Silver Fork |

Big Cottonwood Canyon

Hiking Silver Fork - Big Cottonwood Canyon Hiking Silver Fork
Big Cottonwood Canyon

Overview | Getting There | Route | Photos | Maps | Comments

Overview

RATING: Easy/Moderate Hike
MAPS: PARK CITY WEST, UT; BRIGHTON, UT; DROMEDARY PEAK, UT

Thu

54 | 40

Fri

36 | 29

Sat

41 | 26

Sun

28 | 23

Mon

32 | 16

View Full Weather Details
SEASON: Summer, Fall
GEAR: Standard Hiking Gear
WATER: Filterable along most of the hike.

Thu

54 | 40

Fri

36 | 29

Sat

41 | 26

Sun

28 | 23

Mon

32 | 16

View Full Weather Details
Views in lower Silver Fork before the Lower Mine

Views in lower Silver Fork before the Lower Mine

The small community of Silver Fork, surprisingly to me, started as a logging community in the mid-1800s. In the 1870s, prospecting was beginning to engulf the area. Many mines cropped up in the canyon above the town, and the area became known as Silver Fork. As prospecting faded, recreation soon entered the canyon. Since those early days, Silver Fork has been a small community in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

This hike visits Silver Fork Canyon, above the community. The canyon was the site of many mines and is currently a mix of public and private lands. The trail meanders up the canyon, taking in the scenery and many mines. Though the first part of this hike is through the community of Silver Fork and on roads, don't let that deter. It is a pretty hike. Spring will find wildflowers galore; fall will have excellent views of autumn colors.

Lower Mine

Lower Mine

Getting There

Big Cottonwood Canyon is on the east side of the Salt Lake City Valley. Get there by taking I-215 to the east, taking exit 6 off the interstate and heading east.

Follow 6200 South which becomes Wasatch Blvd for 1.8 miles to the stop light and signs for Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Turn left at the light and reset your odometer.

Drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon. The trailhead is 12.2 miles up the canyon at Solitude Entrance 1. The trail starts on the west side of the parking lot.

NOTE: The gate closes and is locked in the evenings. I recomend parking along the Big Cottonwood Canyon Road to avoid any risk of getting locked in. It doesn't add much distance to the hike.
Broad views above the lower mine.

Broad views above the lower mine.

Route

Enter the ski resort and go to the west end of the parking lot. Follow the Queen Bess single trail marked with a blue marker. It goes under the ski lift, then branches. Go straight at the junction, reaching a paved road a minute after. On the paved road, turn left and follow it as it winds its way through the community of Silver Fork. It soon turns to dirt and reaches a closed gate with a trail information sign.

Follow the dirt road as it ascends Silver Fork, staying on it and ignoring side trails along the way. At a Y junction, the dirt road goes left, but the well-used trail goes straight/right. Both end up at the mine, stay right.

The trail goes south, then east where a side trail visits the mine. After the mine side trail, the main trail continues south, crosses the creek, and turns from an old road to a single track.

As it parallels the stream in Silver Fork, the stream is deeply cut into the canyon bottom right of the trail. When the trail and creek reach the same level, there is a junction.

West Fork
Going right at the junction crosses the stream, then climbs steeply into the West Fork. The head of the fork is an immense grassy basin, and very scenic. If you are interested in making a loop down Days Fork, an old faint trail climbs out of the basin to intersect a well-used trail where it begins descending into Days Fork. See the Days Fork write-up for more information on Days Fork.

East Fork
Left climbs steeply into the East Fork where the trees subside, and the views open up. Old mining roads and trails can be used to climb up to Prince of Whales Mine or the Little Cottonwood Ridge, though most return after visiting some of the mines in the lower area.


Maps

Route - Lower Mine / 4.35 miles / Elevation Range 8,017 - 8,549 ft.
Route - West Fork / 7.10 miles / Elevation Range 8,017 - 9,870 ft.
Route - East Fork / 6.37 miles / Elevation Range 8,017 - 9,539 ft.
Printable Maps:
Trailhead

12T 449500mE 4497295mN

N40° 37' 30" W111° 35' 50"

Trail / Road Jct

12T 448958mE 4497447mN

N40° 37' 35" W111° 36' 13"

Jct - Right

12T 447443mE 4496342mN

N40° 36' 58" W111° 37' 17"

Mine Jct

12T 447418mE 4495956mN

N40° 36' 46" W111° 37' 18"

Mine

12T 447473mE 4495941mN

N40° 36' 45" W111° 37' 15"

West / East Jct.

12T 447264mE 4495006mN

N40° 36' 15" W111° 37' 24"

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