Willow Heights Trail

Trails Utah is excited to announce that we are working with our partners at the Salt Lake Ranger District to build a long sou

The Willow Heights area in Big Cottonwood Canyon just east of Salt Lake City is a stunning alpine basin and lake that hosts some of the most spectacular old-growth aspen colonies in the Wasatch. The Willow Lake basin, or Willow Heights area, was once in private hands and very nearly became the site of a high-end housing and condo development in the late 1990s. Luckily, before that could take place, Utah Open Lands was able to coordinate a preservation effort involving Salt Lake City Watershed and the Utah Quality Growth Commission. Today Utah Open Lands holds the conservation easement on the 155 acres that comprise the Willow Heights property that is now owned by Salt Lake City watershed.

Trails Utah worked with the Willow Heights Community, the Big Cottonwood Canyon Community Council (BCCC), and Utah Open Lands to propose a renovation and reroute of the hiking-only Willow Heights Trail. Sections of this trail are fall-line and have become so deeply incised with erosion that the sides of the trail are waist-high. This project will reroute these sections of trail, adding several switch backs, on the east side of the creek drainage. On the west side of the creek more subtle trail fixes and reroutes are needed along with a new pedestrian bridge. Once these new sections of trail, trail fixes, and the new bridge is in place, a delightful 2.5-mile trail can be enjoyed by hikers of all abilities. This proposal was funded in 2018 by the BCCC and Utah Recreational Trails Program administered by Utah State Parks. We are incredibly grateful to our partners at Salt Lake City Watershed and Utah Open Lands for helping us move this project forward. Environmental studies have been completed and construction will begin in late 2021 / early 2022.