Not to be confused with the popular Silver Lake near Brighton Ski Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon, American Fork Canyon also has a Silver Lake of its own. This one is called Silver Lake Flat – and it’s kind of an adventure to get there! It’s definitely one of those places where the journey is half the fun.
Silver Lake Flat is located just 3.5 miles past Tibble Fork Reservoir. Once you arrive at Tibble Fork, continue up the road until you reach Granite Flat Campground. But instead of heading straight into the campground, turn right onto the dirt road. That’s where the fun begins. You have to drive up the windy, narrow dirt road climbing 1,100 feet with a steep drop off on the passenger side. I’ve done the drive in a Toyota Camry but I wouldn’t recommend it! Something with AWD or 4WD is much better. It’s also a popular spot for UTVs, so beware of teenagers speeding around the corners.
Once you've got your paddleboard rentals squared away, the best place to set up camp for the day is about half way down the east side of the lake. You’ll see a parking lot off to your right next to a beach area. This is where most people come to paddleboard, kayak, or tube. This is another lake that doesn’t allow motorized boats, so it’s very family-friendly. And from here, you get some beautiful views of aspen lining one side of the lake and pine trees lining the other.
But the best views are actually on the other side of the lake and you can get them two ways – just paddle out to the other side or instead of parking in the lot continue on and drive all the way around. There just isn’t as much parking on that side and you have to cross a little stream (through the water, not over a bridge). This time, we were in our AWD Sienna aka Swagger Wagon which did great on the road! We're all about those minivan bucket list adventures! (See what I did there?)
Anyway, you get these amazing views of Mt. Timpanogos over the lake and it’s breathtaking!
Silver Lake Flat is also a great place to go camping in the summer. You can reserve a spot at Granite Flat Campground or you can go boondocking-style and find a free spot to camp on public land just past the lake. Once you cross the stream I mentioned earlier, just head left up the dirt road instead of turning right towards the lake. The road gets a little sketchier here so I wouldn't recommend a sedan. You'll probably want AWD or 4WD.
Silver Lake Flat sits at 7,500 feet and is far enough away from the city lights that it makes for some great star gazing. But it also means that it can get a bit chilly at night, so make sure you have sleeping bags that are rated for the cold. We camped in June and it got surprisingly cold at night!
Here at JJ's Paddleboards, we don't rent camping gear but here's some of our favorite camping gear that we use in case you need recommendations:
Goal Zero solar-powered generator – great for inflating air mattresses or keeping cell phones and cameras charged
Dutch oven for delicious peach cobbler
Coleman 30 degree sleeping bags for youth - good for summer nights in the mountains
Hammock chair - perfect for the beach or the campfire. Everyone always asks us where get ours! They're the best.
Whether it's just for the day or an overnight/weekend camping trip, Silver Lake Flat is one of our favorite places in Utah to go paddleboarding and camping.
For more ideas of family-friendly adventures check out our free Utah Bucket List.