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Directions • The marked trailhead is about an eighth of a mile east of Silver Fork Lodge in Big Cottonwood Canyon, on the north side of the road.

Hike • Willow Heights Trail might be a relatively short hike, but it's a workout. The narrow path begins as a steep climb up the side of the canyon; but all along the way, you'll be weaving through a dense grove of aspens that's dotted with conifers, and sprinkled with demure blue and white wildflowers.

If you need to stop to catch your breath, the aspens offer a unique variety of reading material: etched into their soft white bark are the names of fellow adventurers, cryptic messages, and proclamations of love.

A little more than half a mile in, the grove opens up to a meadow and a small pond. A little further ahead, you'll reach the loop that takes you around Willow Lake.

Near the loop's northeast corner, a side trail branches off and takes you on a short trip to Dry Lake. As the name implies, there is no lake, just a lot of dirt.

Once you've seen it, turn around and leave the way you came. If you're hungry, the nearby Silver Fork Lodge could be a good place to look for a moderately priced meal.

— Michael McFall

Twitter: @MikeyPanda Destination Loop

Distance 2.8 miles

Time 2 hours

Elevation gain 944 feet

Dogs allowed No

Restrooms No

Biking No

Difficulty Moderate

Fees None