Winter Hiking to Willow Lake & Donut Falls

With a day off from work, I joined up with a local Facebook hiking group for a short hike up into an area I had not been before and then to an area I had: Willow Lake and Donut Falls.

Tuesday - February 21, 2017

As typical with these meet-ups, the plan was to meet at the trailhead early in the morning.  That we did.  We threw on our spikes and started up the trail.

Willow Height Trailhead

First aspen grove

Hiking through the aspen grove

Once we hit a big clearing beyond the first section of trees, we stopped to put on our snowshoes.  There was new trail to be broken.

At the first clearing

Soon after, we reached the frozen and snow-covered Willow Lake.  Here we could look back and enjoy a nice view back across the south side of Big Cottonwood Canyon and Solitude Ski Resort.

At the edge of Willow Lake

Solitude Ski Resort from across Willow Lake

Skiers high up on the slopes

From Willow Lake, we continued on through another ice grove of Aspens before circling back around the other side of the lake and back down to the trailhead.

Moving on from Willow Lake

Back at the 1st clearing

Crossing the clearing

Descending back into the first grove of aspens

Almost back

Because we had some extra time, we drove down from the Willow Heights trail to the parking area for one of the most popular little hikes in Big Cottonwood: Donut Falls.

Snow covered bridge

Looking up Mill D South Fork

Almost to the falls

Looking up inside Donut Falls

Once finished with the hike we sought out a place to have a little pot-luck lunch that the group leader often likes to do.

Lunch time

I had hoped to also fit in a hike up Lake Blanche, another area I had not yet been to before up Big Cottonwood Canyon.  Due to the weather taking a turn for the worse and because I would not have enough time before I was expected back home, I pushed that one off for the week after.

Willow Lake was a nice little area and it may be a hike I'll need to take my daughter Willow up to sometime this summer.  Being only about a mile in length, it's definitely one that could easily be done after work or even before work, depending on the shift I'm working that month.

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