Difficulty: More Difficult ◼︎◼︎
Length: 5 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 2,500 feet
Dog Friendly: No
Trailhead coordinates (copy + paste): 40.6382, -111.6216
Directions: Park on the dirt shoulder at the coordinates, on the North side of Big Cottonwood Canyon Road about 0.5 miles downhill from the Silver Fork Lodge. The trail begins as a dirt road and is unmarked but easy to follow all the way to the Wasatch Crest Trail. At the top, turn left onto the WCT and continue for about 0.2 miles to find the best view over Desolation Lake and Park City.
An often overlooked trail, Beartrap Fork is the shortest route to beautiful Desolation Lake. The trailhead is unmarked and virtually invisible if you don't know where to look, so you won't see many other hikers here. It does come with a trade-off, though—the trail does get quite steep towards the top and can be slippery in the snow, so bring your spikes if visiting during late or early season. The path begins as a dirt road with a mild incline before gradually becoming steeper and narrower as it makes its way through a peaceful forested area. Right before the end, the trail opens up onto a steep and slippery slope, with beautiful views to look back at when you pause to catch your breath. Beartrap Fork travels along a creek most of the way and enjoys glimpses of Big Cottonwood's peaks, but the real prize comes at the end. The rocky red ridge at the top is a wonderful place to sit and take in the view of Desolation, The Canyons, and Snyderville Basin before heading back down. Remember that dogs are not allowed in Big Cottonwood Canyon, so be sure to leave them at home for this one.