Hikers travelling to Silver Lake will encounter a luscious forested canyon, a bubbling brook (Silver Creek), and a stunning alpine lake at the end. This trail gains 1450 feet over 2.2 miles, so it is an uphill hike, but the steepness isn't anything extreme. The Silver Lake trail can easily be completed in one day, and the lake makes a great lunch spot for families with children. From Silver Lake, hikers have an awe inspiring panorama of towering limestone mountains, including White Baldy.
Distance: 4.4 miles round trip
Hike Time: 2-5 hours round trip
Trailhead from I-15 to mouth of American Fork Canyon:
- Take exit 284 and head East on SR 92 towards the mouth of American Fork Canyon
- After 7.5 miles you'll arrive at American Fork Canyon
From the mouth of American Fork Canyon:
- After 5.1 miles, veer left onto N American Fork Canyon Rd (SR 144) towards Tibble Fork Reservior
- Drive through the parking lot, and then take the very sharp left hairpin turn
- Just before Granite Flat Campground, take a right onto Silver Lake Road (a primitive dirt road, best taken with a high-profile vehicle
- Follow this road to the Silver Lake Flat parking lot - just before the road crosses Silver Creek
- The trailhead is at the parking lot for Silver Lake Flat.
The trail to Silver Lake leads immediately into a relatively thick alpine forest. Gradually, the trail will head left into a small canyon through which flows Silver Creek. There are at least two places where the trail crosses Silver Creek, the first of which occurs while the trail follows this canyon as the trail is nearly parallel with the creek. Soon thereafter, the trail makes a right turn, and crosses the creek once more.
At this point, the trail begins to move up the east side of the canyon, and and continues after a sharp switchback to the left. About halfway between this switchback and the next one, there is a point in the trail where it passes over a section of scree, caused by a local landslide.
At the next switchback, the final approach to the lake begins, characterized by several more switchbacks and a steep ascent. As the trail meets the lake, it splits, and circumvents the lake, making it accessible at any location. From here, you can continue up to White Baldy, or just enjoy the beautiful scenery at Silver Lake.
From this trail, you can see unique views of Mt. Timpanogos and other mountains to the south, just above the west rim of the canyon.