedule, and that the opening was not delayed due to increased snowfall this Spring. Now that we are well into Summer, many new hiking opportunities are opening up. So today, I parked at the parking lot at the very end of Mill Creek Canyon road. And I headed up to Dog Lake and beyond.
From the parking lot, there are two trails you can take to Dog Lake. The Big Water trail is considerably longer and takes a more gentle climb. This is the most common route, and is fairly easy. The Little Water trail is shorter and steeper. I took the Little Water trail because it is a more aggressive hike. It also had the advantage of having virtually no cyclists to compete with, due to the more difficult terrain. (Bikes are allowed on this trail only on even-numbered days, and dogs must be leashed on these days. Dogs can hike off-leash on odd-numbered days.)
There was a bit more snow than I anticipated, but it didn’t present any problems. It’ did, however, slow me down slightly. My fastest time ever to Dog Lake is around 36 minutes–it took closer to 40 minutes today.
After letting the dog cool off in the lake for a few minutes, I decided to head Northeast towards Little Water Peak. This is a steep climb and there are no trails that I can find. And my legs got cut up a little moving through the vegetation in shorts!
This climb took me to a “sharp” peak before heading back down into a grove of aspen trees. There was actually a big patch of snow at this point, which I slid down on my feet. Last time I was here, it was very green and very nice. Today, I could tell that the ground had only recently become exposed from under the snow that had covered it. It was still gray. From this point, the slope was much more gentle up to Little Water peak.
If you’re up to the steep climb to get there, and a bit of “bushwhacking”, I strongly recommend this hike. I felt great once I got up onto the final stretch to the peak, which seemed quite isolated. There were patches of snow, trees, and incredible views. I could look down upper Mill Creek Canyon with the Great Salt Lake in the distance, I could see the Salt Lake Valley through Big Cottonwood canyon, and I could see over towards Park City.
With temperatures near 100 today, it was a little warm. But it was a great day to get out, and probably the best place to be during a warm Summer day.
Little Water Peak: 9,605 Feet
Elevation Gained: 2,330 Feet
Distance Traveled: 5.12 Miles
Time on Mountain: 3 Hours and 6 Minutes