Best time to visit Utah

Brighton Lakes Trail in Utah

One-way trail connects four scenic lakes surrounded by Alpine meadows

Best time: July–October

Brighton Lakes Trail
Brighton Lakes Trail
Brighton Lakes Trail
Brighton Lakes Trail
Brighton Lakes Trail

The Brighton Lakes are nestled up Big Cottonwood Canyon, close to Salt Lake City, Utah. They can be reached from the Brighton Resort Lodge trailhead at the end of Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, less than an hour away from Park City. Hikers can visit four lakes in one day: Dog Lake, Lake Mary, Lake Martha, and Lake Catherine moving from lower to higher elevations. The best views over the lake area can be taken at the Sunset Peak, less-than-an-hour hike from Lake Catherine.

Brighton Lakes Loop is an 11-km (7-mi) trail with an elevation gain of about 550 m (1,807 ft). The trail is usually moderately crowded and can be rated as difficult. The best time to hike to the Brighton Lakes is from July until October. The prime time would be late June–July when the water levels in the lakes are higher, as by the end of the hiking season they rather resemble puddles than lakes. Keep in mind that swimming and dog walking are not permitted in the Brighton Lakes area.

During the summer months, the Brighton Lakes trail boasts great wildlife and wildflowers on scenic Alpine meadows. Flowers are most abundant from mid-July through mid-August. The trail features a scenic view of the peaks surrounding the Brighton Bowl.

The trail also attracts cross-country skiers in winter but is often closed due to bad weather conditions.

Practical info

What lakes can be visited on the Brighton Lakes Trail?

One day trip on the 11-kilometer one-way Brighton Lakes Trail includes visits to four lakes: Dog Lake, Lake Mary, Lake Martha, and Lake Catherine at different elevations. The scenic beauty and peaceful atmosphere of these pure alpine waterbodies lure hikers for a much-needed relaxation break along the trail. Show more

How long does it take to hike the Brighton Lakes Loop?

Brighton Lakes Trail is moderately difficult for intermediate to advanced hikers due to an 11-km one-way hike of about 550m elevation gain. Depending on fitness levels, the hike may last for 4-6 hours as it offers captivating mountain scenery, breathtaking views, and highlights scenic alpine meadows attracting tourists from around the world. Show more

What is the best time to visit Brighton Lakes Trail and why?

Summer months (late June - October) are the best time for hiking the Brighton Lakes Trail, with July being prime time. The trail's high water levels, colorful wildflowers, and a wide range of wildlife enhance the scenic beauty of the area. Plan a late afternoon hike to capture the stunning sunset views of the Sunset Peak, for a lifetime experience. Show more

Can you swim in Brighton Lakes?

Swimming is prohibited in Brighton Lakes due to low water temperatures year-round and the waterbodies' function as water suppliers for Salt Lake City's drinking supply. The serene ambiance, striking mountain scenery, and the pure beauty make these lakes an ideal spot for nature photography and other outdoor activities. Show more

What is the scenery like in summer months on the trail?

Summer months, early July being prime, offer tourists breathtaking scenic beauty on the Brighton Lakes Trail. Wildlife, wildflowers, alpine meadows, and pristine waterbodies like Dog, Mary, Martha, and Catherine Lakes are an excellent escape from city life. The picturesque Sunset Peak view point is the perfect spot to enjoy the whole Brighton bowl amidst clean and pure wilderness. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin