Hiking Lakes Mary, Martha, and Catherine with Toddlers

Hiking Lakes Mary, Martha, and Catherine with Toddlers

Hiking to the Brighton Lakes has always been on my list of "someday" hikes. A friend once mentioned the trail to Lake Mary was pretty steep, basically hiking up a ski slope, so I figured I'd conquer it one day when I didn't have to also wear my 30lb threenager on my back. 

When hiking to Cecret Lake a couple of weeks back, another friend had just hiked to all three of Brighton's lakes; Mary, Martha and Catherine, and she claimed that it wasn't has difficult as the rocky part of the Cecret Lake trail, just longer at about 4.5 miles roundtrip. I had some hope, and so did a couple of other moms in our Hike it Baby group. We added it to the calendar and started getting ready.

The start of the trail is right at Brighton Ski Resort, so there's PLENTY of parking. You'll see a sign for the trailhead right behind Mt. Majestic Lodge. There are no open restrooms at the trailhead, so if you need to make a pit stop before starting your hike, I'd recommend stopping at Silver Lake just down the street and using the restrooms there. 

It's only about one mile to Lake Mary, but it is essentially a trail that meanders up a ski slope. While it was an uphill climb pretty much the whole way to Lake Mary, it wasn't crazy steep where I felt like I was going to slip on the hike back down. It was just a good cardio workout at over 8700 feet in elevation. I was grateful that both of my boys were happy to hike with the group. The wildflowers were blooming everywhere, so it made the scenery well worth the climb!


Just before we got to Lake Mary, a section of trail was physically IN the creek. The water was shallow, but there was enough water to get your feet wet in a few spots. My 3 year old wasn't happy to get his feet wet, so I put him in a carrier on my back. My 7.5 year old thought it was awesome!

Once we got to Lake Mary, we stopped to eat lunch on some of the boulders and enjoy the scenery. The lake is really beautiful and the breeze picked up to cool us off. When we finished, we packed up and continued heading toward Lake Martha and Lake Catherine. Many hikers have Lake Mary as their destination. It's a good workout hike to just do the one lake too.


Lake Martha is kind of a puddle when compared to Lake Mary. I almost missed seeing it until someone pointed it out to me! But it's right next to Lake Mary. The trail at this point gets narrower and has a steep drop-off of the right side for a little while. There was one sketchy spot where we needed to climb around a boulder. This part of the trail isn't great for young or unstable walkers. 

We were met with mosquitoes in a couple of spots, but there were also beautiful views of both Lake Mary, Lake Martha, and Big Cottonwood Canyon, so it kind of made the mosquito bites worth it. Kind of. 

It was slow going with littles, with lots of stops for snacks and water, but we made it to Lake Catherine all in one piece! We enjoyed a breather, some snacks, and lots of photos. Then we made our way back down.


All in all, with as many young preschoolers as we had hiking, it took all day to get to Lake Catherine and back to our cars. We had a few long breaks, more than a couple of meltdowns, a face plant or two, and lots of whining for more snacks. With a group of younger babies all in carriers and more older kids, I'm sure we could have gone faster if we needed to. But we weren't in a hurry.

It was a gorgeous hike with the wildflowers blooming and it was a challenging hike as many of us acclimated to the elevation; Lake Catherine tops out at 9960 feet above sea level. Even for those of us who live at 4000 feet, we were feeling it climbing up the trail. I am planning to hike to Lake Mary again at least a couple of times before it starts snowing, but I think I'll stop at Lake Mary. Maybe.

-ALEXANDRA @wobetxela

WOW, thanks Alexandra! We've thought about this hike a few times, but we've always been swayed by thinking our littles couldn't make it...now we know they could!

The Salt Project

Visitor Info

Entrance Fee(s): 
Free
Helpful Tips: 
  • 4.5 miles rountrip
  • Moderate
  • Mosquitos
  • Crossing Water
  • The start of the trail is right at Brighton Ski Resort, so there's PLENTY of parking. You'll see a sign for the trailhead right behind Mt. Majestic Lodge. There are no open restrooms at the trailhead, so if you need to make a pit stop before starting your hike, I'd recommend stopping at Silver Lake just down the street and using the restrooms there. 
     

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